miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The guardian website/tomorrow's print observer has a somewhat hysterical article about how we could face long coalition negotiations after the election. I'm not going to pick holes in their prediction for the most likely outcome of the election, although it doesn't chime with mine*, I'm just going to pick out one paragraph to pick holes in:
While the Lib Dem rule book gives the party’s MPs the main say on whether to approve a new coalition, there will be a special conference of senior party officials that will vote on the deal. Although the decision of the conference is not binding, according to the rules, senior figures say if the conference votes the deal down, Clegg will have to accept defeat.
To take the wrong bits in order:

1, "While the Lib Dem rule book gives the party’s MPs the main say on whether to approve a new coalition" - errr, no. Caron wrote a very good article about this a week ago. The MPs get the first vote after the negotiating team has negotiated in consultation with the reference group. The MAIN say, the decision as to whether it goes ahead or not, is taken by special conference.

2, "there will be a special conference of senior party officials that will vote on the deal" - voting reps are not in the sense of the words most people will understand "senior party officials" - not unless you think the vast majority of the active membership are senior. There's THOUSANDS of us. Most local parties don't even fill their quota of voting reps because there aren't enough people who want to go vote on things at conferences, and the only reason special conference is not one member one vote is the almighty cock up FE made of trying to introduce OMOV at Glasgow.

3, "Although the decision of the conference is not binding, according to the rules" - yes it is. This is just a plain factual error. It wasn't binding in 2010, but we changed the rules in 2012.

4, "senior figures say if the conference votes the deal down, Clegg will have to accept defeat." - well yes he will, because the decision is binding. And not only is the decision binding but to agree to a coalition (OR confidence and supply) special conference has to vote in favour by a 2/3 majority or more.

It really is going to be quite difficult to persuade 2/3 of lib dem members to vote in favour of ANY coalition deal with ANY party after the amount of stuff that was in the agreement this time around that the tories reneged on. We voted in favour of an agreement which gave us a good chance of electoral reform and supposedly guaranteed lords reform; neither of those things happened. Without cast iron guarantees of those things, and no shilly-shallying about referendums or anything, there's no way on earth you'd get a bare majority, never mind a 2/3 majority.

Similarly, the idea that any coalition involving UKIP or the DUP would get a 2/3 majority of members voting for it is just laughable in the extreme. I'd be amazed if you could herd the cats long enough to get a 2/3 majority for either of the Labservative parties on their own, to be honest.

I'm reasonably certain that this is why our Cleggy is drawing so many red lines this time around, by the way. He knows he'll not get an agreement past special conference, so he's scuppering it before it gets to that point, then he can spread his hands wide and say "well we TRIED to form a stable coalition but the other parties just wouldn't budge enough".



* I still say we're going to get a minority Labour government that'll collapse in acrimony and infighting within 6 months, and then we'll get another election.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
Oh, I think they have to crowbar Cameron out of no.10 first. That'll take weeks, if not months, and when he finally does go he won't go gracefully. But now that Miliband has so firmly identified himself with "no SNP deals", that also gives Labour long enough to ditch him and elect a leader with a mandate to deal with the SNP. And if such a coalition were presented as "repairing the Union, preparing for Scottish home rule", it might even be accepted, and succeed.
Edited Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 11:11 am (UTC)
daweaver:   (Default)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
As unalterable comments in someone else's blog are my witness, here's how it's certain to turn out...

Friday: Conservatives emerge as the largest party in seats and votes, and in the range where Lib Dem abstentions will get the Loyal Address through. Negotiations with the LD go nowhere, as explained above.

3 June: Though a policy to abstain doesn't require approval by LD conference, that lack of binding resolution allows some rebellion. Cameron loses vote on the Loyal Address, resigns. Ed Miliband becomes PM, gets his Loyal Address through the Commons.

March 2016: After nine months of Labour being destroyed by its own internal contradictions, the SNP propose and win a no confidence vote.

5 May 2016: Fresh elections to Westminster coincide with those to Holyrood and the other devolved assemblies.

7 May 2016: Boris Johnson ends his term as Mayor of London. He's already into his second day as prime minister.

Don't have nightmares.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 11:31 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I'm not seeing what the SNP gain from a no-confidence vote.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 11:45 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I'm not seeing what they would expect to get out of that.

They're not going to get more seats than they currently are projected for. So what do people think they're going to gain?

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 11:51 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Kill off in what way? They can't permanently kill the Labour party in Scotland while it's a major party elsewhere in the UK. And frankly they're going to be seen negatively by their core vote if they bring down a Labour government and risk letting in a Conservative one.

So not worth it for them, for a one-year extension on the five years of seats they'll have won.

Much, much better to keep the power they have, and use it to edge small gains out of the government from every vote.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:02 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Are we also going to hold the Lib-Dems responsible for letting Thatcher in?

Or are the actions of a bunch of politicians who are now no longer politicians not going to be held against them 36 years later?

