« Populus records reduced Tory lead | Main | The day after the next General Election? »


I do not believe that Ming Campbell will choose us over Gordon Brown. Gordon can make him Foreign Secretary. I believe that it is already a done deal if a hung parliament happens.

The price would be PR, which would be no bad thing in itself.

But of course it won't happen. Any LibeDem pact will be with Labour.

This is just the Cameroon teen titan fantasists popping their little flags all over the map while others do the hard graft for them.

These guys are in for one hell of an awakening

If MPs and activists start seeing through Camerloon, you might end-up needing a UKIP-CON pact!

I feel very uneasy about any deal with the Lib Dems. Labour I suspect feel similarly, thus why I think itll be a minority Labour government in a few years time. If we do the deal, the Lib Dems will have control as the minor partner who can blackmail the Tories if they dont go the Lib Dem way.

It kind of detracts from the point that we should govern as conservatives if we are working with the loopy Liberals...

If there is a hung parliament then we can expect a short parliamentary term. I certainly wouldn't relish defending the record of a Con/Lib government on the doorstep - and whichever way you try and spin it, that is what you will end up doing - with a Conservative term in office contaminated by whatever concession we would have to make to the Lib Dems.

What would be the Con-Lib pact on the EU? The Lib Dems would demand support for EU constitution and Britain joining the Euro. Sadly, I believe that Dave (egged on by Hezza, Hurd, Patten, Gummer etc) would agree.

Dave's Chief of Staff was Patton's aide in Brussels. Yet Dave's ignorant comments on "withdrawing from the Social Chapter" show that he does not even understand the existing legal framework. Or perhaps, even worse, he was deliberately misleading.

The EU is the elephant in Dave's drawing room and he cannot continue to ignore it. We need to know what he would do if Blair ratified the constitution without a referendum.

The EU is a huge threat to our democracy and prosperity. The Cameroons should realise that they are more important than a sleazy deal with the Fib Dems.

The Hague, Ken Clake wing see an alliance with the Lib Dems as the easiest way to lock the Conservatives into a pro-EU bloc, from which there will be little chance of escape.

Their calculation is based on the assumptions that UKIP is too small to provide an electoral avenue for eurosceptics, which is probably true - and that Conservative MP's will not rock the boat by pushing for Cameron's removal.

This latter option could, in the right circumstnaces be more likely to happen. Conservatives are willing on average to play along with Cameron being cryptic on the EU, but an alliance with the Lib Dems committed to EU membership, would undermine the eroding loyalty to Cameron good and proper.

Liam Fox's turn would arrive.

From the Conservative point of view such an event - Cameron's removal - would be better earlier not later. Once an election has been held, the Lib Dem trick can be played, and the Party would face a stark choice. Labour in power or a Lib Dem coalition - all parties committed to the EU.

If Liam Fox were pushed into the leadership before such events could be orchestrated, the Party would have a chance to push for power as a eurosceptic political force as most Conservatives desire. The voters would probably back Liam Fox and a eurosceptic programme. That would be far preferable to the Libdem coalition idea.

Any more talk of an LD coalition, and Conservative MP's should openly revolt against having Hague, and Ken Clarke's Bildeberg treacheries thrust upon them. Conservatives have tolerated enough rubbish already in my opinion. It's time Cameron stopped playing around with the europhile rump, and set up a Conservative eurosceptic position - which he claims he believes in.

Hague and Clarke should be disposed of, not allowed to manipulate yet more europhile sell-outs.

"Hague and Clarke should be disposed of"... Maude's the man who signed Maastricht and betrayed IDS - he should be FIRST to go...

Only a complete and utter desparate moron would contemplate such a move. The price of Lib-Dem co-operation would be proportional representation and PR is too high a price to pay for government. It would result in complete paralysis of politics in this country, as both parties struggle to achieve an ascendancy of policy and leave the electorate even more alienated.
Once PR was achieved and on the statute books the Lib-Dems would disappear faster than an SR-71.

Not sensible as it gives the LibDems the aura of seriousness.

I see David Owen likes the idea (heh heh) - as well as talking about how Menzies Campbell is too old for the job - this from Auntie:

"Lord Owen also said a Lib Dem-Conservative pact could not be ruled out after the next generation.

"If Cameron has the largest number of MPs but not an outright majority, I hope he can deal with the Liberal Democrats and come to an arrangement," Lord Owen added.

'I think people can see a lot of Conservative policies are acceptable now.'

