Sunday, December 26, 2010

Conservative/Liberal Democrat Election Pact?

Talk of some sort of 2015 election pact between the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties rumble on. I had thought it completely fanciful, but the last few days nonsense following the Telegraph's deceitful sting on Lib Dem MPs has forced me to reconsider. Firstly, the comments made by Lib Dems were surprisingly mild - unless you live in some parallel universe where honey and sweetness abound. Even then the miscreants were genuinely embarrassed, Nick Clegg was genuinely cross, and almost every Conservative laughed it off as inconsequential. Its clear to me that this Coalition is here to stay, and that the boat-rockers are going to be left rocking boats in vain.

All this lovey-dovey stuff with the Lib Dems comes quite naturally to me by now. For over three years I've discouraged gratuitous attacks on Lib Dems in Montgomeryshire - not because I suffered some great conversion which involved loving one's enemies, but because it seemed to me to be the road to victory. It also the way I like to do politics. This strategy, more than anything else, led to us winning Montgomeryshire last May. And its also the strategy that has delivered to the British people a government with the numbers to restore order to the public finances. Despite my almost four years of love-bombing the Liberal Democrats, I have not heard one single expression of concern from a Conservative Party member in Montgomeryshire. We prefer quiet delivery to noisy headline chasing.

Now I'm not suggesting that a Coalition candidate should be adopted for Montgomeryshire at the next General Election. The fact that the seat has been held by the Lib-Dems for 126 of the last 130 years makes it an unreasonable expectation that they should stand aside - and we're hardly going to stand aside because we hold the seat. In addition, we have no idea what will constitute the boundaries of Montgomeryshire in 2015, if the legislation currently winding its way through the Lords takes its place on the statute book. But I can see that it could well make sense in a lot of constituencies. John Major, Peter Lilley, Nick Boles, and a senior Conservative very close to Cameron supposedly think so. So do I - but I must add that this is an entirely personal observation, which may or may not be shared by anyone else.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would be tough to see how you could be knocking seven bells out of each other when both defending the same record over the previous 5 years!

I can't see a formal agreement not to stand candidates, but I can see CCO and Cowley St colluding with each other to ensure that the best placed party gets a fairly clear run against Labour in the key marginals. This is clearly already happening in Oldham East & Saddleworth, no?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - All fair comment I'd say.

Líam said...

I am a card carrying LibDem, for reference Glyn :)

I am utterly against a Coalition 'coupon' election. The disquiet amongst the electorate with "all parties being the same" is bad enough on the doorstep without these sorts of back-scratching deals. There have been elections here in Preston where one party has been unable to stand because of lack of candidates - our opponents jumped on it as "proof" of dodgy deals and dozens of ballot papers were spotted with the missing paper scrawled across in protest.

It may sound good in Westminster to discuss around tables the idea of 2015 being a "coupon" election. Out in the country at large, it would restrict democratic debate, reduce choice, and put a clothes peg on the mouths of both Tory and LibDem activists. What boost it would give Labour in some marginals doesn't bare thinking about!

I am pro-Coalition, and very much proud of being a LibDem (just renewed my membership). But to campaign with my political enemies in an electoral stitch-up? Just cannot do it...

Glyn Davies said...

Liam - I suspect that you are right, and that I was just playing a game of Westminster speculation from my perspective. But in this parliament anything's possible. In passing I should add that the Lib Dems have always previously been my opponents rather than my enemies - though I suppose 'political enemies' is ok.

Anonymous said...

Surely Mont Lib Dems won't put up the embarrassing Lembit Grope-it again?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I do not know whether the Montgomeryshire Lib dems will select Lembit to contest the next General Election. I'd heard that they intended to select early - but after the Assembly election next May. Lembit continues to attract great publicity, which I have not sought since I've been elected - preferring to get my head down and concentrate on getting a grip on the job. The local weekly continues to invite him to write a weekly column (I get an invite every six weeks) so it looks as if he wants another go. I wish him well in whatever he chooses, except of course that if he is the candidate, I'll have to try and do the double over him.

Anonymous said...

The idot that is Opik might well write a weekly column for the County Lies, but no way are te Lib Dums that dumb. They won't commit political suicide twice in a row!