Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Where do we stand?
What a fickle lot voters are. Pollster after pollster will record how much voters hate political parties bickering with each other. The cry is “they should work together in the national interest.”
Yet, if you look at the poll ratings of the Liberal Democrats they’re been seriously punished for going into a coalition with the Cameron’s conservatives.
Despite Labour having a 10% lead in the polls at the moment, leads tend to narrow in election campaigns. So there is no certainty that any party will emerge with an overall majority.
Another hung parliament is a quite plausible outcome.
It’s not just mischief-making that Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have been up to in texting Vince Cable. They may need him to deliver his colleagues come the election. Provided, of course, they have enough MPs left to make a deal.
What may be an exception in Westminster does tend to be the norm in Wales. Majorities are as rare as a win for the Wales football team.
Both the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have been junior partners in a coalition government. Neither gained electoral support for their period in office.
Why? Well, both parties place themselves as left of centre parties. Both provide the voter with a respectable alternative to Labour at times when Labour are unpopular. What happens when Labour are on a high? The voters move back again to their original political home.
When a leftist party ties itself to a right wing party you don’t have to be Mystic Meg to predict it will all end in tears.
So what are the lessons for our smaller parties. Be very careful where you place yourself on the political spectrum.
With the Liberal Democrats having paraded their left wing credentials at the last election and then moved to the right whilst in government. They can hardly move back to where they were and retain any political credibility.
Nick Clegg made that quite clear in his speech to conference. "The choice between the party we were and the party we are becoming is a false one. The past is gone and is not coming back" .
But ironically it’s in the past the party has to go to find an unique place in the political spectrum. They’ve got to ditch the democrats and become a Liberal party again.Yes, the radical party of Lloyd George. Challenging the conservatism of both left and right. A party of civil liberties and of real home rule.
Unless it rediscovers its pass, it ain’t got a future.