Once PR was achieved and on the statute books the Lib-Dems would disappear faster than an SR-71.
It's hard to say what effect it would have on the Liberal Democrats, they would lose votes from people who had always merely wanted some form of PR from them, and they would lose votes to smaller parties such as the Green Party who then had a greater chance of getting seats, they also though would gain votes from people who hadn't been voting for them because they thought it was pointless or had been voting Labour or Conservative where they were more likely to win.

IMHO, a coalition with the Lib Dems would break the Conservative Party.

I think that most of the remaining Conservative policies advocated by the leadership would be negotiable in those circumstances. That might be fine for those wanting ministerial office, but not for the rest of us.

You are very wrong to quote your "poll of polls" as having any valid statistical basis. I bore even myself about this, but for the reasons set out repeatedly, it is not a valid estimator of anything. Since you use it as the basis for an article about the near-certainty of a hung parliament, it's very wrong. All you're really saying is "If we don't get enough votes there will be a hung parliament". I don't think such hypotheticals warrant such a gloom-mongering set of outcomes. You could just as easily say "In such a hypothetical situation, the leftwing LDs will naturally prop up a(n unpopular) Brown governemnt for a few months, while their centre-right peels off to the Tories, leading to a fast follower general election and an overall Tory majority".

It's pretty clear that Dave has realised this and been aiming for a LibDem coalition all along, hence the social-democrat policies and Toynbee tripe. We're seeing a glimpse of the future guys. He wants to be PM above all things, and if he junks everything Conservatives believe in to do it, then that's what he'll do - in fact he's already started...

You cannot trust the Lib Dems in a deal. Their record in local government (I tried it) will be only to do what they perceive to be an electoral advantage to them.

Lib Dems are good at winning but no good at running anything, and this is why they will always only do what is politically right rather than what is morally right.

Just look at the Iraq war - prior to us finding out that WMD was a bunch of rubbish their objections to the war (and their marching against it) was based on popular opinion and nothing else. Look at Ed Davey saying the peerages row was like Watergate - factually incorrect but certain to gain press coverage. They are opportunists - Jack Straw once call them the "vultures of politics" and that is what they are. We must prevent this even getting into the publics minds that this might happen because all those Lib Dem seats we could win on an anti Government swing will suddenly seem a safe Lib Dem vote.

Spot on as usual, Sean Fear. What will happen will be driven by pure expediency on the part of the insiders. Francis Maude and William Hague have made warm noises, have they? Well we know that they both have the political consistency of a weather vane and if Maude doesn't get office next time around, he is effectively a busted flush. Ken Clarke is also in favour, backed no doubt by Hurd, Petain and Gummer: can anyone point to any significant differences between Ken Clarke and the Lib Dems even as things stand, other than, at least for the time being, opposition to PR?

I can't see this happening. Not only would it rip the Tory party apart, it would do the same to the LibDems. A Labour - LibDem coalition would be uncomfortable for both parties, but it wouldn't destroy them. Still, maybe that's the idea, and it would happen ... sacrifice the LibDem party to ensure the final destruction of the Tory party, after which there would be no right wing party with a realistic prospect of gaining a Commons majority, while the left could reorganise to create into a new bloc which would govern forever - and by controlling the education system and manipulating the media it could seek to ensure that there was never again enough public support for an effective right wing competitor to emerge.

Sean Fear:
"IMHO, a coalition with the Lib Dems would break the Conservative Party."

I have trouble imagining any scenario in which it wouldn't break the Conservative party. PR would lead to an explosion in support for the fringe parties as our politics Europeanised; Labour and the Liberals would both lose support but I think the biggest changes would be on the right. UKIP would become viable, probably with at least 5% of the vote, so would the BNP and they could well expect Front National type levels of support in the 13-18% range. The current system depresses right-wing support and a notable shift would be that right of centre parties would be getting around 50% of votes cast, rather than ca 40% as at present; especially if you count BNP as right-wing. Labour would be squeezed below 30%, Conservatives probably also. Lib Dems would probably actually lose the most votes, since they'd no longer serve as a dust-bin repository, but even with ca 8% they could still expect to hold the balance of power on a semi-permanent basis.

Coalition with the Libdems would split the Tory party, but not down the middle. The majority would find itself breathing the fresh air of centre right politics. Ukip would be a soft takeover target and the million or so non-voting right wingers would have a credible vote to cast for the first time since the blessed Margaret fought elections.

I would consider it a terrific opportunity to release the party from its kidnapping by the conviction-less Dave and Francis.

