A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Coalition Talks Fall Flat Between Labour and Lib Dems---Brown to Resign Tonight

As I write this, Gordon Brown is about to make his way to Buckingham Palace to turn in his resignation. He had said that if he could cobble an agreement with the Lib Dems, he would stay until the next election and then resign. Sources say that the talks between Labour and the Liberal Democrats were "irretrievably broken down" today and no coalition had been reached.  Now, the wheeling and dealing has moved yet again between the Lib Dems and the Tories. And Nick Clegg, head of the Liberal Democrats is being called a "double dealer" for his sashaying back and forth between parties attempting to get some of his "manifesto" super-glued to any of the major parties' platforms. It has been one huge circus and Clegg has been the ringmaster. As the Daily Mail headline squawked this morning: "A Squalid Day for Democracy."

Brown was attempting to forge a coalition between two losing parties which would have been a weakened party anyway, but he was determined not to budge if he could find a way. Clegg was championing the "new politics" all along on his campaign but as Quentin Letts, columnist said "if this is new politics, Nick Clegg, it stinks like a prop forward's (fill in the blank)." and later when Letts caught Clegg sneaking out a back door, he said, "what a bar of soap that man is." ( I will have to remember that one).  The Liberal Democrats have never had this much attention. They are strutting like peacocks, knowing that they have held the key to deciding who would be the next Prime Minister and which party would rule Parliament. The closest American example would be if  Obama and McCain were in a struggle to become President (after the election) and someone like Ross Perot was going back and forth to see who would give him the best deal and also include some of his platform demands on one of the major parties. It would have been up to Perot to decide who would be the next President....even though the Democratic Party won the most Congressional and Senate seats. (Once again, this is a very skewed example, but the closest to American politics I can muster.)  I don't think that having Perot stomping about like Napoleon going from party to party would have endeared him to the people (not that he was beloved anyway).

I am with the group that feels that if the Lib Dems attempt to ask for too many concessions, David Cameron should just go it alone. If he continues to give in, he will no longer have a clear Conservative platform, but one that has been diluted with the ridiculous demands of a party that really has had no clout and champions some extreme views. 

Clegg has not endeared himself to either party with his slippery tactics. Labour's former Home Secretary David Blunkett called him a "harlot" and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Tory Foreign Secretary accused Clegg of "Robert Mugabe politics". Despite all the clamour, Clegg is poised to finally give the formerly rather "invisible" third party a voice (a too loud voice, in my opinion for the low number of seats it garnered).

So what is on the table for the Lib Dem Tory deal? The first will be jobs for Lib Dems in a few key positions possibly home secretary, chief secretary to the Treasury and environmental secretary. The Libs would drop their immigration amnesty and the Tories would drop the inheritance tax cut. The sticking points are still on voter reform which is ironic since the lack of reform is what has gotten the country into this mess. That is the big point that still needs to be hammered out. As of this writing, the Lib Dems and Tories are meeting to decide all this.  I hope the Tories won't give in to every last bit as it is feeding the dragon that will never be satisfied.

The word is that by this evening or tomorrow, Cameron may be the next occupant of 10 Downing. Fingers crossed.