Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Rainbow Coalition...

... is about as real as the pot of gold at the foot of it.

Why?

Because Labour and LibDems do not have a majority.

"Ah!" you cry. "But with the SNP and Plaid Cymru and all those other fringe parties, the Lib-Lab pact would have a majority of 14."

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. [Emphasis mine.]
For such a government to have a majority it have to obtain at least the acquiescence of the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Both parties, however, as a matter of principle do not vote on English matters. This means that (assuming they can rely on the support of the DUP) the Conservatives would be able to defeat any measure brought forward by a putative anti-Tory coalition that applied only to England. On the other hand, even with a minority of seats in the UK as a whole the Conservatives would be able to rule England. This fact has been rather overlooked amid all the talk of deals and Parliamentary arithmetic, but it is really quite basic and obvious.

This means that it would be nearly impossible for the Lib-Lab coalition to get a majority at all, and almost impossible on devolved matters such as education, health, criminal justice, and more.

I just thought that was worth pointing out.

6 comments:

Edward said...

I don't think you can count on any parties doing anything as a matter of principle, anymore.

Ioan said...

With the Speaker, Deputies, Sinn Fein, Plaid and the SNP not voting, you only need 317 for a Majority (I think!).

So, Lab (258) + Lib (57) + Green (1) + Alliance (1) + Sylvia Hermon (1) = 318 = a majority!

I just thought that was worth pointing out.

Anonymous said...

"For example, Labour might self-destruct in opposition,"

Look how they behaved in Government for heaven's sake. Mark my words, in six months they will barely exist. You read it here-


Rech

Smidgeon said...

>Mark my words, in six months they will barely exist.

I hope you're right, which is why I was glad to see Balls hold his seat. That's bad news for Labour if he brings about civil war.

But I suspect the idea that they'll tear themselves apart is wishful thinking. Labour have always been good at internal discipline, and they keep surviving when by all rights they should be dead.

Also, they have finally got rid of the one thing that was dragging them down like a concrete overcoat, Gordon Brown. If they elect someone presentable and centrist like David Millband then they'll look a lot more attractive to the public. I agree he's no Blair, but he's no Gordon either. (Electing Balls, Harman or Straw, etc. will be a disaster).

>Look how they behaved in Government for heaven's sake.

In government they managed to stay united despite the bitter divisions within the party and they won three elections in a row despite basically ravaging the country (and they were uncomfortably close to winning what should have been an impossible election).

And that was in an intense pressure-cooker environment where the full glare of the media was on them all the time. That's horribly impressive. Maybe when the pressure is off they'll finally go to pieces, but like I said, they've always been good at discipline.

So let's hope they go leftwards and elect a loon, because then they'll never get back in. But if they go the Blairite route and pick up disgruntled LibDem voters then they're a chance again.

But I do suspect that they have no-one left who has the charisma and skill that Blair had -- and that's perhaps their biggest weakness. It's clear now how much New Labour depended on Blair. Once he went, it was all downhill, and they stopped looking cuddly and started looking nasty.

But the question remains -- what will happen to the disgruntled lefty LidDem voters?

Richard said...

Ioan is right; you only need 317 for a majority on English matters, because the SNP and Plaid Cymru don't vote on devolved matters.

So 258 Labour plus 57 LibDems plus 3 SDLP (who generally vote with Labour anyway) would have made 318. Yes Labour & LibDems should each lose one to a deputy speaker, but they could probably persuade the SNP to provide a deputy speaker instead. There could also have been the Greeny and the Alliance member in reserve.

Trouble is that they'd still have needed the Welsh or Scottish nationalists for UK matters, such as taxation, criminal law and the Queen's Speech.

Anyway, all irrelevant now, thank God.

Wossat? said...

Cameron and Clegg. What a complete and utter fuck up!