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Aaaargh No! Definitely no formal alliances! What divides us from the Lib-Dems is far far greater than any agreement we have with them on on policy. As someone who is generally on the more moderate wing of the party I can see little benefit in doing anything with them other than on a very informal basis on the odd occasion when we agree.

Whatever happened to the blog awards, Tim?

It's easy to say now, but when faced with the virtually impossible task of minority administration, some kind of pact will seem mighty tempting.

Anyway, the Dems will be easy to buy off. Offer a referendum on Alternative Vote Commons or a Single Transferable Vote Lords or Local Councils, and the bitches will be anybody's.

Frankly, they'd sell their own children for a whiff of government anyway, as well we know. Make the idiots do our bidding.

A good question Iain. We'll do them next month! Sorry for the delay.

Speaking as someone who has experienced a Lab/Libdem coalition in Holyrood, I would be vehemently against any such pact.
In the event of a hung Parliament I would prefer the Conservative's to try to govern on an issue by issue basis. I think that in the long run the electorate would then be able to judge both our party's performance and that of the opposition parties in a much more open and focussed way.
The libdems have been very clever at steering their policies into legislation in Holyrood, while not taking the joint responsibility for difficult decisions.

"Sell their own children for a whiff of government" - Given the treaties the Tories have signed, they may not have sold their kids, but they've certainly sold their birthright!

A Dim-Lib pact is the obvious follow through... This is REALLY going to convince Paul Dacre, Daily Mail editor, that "Tories" and "Conservatives" are on different planets, isn't it :-)

>>Frankly, they'd sell their own children for a whiff of government anyway, as well we know. Make the idiots do our bidding.<<

Now who could that remind me of...?

PR will be the price of any pact with the LibDems and anyway I have no doubt that Brown will win the bidding war.

No! No! No! Apart from a few "Orange Book" LibDems, most of the party are hardcore Leftists; their tax-policies deeply frighten me [local income-tax, increased income-tax for middle-earners, punitive taxes on personal mobility] and we should under no circumstance fall in with their anti-nuclear rhetoric. Hell, I'd even prefer Conservatives working with Labour on a case-by-case basis if it kept the LibDems out of power.

Experience in Scotland has shown the LD's will take the credit for 'popular' policies and allow 'rebellions' against 'unpopular' policies put forward by the scottish executive. If a coalition with the LD's after the next general election is the only viable option we need to 'iron out' agreement on key policies giving the LD's no wriggle room. Also, if the LD's start distancing themselves from 'government policies', the party ought to come down on these MP's like the proverbial ton-of-bricks, and to start doing as to them as to what the LD's do to their coalition 'partners' in Scotland (ie) screw- but not in the Oaten way!). The make-or-break coalition question for me: PR in general elections ( mind you,i could be persuaded to allow PR for metropolitan elections only).

No, no, a thousand times no. I'd rather die than say yes.

I'm just writing a Lib Dem bashing letter as I read this. A formal alliance is indeed a horrid thought.

That would be the most disasterous outcome if there was to be a hung parliament. Don't go down that line as the price to pay is too great.They would put the adoption of PR as their price of teaming up with us in a coalition. There is a lot of things happening in Scotland which will cost us seats in Local elections and all due to the coalition deal the Lib Dems struck with Labour.Don't trust the Lib Dems as they would do any deal just to get their positions in Government.They walked away from a rainbow alliance in Perth and then they took up and threw their lot in with the SNP to form an new administration. The Lib Dems just held all the top positions although their numbers were far short of both the Labour and Conservative Cllrs. The Lib Dems are nothing more than a rag bag of political opportunists. Don't trust them under any circumstances.

At the next General Election the Tories will produce a manifesto and will be voted to power as a result of the policies in that manifesto. The Lib Dems manifesto will be rejected by the vast majority of the electorate. Therefore we should not get into a position where polices that the electorate wanted are traded for policies they rejected.

Why are we even considering a pact?
Why do we seem to believe a hung parliament is going to be the result fo the next election?
Why do many of the Shadow Cabinet actually appear to be, well, shadows?
Who do we hear speaking out in vehement opposition to the many and varied transgressions of this failing NuLab government?
As a party we should be being robust in the presentation of the strategic aims and be planning to WIN the next election outright, not this defeatist claptrap of hung parliaments.
Our Shadow Cabinet should be out there cranking up the media to defeat the Blair/Brown sleaze party and widening the gap in the opinion polls. Let's aim to make the gap so wide that it beocmes ineviatlby that we WIN the next election!

