Clegg dreams of threesome coalition for Westminster in the face of the Groper’s revenge

Sky pilot Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg, is likely to break up on re-entry to earth’s atmosphere following the May 2015 General Election.

With the party’s abject performance in the recent by election at Rochester and Strood, taking 0.9% of the vote and losing its deposit for the eleventh time in this term, Mr Clegg is floating the idea of  a pro-Europe three-way coalition after the General Election – between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

There are now two proscriptions on coalition – the SNP, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will ‘never ever’ go into coalition with ‘The Tories’ – although she and Alex Salmond were very glad to work with the support of ‘The Tories’ at Holyrood throughout their 2007-2011 minority administration.

And Nick Clegg will ‘never sit around a cabinet table with Nigel Farage’ – still sore that he himself gave Mr Farage an almighty blast of the ‘oxygen of publicity’ when he went into a series of televised debates with the UKIP leader and was promptly seen off the park by a clearly more capable politician.

The Lib Dem dream of clawing back onto the periphery of power – despite losing deposits all over the country and certain  to lose seats in the General Elections, ignores some key scenarios and may be a tad light on the maths and the realities.

There would be something fully sado-masochistic were Labour to be eaten alive in Scotland by the SNP in the General Election, yet be willing to take them into its embrace, giving them nationwide status in government, after the mauling.

The Lib Dem’s would also have to be willing to accept the same delicions pain if they were to be part of such an arrangement, because they too are likely to lose some Scottish seats to the SNP. Indeed, many endangered Lib Dem MPs in Scottish seats will this morning not thank Mr Clegg for his expressed willingness, as leader of a pro-union party, to embrace the separatist SNP. This can only prove another electoral own goal.

Perspectives

How would the sums add up in Cleggo’s lego mock up of the House of Commons at the end of May 205?

The SNP, with the following wind of a mighty new paid-up membership and a new First Minister, will take some seats from both Labour and the Lib Dems.

There is only one current Conservative seat in Scotland, which David Mundell is likely to retain – but either way, one seat is neither here nor there, other than in symbolic presence or lack of it.

The Conservatives may now have an opportunity to go hard for some seats where they might be in contention as the beneficiaries of pro-union vote transfers, following Nick Clegg ‘s now declared willingness to join forces with the SNP in Westminster. The Scottish Conservative Leader, Ruth Davidson, was by a long way the most effectively persuasive pro-union voice in Scotland – and was well received by young audiences.

There is a finite number of Scottish seats. Take out the Conservatives  as unlikely to make much of a new mark [although with Labour’s loss of identity and momentum, we predict that there will be revival of the Conservative vote in Scotland, over  the next decade.

That leaves Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Dem0crats.

If these three were to collaborate in a post election coalition at Westminster, it would not matter how many seats any one of them lost to the other two in Scotland. The collective number of seats they would hold here would remain the same. There are no other serious predators.

The question would come down to how Labour and the Liberal Democrats fared in England and Wales.

And that is where UKIP comes in.

UKIP is likely to take more seats from the Conservatives but Labour has vulnerable constituencies on the east coast and perhaps in the midlands.

The Liberal Democrats are becoming the also-rans – and are damaged by being mired in the most serious possible sexual scandal, where the party is now known to have disguised and suppressed  their former party heavyweight, Rochdale’s Cyril Smith’s persistent predation on young boys in vulnerable circumstances – a personal practice which was known to the party hierarchy.

The taint of such indefensible values – in the conscious betrayal, for political ends, of the most vulnerable of children ,in the worst of circumstances and to the most dreadful abuse – will make many decent folk simply recoil from the Lib Dems – and so they should.

Then there is The Groper’s revenge

Today has also seen another one-man double whammy damage to the Lib Dems, in what can only be described as ‘The Groper’s revenge’.

Lord Rennard, The Lib Dem’s former election campaign supremo who was suspended from the party in the wake of allegations of serial groping – and readmitted following a very belated apology to the women upon whom he had pressed his attentions, has always – regardless of this conduct – seen himself as badly treated – and by Mr Clegg.

His anger may well in part be due to his Leader’s about-turn stance on the matter. Mr Clegg allegedly has knowledge of Rennard’s behaviour but had chosen to keep it quiet – until the matter became public knowledge, at which familiar point it became completely unacceptable.

So following the electoral disaster at Rochester and Strood, today the pop-up groper reminded the nation of his existence and of his unwelcome activities by making headlines in declaring that, in his view, it is questionable whether the Lib Dems may still properly be regarded as a major party. He has a point – but not one that can fairly be validated – or rejected – until after the coming General Election.

The pro-union vote will now, thanks to its own leader, also have reason to treat the party with suspicion. The Lib Dem prospects are not good. The party will lose seats in England and Wales and not only to UKIP.

Projections

In our view the Conservatives are likely to emerge from the election with the greatest number of seats of any party – because the economy has been stabilised and moved into recovery in their hands – and that, as the primary determinant of a country’s viability, is always the key deciding factor at major elections. Labour’s catastrophic failure to regulate the financial sector remains in the pubic consciousness as a negative counterweight.

As the largest party and without an overall majority – the Conservatives might choose to govern as a minority administration – a position which, by necessity, usefully  removes from the agenda measures born from over-dogmatic stances.

They could also, quite conceivably, make composition with their erstwhile coalition partners, the LibDems [who would gladly accept] – and with the Northern Ireland unionists. It is not inconceivable that both the Conservatives and UKIP could accept cohabitation in government.

As the largest party, if, as we predict, that is what they are at the end of the election, the Conservatives will have options, with the choice made  according to the relative strengths of their various potential partners.

