Purely theroetical idea: a grand coalition?

I very rarely do mainland UK politics as, although very interested, I do not have any instinctive feel for it and regard commenting from a position of interest but little knowledge the height of arrogance. However, the problems of the Hung Parliament continue with no easy end in sight. The Conservatives seem set to try to link up with the Liberal Democrats: that much is obvious; the alternatives presumably being a Lib Lab pact (though it will still leave them short of a majority), or a minority Conservative government with the acquiescence of the other parties. However, there are common themes in the current situation: the deficit needs to be cut; the question is when, where and how. In addition public services need to be protected to a significant extent. Those of course are massive issues and divide the parties very significantly at least in public. Some economic commentators, however, seem to feel none of the parties have been honest about the scale of the problem and all will have to do remarkably similar things whatever the rhetoric.

There remains one mathematical possibility which commands an effortless majority: a Labour / Tory pact. Clearly that is utter nonsense: the parties would never agree to it; the views are utterly divergent whatever Cameron’s claims to be the “heir to Blair.” However, if one thought that this economic crisis was as serious as the one in the 1930s one might note that we had national governments then although it split the Labour and Liberal parties down the middle. On a more recent note a Grand Coalition of Christian and Social Democrats ran Germany from 2005 to 2009. I know it is utter foolishness in a UK context but it is an interesting concept. In addition even if he did not mean to do it it would make either Brown or Cameron look very statesman like.

  • you mean like like a DUP/SF carve up

  • Turgon

    It had crossed my mind that there was a precedent here in good old Ulster.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “regard commenting from a position of interest but little knowledge the height of arrogance”

    I think you might be dissing a high % of Sluggerites (including myself) in that.

  • June 76

    Don’t fret about it. You live in Ireland; nobody expects you to have any knowledge of what happens on the neighboring island.

  • Rory Carr

    Why speculate on the possibility of an occurence the likeliehood of which happening, you readily admit, “is utter nonsense” ?

    This all smacks of the same thinking behind those creationists who put forward theories of the evolution of man which they can clearly see are also utter nonsense .

    You wouldn’t be one of themmuns by any chance? Now there’s an interesting concept.

  • Nobody as yet has mentioned a Lab-Lib minority government claiming legitimacy from the 50% plus of voters that voted for them.

    A centre left alliance of sorts with agreement or compromise on the five key issues as follows:

    Proportional representation: Compromise: Electoral reform.
    Civil liberties: abandon ID cards, all citizens to have passports.
    Economic policy: Both agreed on short term strategy to avoid double dip recession.
    Immigration: Audit and amnesty: inevitable at some point.
    Trident: Retain independent deterrent.

    Something for everybody.

  • Ah, Turgon!

    The simple answer is:


    If the rest of the world has allowed the memory of Ramsay Mac to fester in deserved ignominy, in Labour circles his name still induces shudders of utter horror.

    Your economic programme, similarly, seems to smack of Sir Monty Norman. Heaven help us.

    Your German analogy of the Große Koalition isn’t too cheering either. It refers to:
    * the Weimar government of 1923;
    * the Kiesinger cabinet of 1966-9; and
    * the first Merkel cabinet (when the specific aim was to exclude the Linkspartei, the successors of the GDR’s SED).

    None seems a great example to wish on us.

    Meanwhile, any government after next Monday will quickly stink. The best place for Labour to be for the next few months is the Opposition benches, grinning, chortling and enjoying the show.

  • joeCanuck

    I think there is a big difference between casual, sometimes ill-informed, comment and actually writing a blog about something you have little knowledge of.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m fairly sure that, since the Conservatives will not give way on electoral reform, there will be no coalition. So it will end up as Cameron reigning (carefully) with a minority. We have had that situation in Canada for 3 elections in a row (2 different parties) and it works after a fashion until the PM tries to do something silly and loses a confidence vote.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    An astute transatlantic observation but I was merely trying to show some lighthearted affinity with the boul Turgers in what must be a difficult time for him.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    if there is no deal between Libs and Tories then Labour get a go and there will every chance of a stable coalition with Labour/Liberals and the SDLP and other nats – all of whom paritciapte in assembly governments and will only require a ‘few’ quid to toe the line. Regarding minority government the Liberals will still be blamed for letting the Tories form a government and they will have their arses kicked in about a year when the Tories go for an ouright majority.