Amazing loose-tongued quote from Michael Gove. Well done ConservativeHome for finding it for us. Now we know what the Cameroons are not so screcretly scheming to build.

The problem with joining with the Lib-Dems in a coalition is that they have no joined up policies. They are wishy-washy, they have totally stupid ideas, that will never get a vote, apart from the loonies, who are their support.
The Lib-dems would give their souls for a coalition that allowed them to push the idea of proportional representation and get it passed on to the statute books. Then of course you can kiss any idea of further cooperation, as they will push or precipitate an election, then our politics and governments will end up like Italy.
No deals with the weirdo's, just consign them to the dustbin and snatch their floating voters who traditionally use voting Lib-Dem/UKIP as a protest.

No repeat NO
This is 20th century thinking
The LibDems are now the most left wing and pro EU party. They will demand PR as the price and if DC pays that he's a bigger fool than I give him credit for. Let Brown sup with the devil.
If we are the largest Party and especially if Labour is larger but the Parliament is hung, we should remain in Opposition and let the government run on or do a deal with the Lib Dems. We should say that Brown has no mandate to run England [because the scenario cant happen (or isn't very likely)psephologically unless we are the biggest party in England] and then the fun can really begin.
Britain can have a Conservative government when it earns it (by voting correctly).

I expect Michael Gove is just stirring things up in a london specific context

We should wait until we have an outright majority.

Please no suggestions of PR. Haven't we had enough constitutional vandalism in the last 10 years?

LimpDum/Tory pact would be a disaster. Anyone who has done any campaigning at all must be aware of the libdem say one thing at this end of town, and say the other thing at that end of town. Translate that into trying to work together?????? I don't think so!

in 1997 the tory's had the oppertunity of stopping labour from having such a crushing win by doing what the refferendom party asked and having a refferendum on europe. by even flaggin up the prospect of coalition with the lib dems, means that the tories are already admitting defeat. One people they should be getting back into the fold, is those going to UKIP if the tory party want a formula for winning the next election they need one in which BRITAIN comes first, before europe and before the immigrants. This will win the next election nothing else.

Any pact with the Lib Dems will be driven by expediency, not principle. If a pact, at any almsot price, is the difference between some leading Tories enjoying and not enjoying office then anything is possible. After three election defeats, they are pretty desperate and there is always the Molotov-Ribbentrop precedent. Changetowin will no doubt explain it all away as in the best traditions of One Nation Conservatism as exemplified by Disraeli, Churchill, Machiavelli (sorry, mean Macmillan), etc.

The Lib Dems will demand a high price but at the end of the day it is Brown, not the Tories, who can dare to concede PR.

in 1997 the tory's had the oppertunity of stopping labour from having such a crushing win by doing what the refferendom party asked

Forgive my cynicism, but I'm always wary of doing what we're told by our opponents! One or two of them are trying it again, apparently, and I'm pleased to say they seem to be being dismissed in the way they deserve.

One people they should be getting back into the fold, is those going to UKIP if the tory party want a formula for winning the next election

I know where you're coming from, but I seriously do think that pandering to fringe parties actually reduces our ability to take votes from serious mainstream parties with representation in the Commons, which has far more of an effect. I do agree though, that we need to continue to work to explain and sell the Party's approach to those people that you identify as much as any other. Personally, I'd like to aim to win the GE with an outright majority, and worry about the deals afterwards. But of course it's in the back of political minds, it's only responsible as a serious alternative Government to look at how we resolve various possible hypotheticals going forward.

Any pact with the Lib Dems will be driven by expediency, not principle. If a pact, at almost any price, is the difference between some leading Tories enjoying and not enjoying office then anything is possible.

Michael, what would you like to see us do in that position? I'd still like to see us form even a minority administration in those circumstances if we can't reach a deal. Let's face it, even if we were to allow Labour to form a minority administration themselves, I don't see how it advantages us as I'm not sure how they can screw up worse than they are doing right now! Mind you, they do keep pushing the envelope...

