Loads of Labour MPs coming out against any possible deal with the Lib Dems… and now it looks like Brown will step down as PM if and when the Conservatives and Lib Dems choose to work together… Leaving Clegg without a foil in his negotiations with Cameron’s three horsemen… That is one leg gone from Kaletski’s thesis (the day before the election day) that a robust deal required a strong Labour counter offer:
If, however, Labour comes second — just ahead of the Liberal Democrats — in the popular vote, the situation would be transformed. Nick Clegg would then have a genuine choice of coalition partners and would be in a position to demand serious concessions from the Tories. Mr Cameron, facing the awful possibility of a Lib-Lab government, would be have to come to terms with Mr Clegg. A two-year co-operation pact, giving the Tories enough time to address Britain’s fiscal problems and to prepare a referendum on electoral reform, would be the likely result.
The BBC is hinting that the possibility of a Labour deal (or Hail Mary pass) is now over. That may not be good for the Lib Dems who need whomever they sign up with to swallow a little bit of poison over electoral reform in order for them to avoid the kind of fate that Ireland’s minor government partners have so often faced in the past. Think PDs. Think Greens. Think too that national referenda trend towards No votes and the promise of a public vote on bringing in PR, and your red lines are looking very weak.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty