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.