I'm not sure we can take a solid position right now. It would depend on the negotiations that would happen at the time in this hypothetical situation, and whether we could find sufficient common policy ground with LD parliamentarians to still be able to deliver DC's agenda intact, but I'm not too optimistic at the moment.

Under the circumstances proposed it would not be expediency at all, but finding the best possible political reality.

Richard Carey

In reply to your post, in 1997 the Reff... Party collected 1 million votes, those votes mostly came from dis effected Tory's who want a free speech on europe and not to be stifled. At least 20 seats were lost due to the votes given to the Reff.. Party instead of the Tory. All the Conservative Party had to do was to say yes they would hold a Refferendom. what is so wrong with that, they didnt even have to say which way to vote, just to say they would hold one, and it would have gained a million votes, plus the extra people they could have reached thru the media.

Now you have the BNP & UKIP pulling apart pro British voters Anti European people. in Euro elections, BNP gained 800,000 and this year could double that considering the gains they have been making, UKIP who may not reach the figures they did, still have the oppertunity of taking 3 millions voters,

As we know voters who protest in european elections may not vote the same way in General Elections. But look at the facts, core support for Labour does not go to tory they swap to lib dems when upset. the only people who could gain from a pro British and Anti european move would be the Tories. Who would we actually lose, we worry about the party splitting up but the biggest losses come when we become more pro european, if ken clarke defects so be it, but I belive if the Conservative are truly for this country they need to tap into the nationalist feeling of this country.

At present we are fighting against a dead man walking of a party in the Labour party, Yet the Conservatives can not wipe the floor with them. If I was David Cameron I would be more concerned that pollings wasnt at 50 percent, because that is where they should be, what more does the labour party have to do, to continue its self destruction. Because when Gordon Browns honeymoon begins we could be looking down the barrel of yet another white wash, and ten more years of pro european, pro globalisation non sense, in which if there is ever Tory government again they will have nothing to take control of. As it will be in the hands of brussels, and microsoft. Thats if the lunatics havent run amok as there be no room left in the asylum.

I think there is an assumption in posts here that there would be a choice of coalitions (Lab/Lib or Con/Lib).

It is actually more likely that the maths will rule out one of those possibilities. If we are, say, 30 seats short of a majority then a Lab/Lib coalition would not be an option and nor would a minority government even with the DUP/UUP.

That would be a very difficult position for us. It is all very well for people here to say "no deals, no surrender!" but that will look very childish to the public if the situation arises. Although we would probably want to go to the country short of a full term, to do so immediately because we hate the yellow peril would royally p*ss people off.

What's the fuss? I know the Lib Dems are a bit right wing compared to us these days, but it would still be a coalition of two largely like-minded left wing parties. Worth the sacrifices to keep out those right-wing sods in the Labour Party.

>>LimpDum/Tory pact would be a disaster. Anyone who has done any campaigning at all must be aware of the libdem say one thing at this end of town, and say the other thing at that end of town<<

I had a LibDem MP who was as helpful and hardworking as his Tory predecessor was lazy and supercilious. My personal experience of LibDem councillors has also been generally good.

Why should this be? I have a simple answer. Most LibDems do not anticipate the chance of becoming ministers quickly or peers slowly. In other words they don't join their party for reasons of out-and-out ambition. Some of them are actually motivated by notions of public service.

The other two parties, on the other hand, are peopled from top to bottom by the very worst type of careerist. They always have been. Can't blame that one on Dave.

During my many active years in the Tory Party I couldn't begin to count the number of wannabee candidates who started by saying "I'll fight the system and stand up for ordinary people" and who then, having joined the Tory group on the Council would change their tune to "We have to work with x and y . You can't fight them. You'd understand if you were on the council"

I might add that on their way down, the selfsame people would say to me "you were right all along"

It's not that LibDems are inherently better people than Tories and Socialists, but the nature of their party attracts fewer rotten careerist apples.

Thank you Dave (9.52)! :-)

Mark McCartney - a perceptive and thoughtful post. And exactly the reason why most speculation about defections of Lib Dem MPs can be taken with a large pinch of salt. If our MPs rated ambition above principle they wouldn't have joined us in the first place.