    …and Cameron may well go for electoral reform and face down those against it rather than pass the chance of government back to the Labour party.

  • joeCanuck

    I just can’t see it, Sammy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Well there is an element of wishful thinking and at 5/1 for a Lab Lib deal I just couldnt resist a small heart-led flutter.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m a tad jealous. We can’t bet on things like that over here. In fact I don’t think there’s any off-track betting at all. We’re still Ontario “The Good”, see.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Drop a line to Paddy Power and tell him there is a marketing opportunity available in Canada or perhaps there is a business opportunity for a bookie that specialises in political betting -worldwide?

  • al

    What if Unionists joined with Labour & Lib Dems? That would create a majority and as the DUP have said they have yet to make their mind up. However if Labour and LibDems were to agree then the DUP would have the numbers to create a majority. I think?


  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    the SDLP are already in the bag, wouldnt it be really funny if the SDLP and DUP were in government after all UCUNF jibber-jabbered about needding to vote for them to have any real influence.

    But Labour and Libs are more likely to go for SDLP, PC and SNP (possibly with Alliance ) which gives them the required numbers and of course the DUP have certain image problems outside of Ulster.

  • The amazing self-basting Salmond is already offering to sniff Brown’s bum.


  • al

    But again that depends on whether PC & SNP can agree with Labour. DUP have huge problems and it is a big if as I can’t see anyone wanting to do deals with Robinson now.

    Will be interesting to see what happens with LibDems, they have a lot to gain and really are in the driving seat it seems. It’s not over yet.

  • slug

    Labour and SNP are bitter rivals and not likely to want to be dependent on them-creates problems in Scotland in run up to election there. Labour wld prefer DUP, on care and maintenance basis (abstentions as well as support on case by case).

    The big issue for Clegg is whether he wants to incur popular wrath by propping up Labour, or party wrath by propping up Conservatives. The DUP will facillitate things if he chooses the former, and people will not object as long as the deal agreed to NI parties is not seen to be unfair.

  • That’s what I simply do not get about Salmond’s reported approach (sorry to duplicate my post at 8:47 PM).

    If it had been Labour sounding out the SNP, I’d read it as a desperate throw: the visceral hatreds of Scottish politics should never be underestimated; and I do not see Scottish Labour accepting it. But the approach from the other direction?

  • lamhdearg

    i say nothing will happen. new election. SF to lose fst by 1 vote. petrol to rise in cost to £2 a drip.

  • There’s a fascinating piece in The Observer (on your breakfast table tomorrow morning), suggesting that all is not well in the uneasy coalition that is the Tory Party:

    The Observer can reveal that Lord Ashcroft, who pumped £5m into marginal seats, is furious with the Tory leader for having agreed to take part in television debates that he believes undid much of his work for the party.

    Friends of Ashcroft also say the peer is angry because he believes Cameron failed to stand up for him properly in the row over his “non-dom” tax status, which harmed the Tories in the run-up to the election.

    The piece also harks back to Ashcroft’s curious interview with Andrew Neil:

    “I think from the time the Conservatives were ahead, we then had the debates, which has quite obviously turned everything topsy-turvy and what were natural assumptions before those debates changed the whole of the playing field,” he said. “This is the type of result we are now seeing as a consequence of those debates.”

    Taking “a pure strategic hindsight view” he said there was a “balanced argument” over whether David Cameron should have taken part.A friend of Ashcroft told the Observer that the peer held Cameron personally responsible for the emergence of Clegg as a genuine rival: “He believes it knocked several points off our poll ratings and that, without it, we would have won.”

