I’m minded to contemplate the eminently imaginable but completely overlooked possibility of that monster/saviour, the grand coalition.
Let’s look at the principal plus points:
There is little or no difference between Conservative and Labour policies as evidenced by the desperate attempt to fabricate some clear water around the edges of policy. In essence both parties would do the same things in pretty much the same way and with a similar level of incompetence and self interest.
- It guarantees a 5 year parliament which would be stable.
- There would be a greater pool of people from which to choose ministers. This might make for a better executive though in the last coalition, because it was with a small party, it worked the other way with even the dummies getting important jobs.
- It metaphorically inserts a hot poker up the SNP’s bottom.
- Similarly any influence by UKIP or the Liberal Democrats and the also ran’s would be nullified in this parliament.
- The grand coalition could amend the voting system to ensure that the SNP never again could command so much influence.
- A colossal majority could drive legislation quickly but it’s not at all certain if that would be a good or a bad thing.
- More of the electorate get what they want.
- Whilst influence would be limited for UKIP that’s likely to be the case anyway and it would make for a great campaign message in 2020.
- It might, actually, work quite well, for all the wrong reasons.
- Long term damage would be done to the Labour party whilst the Conservatives would most likely get away with this. Such an arrangement could be seen as pragmatic and sensible from a rational viewpoint.
- The electorate are sidelined completely because of the massive majority.
- Some important matters may be lost in the negotiations, most significantly the EU referendum. Neither of the main party leaders wants a referendum so it does represent a great and plausible opportunity for Mr Cameron to welch on his commitment. No change there!
- Smaller parties with significant support will be sidelined even though the platform is still there to make some noise.
- The biggest by far is satisfying massive egos. Mr. Milliband, who ran over his own brother, is quite ruthless when it comes to his personal ambitions and Mr. Cameron is not far behind.
- The electorate, but then again when did they every worry about us? The tired old platitudes will be wheeled out; for the good of the country; working together; stable government etc, etc .Yawn….
- I want to be foreign secretary, chancellor, or whatever, so plenty of bickering on sharing out the important jobs.
- Of least importance will be the damage to the parties in the future. Typically prime ministerial ambitions aren’t what they were and a couple of years, maximum 5 may be all anyone will ever get.
- My guess is that during the five year parliament Mr Cameron will be Prime Minister for the first year, two years or two and a half years and Mr Milliband after that. Mr Cameron has already indicated that he’ll go sometime during the next parliament so he’s not at all bothered about party or country damage beyond that as long as he gets his place in the Lords.
- Mr Milliband will definitely get his dream without the help of the SNP and with a stable government he has an opportunity to impress, or otherwise, so it is an attractive carrot. Guaranteed power is enticing. We’ve already seen the Liberal Democrats be seduced by it. They couldn’t drop their tuition fees pledge fast enough by playing ‘If the price is right’? Any obstacle can be overcome if the rewards/bribes are sufficient.
Whilst nobody at all is talking about this I see it as a real possibility. If I were in their positions I would definitely give it a go. I can’t be sure about how much Mr Milliband wants to realise his ambition but it may be too much to consider sharing and that could be the deal breaker. It all depends, I suppose, on whether or not he is as bright as he is geeky and if he has more patience than Gordon Brown.
One thing is for sure and that is, if such a coalition can be formed politics will suddenly become uninteresting and even more detached. However, Grand coalitions can work as has been shown in Germany and as our two main parties have come kissing close in policy terms it makes quite a lot of sense if one can get over the initial abhorrence, shock and disbelief, but don’t expect either of them to admit this possibility before you’ve voted.
As for us (UKIP) we’ll continue to press for what is right and the one thing that will help would be the disenchantment of traditional Labour supporters and with the absence of a Labour alternative to the government they may well flock to UKIP in their droves.
That can only be good for UKIP in the medium and long term