(And following the introduction of the threshold amendment into the referendum by a Labour MP, which then caused it to fail, I'm really not surprised they voted with the Liberals to bring down the government. I'd have been furious too.)

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:11 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I agree that there's uncertainty.

But I'd like to see a good reason why the SNP would no-confidence the government after a year, rather than taking it as read that they like chaos.

(Any more than I'd accept people saying that the Lib Dems would bring down a Labour government, because they love the Conservatives.)

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:21 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Oh, I can see us (and the SNP) bringing down the government if they think they're awful and not doing anything useful/positive.

But I can't see what they'd gain from it, unless Labour were actively acting worse than we think the Conservatives would.

(Which is where I started from.)

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
How arseholey would Labour have to BE to elicit that response, given the last five years?

ed: though I think we're all onside about the prospect of Prime Minister Johnson... *screams*
Edited Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:23 pm (UTC)

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 06:30 am (UTC)
ggreig: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ggreig
The situation was very different in 1979, with a parliament that only had (IIRC) six months to run anyway.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (Default)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
Here's my thinking: The SNP want independence for Scotland. The SNP benefit when they can show that the UK arrangements don't work for Scotland.

Labour wants to be a party of England, Wales, and Scotland; they want to show that the UK arrangements do work for Scotland.

The only way the SNP can achieve independence is by another referendum vote. The only way to get that vote is with an outright majority at Holyrood, either SNP alone or with the Scottish Green Party. Everything the SNP does is predicated on retaining that overall majority, giving them the option to revive the independence process in the next Scottish Parliament session.

To have significant power at Westminster undermines the SNP's separatist position, it demonstrates that the union can work for Scotland. Worse, it means they cannot blame all the ills of the world on the evil English.

So, get rid of the Conservatives in the short term. Bring about a Labour government that is travelling in the same direction as the SNP. Then find some sort of profound disagreement. Paint Labour as the bad guys, paint them into a corner, help the left-wing bring down Miliband. Keep the pro-independence 45% on side.

Yes, this is a woolly analysis. It assumes Sturgeon and Salmond treat Westminster as a pawn in the battle for Holyrood, and I'm not convinced they're that cynical.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
"Then find some sort of profound disagreement. Paint Labour as the bad guys, paint them into a corner, help the left-wing bring down Miliband. Keep the pro-independence 45% on side."

If they can do that - then it would be in their favour. But it requires Labour to fuck up - and for the SNP to not be blamed for walking away and letting a Conservative government in. That's going to be incredibly risky.

But then, if they can get more powers for Scotland from deals with Labour then that's a less risky approach to moving in the right direction. And they can do that by pressing for a more federal solution, particularly if the Lib-Dems are doing likewise. And that gets them a bunch of what they want, for a lot less risk.

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 06:36 am (UTC)
ggreig: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ggreig
Even on the most cynical interpretation, the SNP need to look responsible in order to convince people that independence can safely be voted for; so they have to be seen to make a genuine effort to make things work. While they may play hard ball in negotiations, they won't be as keen to bring down a government as people furth of Scotland seem to think.

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I think I've found the SNP plan:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-snp-would-vote-down-a-labour-budget-says-nicola-sturgeon-10223160.html

Wait for Labour to put up a budget that's not left-wing enough. Vote it down. Labour either moves to the left (cue explosions in Englandshire) or has to use Conservative votes to get it through (cue riots in Scotland, and nobody ever voting Labout ever again).

Repeat for other bills.

On the plus side:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-snp-would-vote-down-a-labour-budget-says-nicola-sturgeon-10223160.html

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:41 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
The right wing press will explode. The actual people of England, though, might be rather relieved. Might even start voting Labour again, if there's a sign of Labour not actually throwing its (former) core vote under a bus at every available opportunity.

Besides, if Labour can get statutory press regulation going, the right wing press might find itself handily neutered in time for the next election. That's why they're making so much fuss for this one, of course.

(ed. also, I really doubt the SNP plan is going to be that simple/unsubtle. I suspect that was a shot across Labour's boughs, and that actually there will be intense back channel discussions with the SNP to see exactly what they would or wouldn't vote against in a Labour budget.)
Edited Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:44 am (UTC)

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:45 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I really hope so!

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
What makes you think Ed Miliband will still be Labour's leader on 3 June?

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (Default)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
Why would he not be? It's not clear that Cameron has a majority, and (in this hypothetical) it won't be clear until he puts the Loyal Address to the vote.

In those circumstances, I expect Miliband would hold his position until there was clarity. Whoever loses the Loyal Address vote is toast.

Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
Well, as I've said elsewhere, I'm getting an odd sense that Miliband is laying the groundwork to resign on May 8 if he doesn't lead the largest party. I can't quite put my finger on what makes me think that, but I do.

ed: But if I'm wrong, then no, I don't think Labour will force his resignation. Unlike the Tories, who will fall upon Cameron like starved hyenas as soon as he's out of no.10.
Edited Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)

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