League of losers
I may have mentioned a few times that at the heart of the Liberal Democrats there lies a deliberate blur. What are they? Labour’s left-wing conscience? A more moderate Conservative party?
There was a delightful story I heard during this election from the South West. A chap was door-stepped by the Lib Dems and asked how he would vote. Well, he said, that depends on whether the candidate is sound on fox hunting – it’s very important to me and might decide my vote. There was a pause, while the canvasser waited for the chap to go on, and then he said plaintively “But you haven’t told me what side you’re on yet!”
All things to all men is an admirable campaigning tactic. It’s not possible to maintain it in Government. And yet, and this is the really odd thing, the Lib Dems have been arguing for a Hung Parliament for 20 years – surely they must have had some idea of what they were going to do when they finally got one?
It looks more and more as though the Lib Dem negotiators – especially Ed Davey – came to the conclusion that the only coalition that worked was Lib-Con, and that Nick Clegg agrees. But the party itself would rather bring the walls crashing down than have anything to do with the hated Tories. Well, so be it. If the time has come for the Lib Dems to choose, and they choose to prop up a defeated Labour Party, then I suspect that we will all be able to have our say pretty soon. Minority Governments are always unstable. How much more unstable would a minority coalition Government be?