    And for sheer poison, there’s this about Cameron, attributed to a “senior front-bencher”:

    “Today, one senior frontbencher rounded on the Conservative leader, demanding that he sack key figures involved in the campaign, including the man who ran it, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor. The frontbencher said: “He ran his campaign from the back of his Jaguar with a smug, smarmy little clique — people like Osborne, [Oliver] Letwin and Michael Gove. He should get rid of all of them. The party will settle for nothing less.”

    Another senior and normally loyal Tory MP complained that Cameron’s big idea for the campaign — “the Big Society”, under which armies of volunteers would come together to tackle the country’s ills — was “complete crap”

    “We couldn’t sell that stuff on the doorstep. It was pathetic. All we needed was a simple message on policy. We could have won a majority if we had not had to try to sell this nonsense.”

  • RepublicanStones

    Micheal Gove was quite reticent to be dragged into commenting on the likelihood of the Tories accepting Lib Dem demands for electoral reform on the Andrew Marr show this morning, which is as expected I suppose. Of course Gordon will sell his granny to remain at no.10. The Irish Times cartoon yesterday had the situation down to a T, with Brown dressed up like a prostitute.

  • Despite what is said by the Sun and the profound political thinkers who dash off cartoons, the resolution of this situation is dead easy.

    All Clegg has to announce is that he intends to find a working arrangement with the Tories. At that point there is a clear mandate for a new government.

    But Clegg won’t, because he knows that he could not take his party with him. Nor could Cameron take the rump right of the Tories into an arrangement that soft-pedalled Europe and/or countenanced PR. That’s where the blockage lies.

    The late Mrs Rachel Brown (née Mavor; 1874-1934) and the late Mrs Jessie Souter (née Manson; 1878-1960) can rest peacefully.

  • outsidegawkingin

    Gordon Brown did say during his press statement that he was willing to talk to any of the party leaders. I presumed this to mean the possibility of a Labour/Tory coalition.

    Then when no media picked up on it I presumed I was mad. It surely is more credible than a Tory LD coalition.

  • Famously Latin had three ways of asking a question: num was the way to propose a question which expected the answer “no”.

  • Granni Trixie

    Does Lord A want his money back from UU/Tories?

  • USA

    “Mainland politics”?

    Do you live on Rathlin, Turgon?

  • lover not a fighter

    All not well in the Toryland then.

    Cameron may be the one that cannot deliver his side of a deal.

    This “Big Society” stuff sounded very similiar to another infamous Tory policy from the past .i.e “Care in the community” whick turned out to be” No care in the community”

  • Greenflag

    The ‘Big Society’ from the back of a 12 mpg Jaguar . Now there’s a cartoon picture .

    Under normal circumstances had Cameron had refused the TV debate it might not have had much electoral impact . But given the current economic background such a refusal could have backfired badly . It was certainly not a Nixon moment for Cameron who probably shored up party support by his performance . .

    I suspect that Clegg will cave in to pressure to form a government with the Tories . The ‘economy’ – ‘markets’ and the prospect of billions in value being wiped off the FTSE will have been used by Conservative ‘persuaders’ over the weekend .

    But Monday morning mirabile dictu the FTSE does not fall but is instead shored up by the Eurozone pact .
    One wonders how Mr Liam Fox and his more Thatcher like faction will react to any softening by the Cameroonian as one of their top playing cards- the markets on Monday morning has turned out to be a deuce ? Clegg may have a few more days to ponder that whereas 10.5 million voted Conservative in the UK 16 or 17 million did not .

  • Greenflag

    He could be in Kent ;)? where the original of the species i.e the Italian descended Carsoni whose family had morphed into Carson preferred to live . Apparently he (Carson) preferred to be closer to the ‘real ‘ continent than amidst the dreary steeples etc .

    Of course it might have been the weather for which we can forgive even Carson . Turgon remains in Fermanagh because well because well because somebody has to haven’t they ? Otherwise we could never have these nail biting election results;) ?

  • Greenflag

    He can want all he wants . He may have to wait another day for his ‘investment’ to bear fruit .