They would not offer – and we all know that the SNP would ‘never ever’ accept, an invitation to the nationalists to join them.

Labour could not credibly afford to embrace the SNP in coalition – with the all-out war between  the two in Scotland and with the deep division between unionism and separatism. These are identifiers so visceral as to resist pragmatic partnership.

The probability, however the various predations and failures play out, is that the SNP group at Westminster, whatever size it is, will be a standalone ginger group, free of responsibility and equally free to pick whatever targets are of greatest advantage regardless of their political party origins.

Beyond an informal agreement of support on a case by case basis in exchange for adding some items to a government agenda, it is beyond fantasy to imagine that any party could invite the SNP into coalition at Westminster, or that the SNP would actually want to be a part of the government of a United Kingdom from which it is more determined than ever to depart at the first available opportunity.

They would be seen as – and could actually be – a fifth column en plein air. Any party choosing to put them in such a position would have an electoral price to pay.

Only Nick Clegg could fail to see the obvious in this.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • I’d be surprised if Alan Reid wasn’t a target in 2015; his majority isn’t that big and there was a big drop from 2005.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

    db November 25, 2014 5:55 pm Reply
    • I tend to agree with you, db – the LibDems seem to be a lost cause at the moment.
      I think it’s a shame tho’ as Alan Reid does a lot of work for Argyll that goes unrecognised. He is a committed and very hard working MP and he certainly does not get annoyed if someone leaves a message at his office that is not “an emergency, unlike our MSP, it seems”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

      Lowry November 25, 2014 6:15 pm Reply
  • “The SNP, with the following wind of a mighty new paid-up membership and a new First Minister, will take some seats from both Labour and the SNP.”

    Qué?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    dp November 25, 2014 7:16 pm Reply
    • I believe it is known as the “Mass Hysteria” effect.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

      Lowry November 25, 2014 7:29 pm Reply
    • Thank you db. Corrected to ‘…take some seats from both Labour and the Lib Dems’.
      And re yours and Lowry’s remarks on Alan Reid’s position, he lost nearly 5% of his vote last time but both the Conservatives and Labour candidates were between him and the SNP candidate Mike Mackenzie, in fourth place.
      This time, Alan Reid has nothing to thank his Leader for tonight.
      Clegg’s declaration that the Lib Dems would happily shack up in a Labour coalition with the separatist SNP may well cause the fairly numerous Argyll pro-union voters [alarmed by the growth of support for the SNP since they failed to win the independence referendum] to find a safer place for their votes than the Lib Dems.
      Where this happens, we would see the majority of those votes going to the pro-union Labour candidate rather than to the Conservative one, since that party is fielding a candidate untried at this level, from the islands and not widely known across Argyll and Bute.
      The SNP in Argyll have too much to purge from the chaos of their betrayal of their electoral support in the local authority election in 2012. They may improve their vote but here, on evidence, they cannot be trusted to put local before party interests and are unlikely to take the seat.
      The best bet is on either Alan Reid or the Labour candidate, Mary Galbraith – and it would be a foolish person who wrote off Alan Reid too early.
      He may issue silly self promotional material and have developed in his public speaking a shouty manner than does not suit him – but he has been an intelligent, dedicated, unshowy hard working constituency MP whom people will not want to let down.
      We do not see the SNP taking Argyll. We would see the Conservative vote fall after Gary Mulvaney’s impressive candidacy last time; but we cannot call it between Alan Reid and Mary Galbraith.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

      newsroom November 25, 2014 8:40 pm Reply
      • Hmm – I don’t see it this way. I think the unionist vote will be split 3 ways and with the LibDems’ vote so low in the ratings I reckon the SNP could gain it. However, I really do hope I’m wrong.

        I also take exception to the notion

        “…alarmed by the growth of support for the SNP since they failed to win the independence referendum”

        I believe it is the media that is creating the hype over the increase in SNP party membership numbers. There may well be a swell in numbers but this does not equate to more votes. I believe it is only those who voted Yes who have decided to join the party and let’s face it, the total is nowhere near the 2 million that voted No!

        Don’t fall foul of believing the SNP when it keeps bleating on about how it nearly won the referendum. It didn’t. It will burn itself out, especially once it actually has to implement policies based on the restrictions of the Scottish economy.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

        Lowry November 25, 2014 8:58 pm Reply
  • With less than a 3,500 majority it looks like a three way battle for Argyll & Bute or if recent libdem voting is anything to go by a two way fight. Has Argyll & Bute ever had a Labour MP?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

    John M November 25, 2014 7:30 pm Reply
    • The answer is no.I think this will be a four way fight for the following reasons.Despite Lib Dem unpopularity Alan Reid as the three term incumbent will have a personal vote.Despite being fourth last time the SNP are on a high following the referendum.Polling over 10,000 the last time would suggest Labour are not out of it .Lastly despite low polling in Scotland there is still a substantial Tory vote in Argyll, if my memory serves me well I believe they came second the last time.
      The result in May may well hinge on the degree of tactical voting on the Unionist side.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Alastair MacGregor November 27, 2014 11:03 pm Reply
  • Broadly agree with your calculations. although there are now so many factors in the 2015 contest that unexpected results could well happen. However while it is true that Labour failed to rein in the financial sector we ought to remember that no party, either here or abroad has so far succeeded in that, and that the Conservatives not only failed to rein it in but positively encouraged many of its excesses, something which may eventually rise to the surface of the public’s consciousness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    Arthur Blue November 25, 2014 11:35 pm Reply
    • No more than Salmond and RBS,

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      richard November 27, 2014 11:12 pm Reply

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