08 May 2010

Why a Labour-LibDem alliance wouldn't work

Look, it's basically a matter of arithmetic. Labour's 258 seats and the LibDems' 57 only add up to 315, a bit short of the 326 required to command a majority. Even allowing for the absence from Westminster of the four Sinn Fein MPs, it's still on the short side. And they cannot really count on the SNP and Plaid.

Furthermore, neither the LibDems nor Labour will be short of bolshie backbenchers. If you think that all the Labour MPs want to vote for proportional representation, think again. And once the public sector unions unleash the walkouts and the strikes, expect the leftwingers in the party to start kicking up a fuss.

After all, why would the LibDems want to ally themselves with a party that lost 90 odd seats in the election? Propping up a tired and diminished Prime Minister?

So what should Nick do? I still reckon that his best bet is to allow the Tories to form a minority administration. If he can get something worthwhile in return, he could promise to consider abstaining on the Queen's speech and on the Budget. That way, he could get the credit for behaving responsibly and avoid the ignominy attached to the proposed backroom deals. Another general election is bound to come along sooner rather than later.

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