Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Cabinet job for Ming?

The media is alive with the news that Menzies Campbell and Gordon Brown have held talks over the possibility of Lib Dems joining Gordon Browns new cabinet.

This confirms persistent rumours at Westminster that Labour and the Lib dems are as keen on co-operation as ever. Menzies and Gordon are compatriots of the Edinburgh law network, travel frequently on the same plane to and from their neighbouring constituencies and, by all accounts, are socially very close; so the probability of informal talks has always been accepted; but what really is new is the idea that formal talks have been happening.

This is tricky for both leaders; some in the LD's will be horrified at the implications electorally for them of this; revelations at the LD conference that they could co-operate with Labour but not with the Tories in a hung parliament were hotly contested and considered deeply damaging.

And Labour activists in seats where the Lib Dems are challengers - where they have launched their usual brand of very personal attacks on sitting Labour MP's will be hurt by the revelation that their leader has been dancing with the enemy in this way.

But the truth is there for all too see, Menzies Campbell to his credit has never denied his left-wing credentials and it is very clear indeed where he wants the Lib Dems to end up; Brown on the other hand has made it his lifelong mission to re-align British politics of the left to try and keep the Tories out of power for as long as he can.

Will it help keep Lib Dem MP's in place by squeezing the Labour vote more? Or will it galvanize floating Lib Dem voters into switching to Camerons Conservatives?

It's a tough call.


Anonymous said...

It's not a tough call at all, its the end of Mr Campbell so far as I can see.

This is a disaster for the LD's - why bother to vote for them if all they intend to do is shore up the most illiberal Government we have ever had.

Barrie Wood said...

It won't happen - Lib Dem activists would not endorse it - any 'arrangement' with Labour at Westminster. It's utter spin this story as we approach the political 'close season'.

From a PERSONAL perspective, as a centre-left Lib Dem I see Labour [traditionally] as 'competition' for the progressive vote and the Tories as something quite different.

I would endorse any NATIONAL electoral tie-up with the Tories with even greater hostility. Cameron, or not, I see no common ground and no shared values with the Tories.

That said, it is Labour and the Tories who are closer to each other than we are to either of those parties - ID cards, Freedom of Information, PFI, schools, nuclear power, council tax / local taxation / green taxes. BOTH are illiberal, despite Dave C's 'better sounding' brand of Toryism.

Locally, Labour under the 'leadership' of David Pedrick Friend are utterly laughable !

Barrie Wood said...

One further point - Marcus it is important to see politics as not only on a left / right basis, but as much on a liberal / authoritarian continuum. We cannot be easily be labellled centre-left or right because of this. I can find common ground because of a shared liberal ethos with those deemed [by the media] as being on the left or right of our party than I can with many left-leaning Greens or Labourites.

James Cotterell said...

I have written to the paper about this today, if it's true it will be the last straw.

The councillors are shambles and bring shame on the party, the MP is in Canada as I write having just come back from China at our expense and now I discover that we are supposedly doing deals with Mr Brown.

This is hopeless we are going nowhere and nobody seems to want to do anything about it.

Barrie Wood said...


It's spin nothing more.

If you want actual Lib Dem opinions try - if you want mischief making from a Tory, do take Marcus' partisan and ill-informed view.

***I wouldn't support either of the illiberal main parties***, although Labour's traditional emphasis on social justice concerns makes them more [historically] palatable than the Tories for ME.

Anyway, let's deal with fact rather than conjecture. Marcus as usual has more to say about the Lib Dems than he does his own party and their non-existent policy platform.

Barrie Wood said...

BTW, the Guardian now reports Campbell ruling out being part of Gordon Brown's cabinet.

So Marcus, the 'Mystic Meg' of Torbay politics gets it wrong again !

I look forward to him saying so via this medium !