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Monday, March 05, 2007


Ming Campbell has made a speech indicating his willingness to do a deal with Labour. Now this is not in itself automatically bad, though I think it unwise to appear to eager & plain foolish to say they would only join with Labour. In negotiations it is always best to keep your options as open as possible.

The real killer is the 5 conditions they would want. Ming does not include PR. Without PR the LDs do not have the permanent electoral base to stay in power permanenty. Without that they are merely reserve Labour players pulled in when Labour can't get a majority on their own & told to piss off the rest of the time. A party which aspires to the reserves is not going to keep many members.

The conditions

"End Labour's authoritarian attack on civil liberties. Identity cards will not stop terrorism. They won't stop illegal immigration. They won't stop fraud. And they won't stop crime. Don't spend billions on an expensive, ineffective and unworkable identity card scheme. Spend the money on our police and security services instead."


"Grasp the challenge posed by climate change. The environmental efforts in the Chancellor's Budgets have been risible - tax pollution more and earnings less."


"Break open the poverty trap. How can it be fair that over two-and-a-half million pensioners live in poverty? How can it be fair that over one-and-a-half million families are on waiting lists for social housing? I want to ask Gordon Brown how can it be fair that in 21st-century Britain, six out of ten children in Glasgow - the city where I was born - live in poverty?

"Give pensioners a proper income without the humiliation of the means test. Give families the opportunity for decent housing. Give our children a proper chance. End the dependency culture. Give people a hand up, not a handout."


"Trust the people. Since 1997, Labour has accumulated power when it ought to have dispersed it. Free local communities from the shackles of Whitehall. Scrap the council tax, which penalises pensioners and poorer families and hamstrings local communities."


"Britain's foreign policy should not be set in Washington. What do we know about Iraq? We know the president made the decisions, the Prime Minister argued the case, the Chancellor signed the cheques and the Tories voted it through. The British-American relationship needs to be rebalanced.

"There are ominous signs that some in the United States might consider military action against Iran. But strikes against Iran would destabilise the region and put British forces in Iraq at risk.

"So, Mr Brown, announce now that Britain will not support an attack on Iran. And, while you are at it, repudiate the Prime Minister's desperate efforts to lock us into the US plan for a 'son of Star Wars' missile defence system."

require no serious actual activity from Labour with the exception of scrapping id cards, which are clearly going to be an expensive white elephant anyway.

I cannot see anybody who is undecided between the LibDems & any party other than Labour (Tories, SNP, UKIP) wanting to vote LibDem in the knowledge that they will so easily act as a safety net for a failing Labour. Even were Ming to backtrack on this I cannot see them trusting Ming then. This is going to have to be fought out in the party - somebody is going to have to stand against Ming. If it is allowed to stand by default the party is finished as an independent entity.

It also implies that a vote for the LibDems in the Scottish election is, as had been becoming apparent anyway, a certain vote for another McConnell administration.

Reasonable analysis. I had a go at working out the permutations a while ago, and found the situation more complicated than I thought.

On a related subject, what is your view of voting systems? I consider AV+ to be a stitch-up, designed to placate the Lib Dems with the minimum of change.
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