My Lib-Dem MP, Vincent Cable, is hard working and effective. His Tory predecessor was a buffoon, and Hansard certainly demonstrates that opinion.
The Tories should never have lost Twickenham, equally with a Lib-Dem council (Richmond upon Thames)for the last 26 years you are working uphill.
The Lib-Dems though, are not clean and goody two shoes, they can and are, just as corrupt, inefficient and ineffectual as any other party

The Lib Dems believe in more government spending, taxes and regulations - and more power to European Union.

Conservatives believe (or, at least, are supposed to believe) in less government spending, taxes and regulations - and restoring self government to this nation.

Therefore how can Conservatives and Lib Dems ally? Unless (of course) the Conservative party now does not believe in Conservative princples.

It's not a question of alliances with the libdems (we used to talk about this endlessly on CH now I think about it didn't we?) it's a question of being attractive enough to destroy them by, probably informally at first, detaching their bright and truly centre-right minority from the aimless mass of their leftwing parliamentary party and membership. We will not do this by saying "every libdem is beyond the pale". We will do this by being so sensibly and decently centre-right that the members in question will start the process themselves. The Scottish experience is interesting but not perfectly analogous of course because there the "alliance" is just between the post-industrial belt socialists in the Labour party and the middle-class lecturer-class socialists in the Liberals. They don't actually disagree about anything other than which activity to be banned first.

In Westminster it is different. There are just a handful of LDs who are quite clearly (1) the most intelligent & electorally attractive in their party and (2) of the centre-right. When they eventually join us it will be a serious blow - a body-blow I hope - to the vast bulk of the yellow socialists and a severe knock to the chance of another leftwing majority in parliament.

So -- do not interpret possible vote-by-vote alliances in the next parliament (which happens quite often on important issues such as votes against ID cards in the Lords) between Tories and LDs as evidence that we are moving to the left. All our rehabilitation as politically human again is doing is allowing the centre right LDs to realise - painful though this must be to them - that their youthful gamble (that we would implode and hence would not advance the career of any ambitious young politician) has come to nothing, and if they want to advance the anti-socialist, anti-authoritarian thread in UK politics then they will have to join with the Conservatives. On a vote-by-vote basis at first ...

I feel the Lib Dems nowhere near represent what I consider to be core Conservative values on law & order (tough on the criminal, although it's good the LibDems are opposed to ID cards), the family (traditional marriage the best context for children and to build a healthy society) and the supremacy of the nation state. With regard to the latter, surely there can be no common ground whatsoever with the Europhile LibDems (even with the Orange-Book free-market ones) on whether we can be a free democratic and sovereign nation!

I would add we should aim to get far enough ahead to be able to form a majority government! But we seem to be losing too much of our core vote (e.g. to UKIP or to Stay At Home), while LibDem and NuLab votes, are not turning to us in large enough numbers to replace the lost core voters (cp Bromley?)

Who are these 'bright and truly Centre right minority' Graeme? I thought it was people like Clegg and Oaten. Yet when I hear them speaking on subjects like crime or our relationship with the EU I feel I have about as little in common with them as I would some unreconstructed socialist.

So thats it Graeme is it?
The junking of the Right wing policies this country needs, the junking of candidates who have held this party together over the last 15 yrs, the unwillingness to attack the government, when it lies exposed and bleeding at our feet, has all been to engineer the defection of two or three LibDem MPs, one of whom is an avowed coprophiliac.
Well, its certainly one approach to winning the next GE.

Jonathan, that's not an attempt at a discussion, it's a letting off of steam! Would you like to hear my best Mark Oaten joke? Go on then...

Overheard at LibDem conference after former LibDem spokesman speaks in the debate on hairloss: I thought he handled that motion superbly.

I don't like them either in the tribal sense and I agree with Malcolm, perhaps Nick Clegg has been over-promoted. Me point is just that we don't need to think "what will we give up in order to form some allsinging alldancing alliance with the LDs". Rather, our strategy should be to destabilise them by making it clear -- as I believe DC is doing -- that the only route to a centre-right majority in parliament is through the engine of the Conservative Party. If that makes some of them rethink their current party allegiance - within an organisation which makes NewLabour look like a model of common sense, populated by politicians who are a combination of leftwing daftness and sanctimonious hypocrisy - then this is to be welcomed.

There are a couple of issues where strands of libertarian-type Toryism and centre-right LDs do overlap: ID cards is the most obvious one. I wouldn't defect from the Conservatives because we were to rely, in the future, on LD votes in parliament to kill them off.

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