Don't be so certain about lib-lab. I'm a libdem and we're fed up with labours anti-liberal stance on issues, we'd make a deal with the current cons better than we would with the current labour but you'd have to allow for PR. us lib dems have been betrayed too many times before to be fooled into giving you lot power without securing our own future as the third party of Britain.

Tim you can count me in for your efforts to oppose a formal coalition with the LibDems. I did already post on this subject the day before yesterday and so I won't repeat myself but without question the Conservative minority administration seeking support from the LibDems and Nationaists on a ad hoc basis is the only way forward. It is impossible to trust the LibDems any more than one issue at a time as I know to our cost locally.

so would the BNP and they could well expect Front National type levels of support in the 13-18% range.
There is no sign of that, France was far more resistant to shedding of it's Empire and there are still large numbers of old fashioned French Imperialists left - Front National is not the BNP, it gets vast levels of Middle Class support and support from the wealthy and many of the places it is government in France are rich areas, it favours more market orientated solutions than the BNP, what it is is old style French Imperialist which is anti-semitic, xenophobic and very much into finding scapegoats as happened for example notably in the Dreyfuss affair.

In the French Presidential Elections, Jean-Marie Le Pen was able to emerge as the 2nd candidate - that would not happen in the UK with Nick Griffin or John Tyndall, under a First Past the Post system FN would still control much of the South of France indeed they might intensify their control.

All you're really saying is "If we don't get enough votes there will be a hung parliament".
Distribution of vote makes a difference of course, if Conservative support went up a bit in what were safe seats anyway (Conservative or any other party) it wouldn't actually gain them any seats, a drop in the overall Conservative vote with an improvement specifically in the marginals could see the Conservatives making major gains.

Anyone who contemplates us as Tories going into any form of alliance with the Lib Dems is quite frankly nuts! Take the situation in Scotland for example where the Labour Party went into a pact with the Lib Dems and the price to be paid was Cabinet Seats and worst of all a form of Single Transferable Vote for Local Authority elections. What a mess and will cost us seats in the elections.The Lib Dems have got all the credit for what they have done yet the main Party which in the Scottish case is Labour have taken all the punches for things which are not popular. Anyone going into any sort of pact with the Lib Dems can kiss Goodbye to any chance of us ever forming a majority Government again.They are only interested in what is good for the Lib Dems and nobody else. In Perth ,they left a rainbow alliance with the Labour and Tory groups and set up an alliance with the SNP. so it shows there that they are not to be trusted. It is the type of politician which this sort of Party breeds.Never trust them. I could go on and on with further examples of their treachery and self interest,but will leave that to others who may wish to comment.

That's right. Better another Socialist Government than a Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition.

Well said (as oer usual), Og.

Hold on a second..

This Conhome piece is misleading at first glance.

I thought from the title of this Tory Diary piece that it was suggesting we should rule out ALL cooperative with the Lib Dems under ANY circumstances!

Then I drill down into the detail and discover it's only really against a LibCon coalition. Even though point 4 and 5 suggest that even co-operation is a bad thing?? "ConservativeHome will put similar energy into being a platform for members’ scepticism about LibCon co-operation"

Why is co-operation on issues where we agree ever a "bad" thing?

I too rule out a formal coalition.

However, if we do achieve a minority government what's wrong with cooperating where we have shared viewpoints?

If we can repeal illiberal laws, ID cards, lower taxes, instigate more decentralisation and pass laws on the environment with their help - let's do it.

After all, who knows how long a minority Con administration would last? A few laws on the statue book like this would be a great help and good help us achieve a majority a few months later.

If they want PR and greater EU federalisation, it's simple - we tell them to get lost. They can't do it by themselves.

Our message should be: Co-operation (where we agree); Coalition, No way.

How is it that Tories oppose electoral reform, especially by a fair system like Proportional Representation by the Single Transferable Vote, yet keep complaining about the present system which benefits Labour?

Fair enough, Peter (15:52).

"Co-operation (where we agree); Coalition, No way."

I don't dissent from that!

The Conservatives oppose electoral reform because the Lib Dems are in favour of it.

"The Conservatives oppose electoral reform because the Lib Dems are in favour of it."

Doesn't our opposition of PR predate the Liberal Democrat Party (1988 IIRC)?

sorry, pre-date... although predating on LibDems doesn’t seem a bad thing.

We don't complain about the current system Tinmberwolf.Can you find any examples at all of us opposing FTPTP?If the boundary commission does its job fairly we are happy.
Twit, have you anything sensible to say at all?

