Monday, December 03, 2007

Interesting article in Progress about the future of the Liberal Democrats and their relationship with other parties in the UK

What do you make of this article by Andrew Russell in Progress this month? He is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester and examines here the Liberal Democrat's electoral and political strategy and its relationship with the other parties.

Personally I would rather go into coalition with the People's Front of Judea, or even at a pinch, the Judean People's Front


Paula said...

Hello Louise. I think the whole focus on co alitions is misplaced. We have been here before. i actually remember this being a huge issue in coverage around General Elections including 1983, 1987 and 1992. focusing on it then was pointless, and it is pointless now.

Statistically there are more likely to be balanced situations in smaller assemblies. Hence there are lots of balanced situations in local government and hasn't been one in Westminster for ages.

In order for their to be a balanced House of Commons, there needs to be a series of outcomes, none of which can be predicted to work together.

I remember hearing Clare Short say she wanted to campaign for a hung parliament. How on earth can you do that? You can argue that one would be a good idea but it is impossible to campaign effectively for that outcome!

My pesonal view is that the parties should advocate what they want to achieve and not how they want to negotiate.

I also believe personally that it is much better to take each issue on its merits and vote on that rather than to enter into formal co alitions.

Clearly were PR to be introduced, this makes co alition government much more likely. But it also means because of that it is much more legitmate to be having a lengthy debate about outcomes. At the moment it is all so hypothetical as to be a time waster.

Louise Baldock said...

I think I am with you on this Paula

I believe a party should campaign for victory in order to deliver the policies it advocates.

Coalition should only be on the cards once the results are known and it seems there is no choice.

I also think that the LibDems, being so broad a church as to range the entire political spectrum in one party, would struggle to form meaningful coalitions that didnt isolate some within the party.

In other words, if you formed a coalition with Labour in the national parliament, your right wing LibDems, like many in Liverpool for instance, would be enraged. If you formed a coalition with the Tories, your left wing LibDems would be equally enraged.

And probably the same thing could be said from our side.

As you say, perhaps it is best to agree to vote together on certain policies and that is as good as it would ever get in terms of co-operation.