I loved the ornithology section on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House yesterday. Take a listen on the iPlayer, it’s in the final 5 or 10 minutes of the programme.
Do you remember the Cameron / Clegg love-in on the lawn last week? While they were speaking to the press in the garden of 10 Downing Street, there was a lot of bird noise in the background. BH got an ornithologist to identify them.
The noisiest bird was a Robin – the red of Labour trying to ruin the press conference – but what was really interesting was that he identified a Kestrel. Kestrels hover around over their prey before swooping in for the kill. Did the Miliband brothers send it swooping over the garden that sunny day?
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Tagged BBC, broadcasting house, brown, cameron, clegg, conservative, election, ge10, kestral, Labour, Liberal Democrat, miliband, ornithologist, radio 4, ukelection
This is the Mick Jagger election. None of the parties are getting any satisfaction.
Yet, even though he failed to win as many seats as expected, Nick Clegg and his Lib Dems are now the kingmakers.
He promised to talk first to whoever had the most seats – the Tories – but why would he really take that idea seriously now? The Tory MPs will not want to work closely with the Lib Dems and the Lib Dems I have been reading online are all horrified that there may now be a partnership with Cameron.
It’s a recipe for disaster and Clegg must surely realise this.
Perhaps it is why he is now playing hardball with his demands. As he entered talks with party officials today, Nick Clegg made a statement saying he has four big priorities: 1. Fair tax reform 2. Education 3. Approach to the economy 4. Political reform to the electoral system
I think he might be able to reach agreement with the Tories on points 1 and 2 as their manifesto pledges are not miles apart there, but Clegg has very open views on how to run the economy and it is through transparency and devolving power from the treasury. Plus he wants a root and branch reform of the electoral system, to introduce a system of proportional representation – consigning the first-past-the-post system to history.
The Prime Minister is extremely weak right now. Clegg could do a deal with Labour that gives him control over all four issues and become a reform parliament. Labour and the Liberal Democrats could join together to lead as a minority government, or they could bring the nationalists into the fold – who would almost certainly join a coalition if money was thrown to their regions.
If Clegg could boot out Brown and announce a reform government with an interim Prime Minister (Mandelson or Johnson?) and Vince Cable running the economy then I think a lot of Labour and Lib Dems would be happier than getting into bed with the Tories. And if the focus is on electoral and economic reform then they could pledge to call a new general election as soon as the electoral system is ready for change – let’s say after one year.
One year down the line, with a PR voting system, the Liberal Democrats would stand a very high chance of getting real power – with a lot more seats.
Clegg could get a lot more of his own MPs into parliament, totally reform the electoral system, get his man running the economy, and keep British politics generally focused on liberal values by kicking the Conservatives out for a generation.
So why is he still talking to Cameron?
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Tagged coalition, conservative, david cameron, deal, election, ge10, general election, gordon brown, Labour, lib dem, liberal democrats, mick jagger, nick clegg, prime minister, tory, ukelection, ukvote
Gordon Brown has said that he will wait to see if the Tories and Lib Dems can reach a deal. He offered to be there to talk to either leader if they wanted to come to him.
Nick Clegg is now the kingmaker – even though his party only won around half the seats they had hoped for. The electoral landscape in the UK is shifting like quicksand today.
Can Clegg do a deal with the Tories? His party really won’t like it, but he promised to talk first to the party with the most seats… that does not mean the deal is done. The Tories and Lib Dems won’t be able to reach a formal coalition as their manifestos are so far apart, but they could reach an agreement on where to cooperate, agreeing to disagree on the rest or to plan some managed reform on issues they disagree on.
Clegg said he doesn’t want to do a deal with a damaged Labour party, but Brown has offered genuine electoral reform.
If Clegg can’t agree a deal with Cameron then perhaps the most likely outcome now is that Clegg will side with the Labour party, forcing a new Prime Minister with a Lid Dem Chancellor – with a focus on a complete reform of the electoral process and a plan to run a new general election within two years… Allowing the Liberal Democrats to win a lot more seats using a more proportional voting system.
But the bottom line is, it’s all out of the Prime Minister’s hands now. He is just a spectator.
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Tagged conservative, david cameron, election, ge10, ge2010, general election, gordon brown, hung parliament, Labour, lib dem, nick clegg, ukvote