Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spatchcock Coalition Is The Last Thing We Need

Following the Leaders' Debate last week and the subsequent surge in LibDem support, the threat of a hung parliament looms large over Britain. For some it seems like a good idea, a chance to smash the old discredited two party system. But, in truth, it would be a disaster for the country.

The Mayor of London sums up one reason why it would be disastrous: The need to address this country's financial crisis:
Boris Johnson: “The last thing we need when you need some very difficult decisions taken for the budgetary health of this country is a hung Parliament and the endless dickering around between some spatchcock coalition between the Liberals and the Labour government staggering on, without giving this country the new start and the new medicine that I think it needs.” - Hat tip to Tory Landlord 
Another reason a hung parliament, leading to a Lib/Lab pact, would be disastrous is the gerrymandering of the electoral system to ensure any future election is stitched up for the left.

This headline from The Independent illustrates the agenda Gordon Brown will be working to in a hung parliament situation (one, no doubt, The (not really very) Independent would approve of):

How would Labour stitch up the electoral system? Well, Brown's last-second conversion to electoral reform, just before calling the general election, is proof of his cynical motives. If he was serious about reform he'd have chosen a Proportional Representation system. One that produces a result that is actually proportionate to the way people vote. Such systems aren't perfect and I'm not a fan of PR myself, but then neither is our current system with its appalling Labour bias that could lead to Labour ending up with the largest number of seats even if they finish third in the popular vote! But no, instead he goes for the Alternative Vote system. A system that the BBC proved would be even more biased towards Labour. See Patently Rubbish: Why Labour Wants AV for a great explanation of Brown's true motives.

Clegg has not made PR a make or break issue for supporting Labour in a hung parliament. He is only asking for "Fairness in the voting system". And, as the LibDem's Shirley Williams admits, Clegg is likely to be seduced by the AV system on offer from Brown. If only because it further cripples the Tories. As always with hung parliaments, manifesto pledges go out of the window and politicians do secret back room deals to get themselves into power. It is likely such a government would be dogged by in-fighting, horse-trading and compromise that would lead to a early general election when it all collapses in a heap. The one thing they will ensure that they implement will be the electoral reform that would be so beneficial to their own self-interests.

It is also very likely that highly destructive in-fighting within the Labour Party will break out as Brown struggled to maintain his leadership position against coup attempts that will follow Labour's poor performance (especially for an incumbent party) at the General Election. This will just add to the weakness of the government and cripple its ability to address the financial crisis, let alone deal with any of the other urgent issues facing this country. Markets and the pound will fall adding to our economy's instability at the worst possible time.

The truth is that the LibDems almost certainly can't win the election outright. They are very unlikely even to be the largest party in a hung parliament. The reality is that they will just end up denying the Conservative victory and a decisive rejection of Labour. Worse, they are far more likely to prop up Labour in power than unite with the Tories to form a Change Coalition. And if the Tories lose this election after the reforms Cameron has put them through, reforms some older members in the grassroots are still unhappy with, they may react by lurching to the right and once again become unelectable for a generation.

It won't just be 5 more years of Labour, it could be 10 or 15!

No comments:

Post a Comment