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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Election Special

It's obvious that everything is still up for grabs. I find it difficult to imagine though why Clegg would do a deal with Cameron for anything less than a referendum on PR. If you are going to drop the main planks of your economic policy and shackle yourself to an inevitably unpopular government you want to make sure you get something tangible out of it. Cameron can't concede PR without alienating a large section of his party. You can see their point. Unless we see big changes in the ideological positions of the parties PR would probably have the effect of keeping the Conservatives, as we know them,  almost permanently out of power. Of course sections of the party - perhaps the pro Europeans -  may, under a PR system, splinter off into something like a mainsteam conservative christian democratic party. One could imagine the same sort of splintering  forces might also operate on the other parties, for example  an Old Left redistributive but socially conservative party allied with the trade-union movement might hive itself off from New Labour. Labour is the only party that is going to offer Clegg anything like what he really wants. Of course such a coalition will itself become massively unpopular after it does what it has to do to reduce the deficit, but it is better for the LibDems to be unpopular with electoral reform than without it. If electoral reform is implemented it will be a whole new ball game. My guess is that Clegg would  acquiesce to a  Brown premiership if he could achieve that sort of change.

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