God Love the British Press

I loved this paragraph from Saturday’s Sun:

In its Saturday edition, it ran a story headlined “Whitehall Property Scandal” that began: “A man aged 59 was squatting in a luxury home near the Houses of Parliament last night. The squatter, named as a Mr. Gordon Brown from Scotland, was refusing to budge from the Georgian townhouse in Downing Street, central London — denying entry to its rightful owner,” identified by the Sun as Mr. Cameron.

But I just can’t see the Liberal Democrats allying with the Tories.  They are too ideologically far apart.  So that leaves, I think, three possibilities:

1) The Lib Dems ally with Labor headed by someone other than Gordon Brown, either with some minor parties to be a majority government, or as a minority government.  Clegg would be given a somewhat important cabinet portfolio.

2) The Conservatives form an alliance with minor parties.

3) The Conservatives form a minority government.  Mind you, I think the 3rd option is not going to work because they won’t have the votes to pass many things, assuming Labor and Lib Dems can form a consistent progressive bloc.  Scenario #1, while not necessarily what British voters were looking for, seems to be the only one that could hope to form a stable government.  I think it safe to say the next election will be called in less than 5 years.

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One Response to “God Love the British Press”

  1. Nick Says:

    The Sun is probably the worst newspaper in the entire world, but, yeah, I laughed at that paragraph. As for the broader issue:

    I can see a Conservative/Lib Dem pairing working in the medium term, provided the Conservatives are willing to give them what they really want: instant runoff voting. (Given the structural advantages first-past-the-post currently gives Labour in Scotland and Wales, the Cons might just be willing to go along, even though it will hurt them some in England). Although, as you say, the ideological differences will ultimately do this in once the marriage of convenience has run its course.

    Now, for the other possibilities, assuming Sinn Fein boycotts their five seats, it will take 323 votes to pass major legislation (a couple of which per year are de facto confidence votes whose failure would lead to snap elections). Provided the Conservatives win the still-to-be-contested constituency of Thirsk and Malton, they will be 16 votes short. They can get half of those votes by pairing with the ideologically similar Democratic Unionists, who these days are the mainstream Ulster Loyalist party, but are still somewhat tarred by their historical association with the utterly repugnant Ian Paisley. (In other words, they’d rather not, but the traditional Conservative partner in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionists, bageled the election completely.) However, they are going to be very hard-pressed to consistently get the other eight votes without Lib Dem support, since the various Celtic nationalist parties are all to the left of Old Labour on economic issues.

    If you try a Labour/Lib Dem pairing, you would also start eight votes short, or five votes short if you throw in the SDLP (the moderate Irish nationalist party in Northern Ireland, who has a historical working relationship with Labour). They could probably do okay at passing budgets, but I’m sure sooner or later some sort of devolution-related issue will trip them up, particularly with the Scottish National Party (seeing as Labour and the SNP are big rivals at the local level in Scotland).

    To sum it all up, I give a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition 2-3 years (I could see this lasting until whatever point Cameron is ready to gamble and call a snap election aiming at a majority, but it won’t last five years), Labour/Lib Dems maybe 18 months, and a Conservative minority government 6 months max.

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