Doesn't our opposition of PR predate the Liberal Democrat Party (1988 IIRC)?
The SDP\Liberal Alliance also stood on a platform of PR although David Steel favoured STV and David Owen wanted multi-member constituencies so it wasn't agreed what form should be introduced, Roy Jenkins eventually advocated AV Plus which was about 550 AV seats with some kind of list based topup of 100 seats, introduction of PR had been a Liberal Party policy for decades first introduced as a policy by David Lloyd George in the 1920's and adhered to ever since - Liberal support in the 1929-31 Labour government was conditional on Labour introducing a bill to introduce PR but this never happened, under the Lib-Lab pact of course there was a bill which Jim Callaghan and many who went on to be members of the SDP voted for but it was a free vote on the Labour side and was voted down.

Valadict... says: "Doesn't our opposition of PR predate the Liberal Democrat Party (1988 IIRC)?"
It actually pre-dates the Liberal Party too. When we opposed the 1832 Reform Bill (which was when all this electoral reform stuff started) it was the Whigs.

Getting slightly more up to date, I agree with Peter Hatchet and, for that reason, think this new crusade of the Editor, even if it is against a coalition rather than against any co-operation, is mistaken. I don't think the Cameron strategy is to have a coalition - it is to highlight sufficiently the things we have in common with the Lib Dems (environment, civil liberties etc) that they feel reasonably well disposed towards us, and so are more likely to co-operate with us than prop us Labour. Notwithstanding their leftward slant, the Lib Dems are not going to relish propping up a Govt that would have just lost the election and which was stale and discredited after 12 years in power. If we have a crusade now about how we could never do things with the LibDems, this will just poison the atmosphere and make that more difficult. Furthermore, if the Editor's campaign is taken at all seriously, it will pump up the importance of the Lib Dems in the meantime, as others have said. But at the same time, we should have Con LibDem co-operation up our sleaves if it is needed.

The reason people want this campaign seems to me to be a symptom of distrust of the present Tory leadership, i.e. a feeling that they would not deal with the Lib Dems in our party's, and the country's, interests. Although my political bearings on the majority of issues are well to the right of Cameron, I do not share that distrust but think that Cameron is cunning enough to get the better of them. He can quietly work on withdrawing from the social chapter whilst getting Lib Dem support on other things and then, if he has found a way of doing so, it would be a very good policy at the subsequent election with which to dish the Lib Dems because, if achievable, it would be very popular. The Treasury team could also do quiet work finding the money for, and working out the details of, the best tax cuts, so the second election could spring that too. It really might be quite advantageous to be in office for a bit whilst having a good reason not to have done some things that would have taken a bit of time to cook up anyway.

So, Editor, I suggest you drop this one, despite its rave reviews from many on here. I am beginning to think that you feed the paranoia of the ultras with some of your editorial lines. I used to think the ultras invaded the site unprovoked, but I am beginning to see how your editorial line derived from your blend of social conservatism and pro-US foreign policy tends to stir them up.

Last week it was Catholic adoption agencies - yes, I agree with you on that, but it's not the biggest issue of all time and stirs ugly posts from anti-gays. This week it's paranoid thoughts about jettising everything to adopt Lib Dem policies (shock horror that we might be influenced by their policy on Iraq which has been proved so right - if we had taken their line we'd probably be the biggest party NOW, let alone after the next election), all based on a highly hypothetical election outcome.

If you are not careful you will get the blend of ultra posters on the site that you deserve.

I post these observations in a spirit of friendship as obviously my participation indicates my appreciation of the site - but it does take some time (I only started visiting the site about last August) to realise where your strongest editorial interventions seem to lead. A ConHome disagreeing with some policies is fine - we all do - but one which in subtle ways feeds distrust of the leadership in the rank and file: I think you should guard against that. I am still not sure if it is deliberate and, as a social conservative, I think you are somewhat ungrateful when one considers all the pro-marriage Cameron guff (one aspect I find somewhat puke making but should be up your street).

Bit of a stream of consciousness, but there you are.

Didn't the Chartists propose some form of PR back in the 19th century?

Certainly the Liberal Party only adopted the policy when already in decline, if they ever emerge as one of the 2 main parties they might well abandon the policy.

Labour dallied with the idea in the 1980's and early 1990's increasingly and then from 1992 after the collapse of the ERM such ideas reached a hiatus while it looked possible that they might need a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and then it subsided as Labour MP's and members in the mid 1990's became increasingly convinced that Labour would win outright although from 1992 there was a spell of favouring AV, and since 1997 most Labour MP's have lost interest and probably the Conservative Party will also go through a spell at some point of supporting the idea before dropping it totally when it becomes clear that they are going to return to a long spell in government on the existing system. Even if Gordon Brown wants to, Labour MP's will block any bill to introduce PR.

