The commentariat and blogosphere are serving up a surprising number of contorted, post-election ways in which Labour might well hang on. Which just goes to reinforce the message I had in my CiF piece: an indecent, unhealthy interest in power no matter for what purpose, and no matter what people want. Neither liberal, nor democratic.
To a dullard like me, it seems obvious: a Prime Minister whom the public knows very well, who is not even particularly well liked in his own party,who then in an election gets substantially less of the vote than his predecessor or 1-2 competing parties: in what weird world could he think “the people need me as Prime Minister”? ThoughCowardsFlinch think it is ‘strange’ for commentators to like the popular vote. No, it is not. I am in a constituency where the LibDems come third. I don’t want a Tory MP, but I am NOT going to vote Labour, because I want my vote to be a signal – “I don’t want you governing any more”. That is how a lot of people see their votes: it is what they think the whole point of voting comes down to.
So when they say:
My main point here is that, while electoral form may be desirable, Labour winning more seats with potentially the third most number of votes is not something for Labour to be ashamed of; it’s simply evidence that we’ve done well where it mattered under the current system.
the answer is NO. You have done well because the consitutencies where you are strong are smaller than those where the Tories are strong. Well done on that. Unless you are showing off about some past act of gerrymandering, this is not really a Labour achievement. I haven’t done the research, but it probably reflects how poor (i.e. Labour voting) contituencies have seen a gradual exodus over the years. Done well?
And this is despicable: “In other words, Labour has organised successfully, so it may win; the Lib Dems have not, so they’re more likely to lose. ” No – the LibDems have wider and broader support, less concentrated into convenient special interest groups.
Other inelegant attempts to keep Labour in power:
LabourList has ‘Hanging on till the queen’s speech
But if it does, let’s hope that the Prime Minister will stick to his guns right up to the vote on his government’s Queen’s Speech. If he does, he will maximise the chances, against all the odds, of emerging with a de facto alliance of convenience with the Lib Dems that will democratically reflect the overall majority in the election, both in votes and in seats, for the centre-left.’
No, it will confirm a lot of suspicions that Brown needs to be prised from power with a crowbar, even if 70+% of the voters vote against him. And confirm unfair suspicions that a vote for Clegg – who reputedly hates Brown -is a vote for the status quo.
If Labour wonder how they could ever become more unpopular than they are now, the scenario sketched out by the writer above is a fair stab at it. Stuart White – who linked to that piece – puts it best:
Labour is lower in the polls at the moment than it has been since the 1983 general election. But I dread to think how low the poll ratings would go if Labour attempted to cling on to office in the way that Barder describes.
But he seems to reach a very similar end point – Labour-Libdem coalition – on the hope that the Tories would be nervous about precipitating a second election. Sunny reaches this point too – a Labour LibDem coalition.
Jonathan Freedland also calls for a Labour-LibDem coalition, and asks voters to vote tactically to help achieve one.
Finally, I find it extremely interesting that the Conservatives condemn minority governments for their back room dealings. In this case, presumeably LibDem Conservative dealings. This has always been a rubbish criticism. All politics involves dealings. The Labour majority of 100+ has simply meant backroom dealings without manifestos or recognised leaders – between factions within the parties, for example. For the Conservatives, too – what do they think John Major’s 1995 leadership challenge was all about? It was an attempt to bring the behind-the-scenes rowing into the open, democratically. The Conservatives CONTINUE to be a coalition between their Europhile and Eurosceptic wing, for example.
But the Conservatives are clearly not particularly sincere on this one, if this story has any credence. Instead of dealing with just the LibDems, they would rather go into the back room with the socialist SNP, the Unionists, Welsh Nationalists … Again, power at all costs, principles come later …