Friday, 14 May 2010

Not forecasting the coalition

I recently re-read a remarkably prescient article from February claiming the Liberal Democrats would not enter a coalition with the Tories.

It gets exactly right the entire set of conditions the Lib Dems would demand for a coalition. The only error - thinking that the Tories would say no.

The key reason that the authors think a coalition could not work?
Clegg is opposed to forming a coalition because aides and senior MPs argue it would be highly dangerous for the Liberal Democrats to become minority partners in a coalition government on the grounds that the majority party could manipulate the timing of the next election to suit it. The Lib Dems have long campaigned for fixed terms at Westminster to deprive the prime minister of the initiative on election timing.
And so we ought to look quite carefully at the 55% threshold for dissolution of Parliament, and instead of assuming it's a Conservative attempt to entrench power, think about the Lib Dems' motivations. In politics, as in economics - and murder mysteries - the key question is often: cui bono?

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