He can quietly work on withdrawing from the social chapter whilst getting Lib Dem support on other things
He could negociate an opt out, but he would need to hold another election to get it through the House of Commons as Labour and the Liberal Democrats would be likely to both oppose it on a 3 line whip, he could of course pass it on the Royal Perogative at which point if the Liberal Democrats had been providing any support they would withdraw it and probably there would be a confidence motion.

I think that at the most barring one party or the other pushing through a referendum on PR satisfactory to the Liberal Democrats that the Liberal Democrats will not vote on the Queen's Speech or in confidence motions for either a Labour government or Conservative government and at most would abstain and probably only on the first Queen's Speech, as such it may require DUP and UUP support, and maybe support from the SNP\Plaid Cymru too. It's important as well to bare in mind that the SDLP do not come under Labour's figures but will back a Labour government almost certainly in confidence motions, so the Conservatives might even have to do a deal with Gordon Brown to form a minority government or have to form a coalition with Labour possibly with Gordon Brown remaining Prime Minister. That is assuming that Labour doesn't win outright.

Yet Another Anon (and nightowl): in my post I was treating all electoral reform from 1832 as one, but I don't think PR was a Chartist demand - it was annual parliaments. Just shows that some "progressive" ideas never come to pass.

You may be right that the LibDems would demand a PR referendum and, as we certainly would not grant that, your post is another reason why the Editor getting in campaigning mode about this is OTT. On your scenario, if we were the largest party by more than 2 or 3 seats we would be a minority Govt and the LibDems would support some early bills (such as abolishing ID cards which would be first up). Perhaps we could also get the Scot Nats to support us if we promised an English Parliament of all English Westminster MPs (LOL)!!

I think the Editor is right to warn us. The Lib Dems nowhere near represent what I consider to be core Conservative values on law & order (tough on the criminal), 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 Lib Dems (even with the Orange-Book free-market ones) on whether we can be a free democratic and sovereign nation! And then there is PR – surely no Conservative should have anything to do with this most undemocratic system that gives minority parties a disproportionate amount of power over parties that have a much clearer mandate.

Opposition to ID cards is welcome, as they are another example of left-wing authoritarianism which represses the law-abiding and those who do what is right. But opposing extensions to the time which the police are allowed to question terrorist suspects must for no good reason make it easier for Labour to accuse us of being soft on terrorism and crime. Or maybe this is another example of slanting towards LibDemery (as is distancing of foreign policy from America) with the aim of preparing the way for a coalition with the Lib Dems.

Anyhow, why not aim to get far enough ahead to be able to form a majority government! But that would mean winning back our core vote from UKIP and Stay At Home! Maybe getting rid of core supporters is all part of a strategy so that we have to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, or least the Orange Book ones, and to marginalise forever the Eurosceptic traditionalist ‘Right’.

Tories who want an anti-Iraq policy, without having to embrace the dim-libs, could always support a UKIP pact :-)

Londoner 22:22

Excellent post. Encapsulates my views completely.

I also think Tim does an excellent job with Conhome, but I also think the tone of some of the editoral lines could do with being more balanced too.

As a party which is possibly heading for government in the next 2-3 years, we don't want to give the impression the rank & file are distrusting and suspicious of the leaderships motives - the media will feast on it!

We live in fluid times and all matters are worthy of consideration including PR and forms of coalition. Another period of socialist government could not be 'better than a coalition with the LibDems'. Do not underate the potential strength of the NF and such other hard right parties as might come on the scene. Many people fail to be honest with opinion polls rather than admit to support or potential support of parties that are considered politically incorrect. If the number of people who have told me that they intend to vote NF next time reflects in the national result that vote will be bigger than many of us presently suspect. Suggestions of dumping a leader and drafting another are not productive at any stage of play. Back-stabbing comments about prominent members of the party are also unhelpful. There are a lot of disaffected pro-European former supporters out there and we must not antagonise them for no reason. I am a right wing pro-European who was always against the stupid involvement in Iraq and above all wants to see a reduction of controls, quangos and taxes. I am very sceptical on so-called global warming and think that it is largely a socialistic excuse to soak us with more taxes to little effect. I do like the idea of ID cards and think that they would be of great benefit as long as introduced in a less expensive manner. I think that we need far more control over our national affairs and should pull out of the so-called 'Human Rights' nonsense and any treaty obligations to accepting so-called asylum seekers. I was a Tory and wonder why the party has shot off to the left away from me?

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker