Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Brown's exit fractures the coup

A 'political coup' is a commonplace description of many commonplace events in political life. But the proposed partnership between Labour and the LibDems is a political coup for real.

Yet it seems to me that Gordon Brown's resignation—on which this coup depends—ironically throws a sizeable spanner into the grinding works of the potential LibDem–Lab coalition.

How will it be possible to line up the necessary minority parties to provide a notional majority, when none of them will know who their leading political partner will eventually be?

No minor party can rely on a new Labour leader honouring promises given today, whatever potential leadership candidates may say.

At best, such a coalition would have a maximum lifetime up to this autumn—just four and a half months including the summer.

The election of a new Labour leader would surely be the point when a new general election must be called—to establish leadership credibility and to try to bolster a parliamentary majority.

What party would consider it worthwhile to engage in such a sordid, unreliable and time-limited pact?

Apparently, the LibDems are such a party: such is their desperation to put electoral change before the political needs of the country.

But will any other parties—even though they too might benefit from electoral reform—be willing to share the consequences of the public's growing disgust at this attempted political coup in return for just 140 days in government?

And since the LibDems have handsomely illustrated over the past four days just what a "fair votes" election means, a coalition designed to achieve voting reform will probably have its aims duly turned down by a disgusted public.

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