Monday, 10 May 2010
Faustian Deal or No Deal...
The warnings are clear and well signposted - join a Conservative coalition and risk alienating most of the core support, join a Labour coalition and be perceived to have no mandate from the electorate whilst becoming the crutch for an ailing Prime Minster (damnation by association, if you will). Yet the easiest road to follow could be the hardest for the general public to forgive, that is do nothing - allow the Conservative Party to form a minority administration and pass a Queen's Speech, but only provide support on an ad-hoc basis. If the economy begins to struggle the Conservative Party and Tory supporting press will have the perfect whipping boy to blame for the indecision in the market - that is the Lib Dems refused to help the nation during difficult times because of petty partisan politics. But if there is a significant improvement in the economy David Cameron can take all the credit for leading Good Ship Britannia through the worst of economic storms despite the hindrance of the "unpatriotic" Mr Clegg.
However, the "do nothing" option is quite tempting for many Liberal Democrats, it would not alienate the core support, allowing the party leadership to only pass legislation that was politically palatable, it would also allow the Labour Party to regain some of their former strength with a brief period of opposition (i.e. sack Gordon Brown) and with the prospect of an autumn general election due to a weak government the Lib Dems could form a coalition with their more natural bedfellows the Labour Party. This is a long shot, but a risk/reward calculation could provide the Liberal Democrats with an opportunity that seems to arise once every hundred years - the opportunity to redefine the political caste.