My guess is that the government will hold until 2015, but the Lib-Dems at some point in the next few years will split with a lot of the SDP liberals heading back to Labour and the genuine liberals and orange bookers (right wing Lib-Dems like Clegg and Laws) remaining with the Conservatives to the bitter end.
There will likely be a split, but I don't think there'll be any defections to Labour. I can see the Orange-Bookers formally switching to the Tory Party prior to the next election, if only to save their sorry asses. This may allow the more centrist factions of the Lib Dems to go back to the kind of party their manifesto pledged.
They're going to be wiped out anyway at the next election - just a case of when and with how much of their pride and integrity they manage to keep intact, to load into the cardboard box alongside their House of Commons stationary, as they begin a life after politics
That is a rash assumption Saint - a lot depends upon what happens to the economy in the interim and how things are perceived in 2015. Plus there is every possibility Labour will screw up royally in the meantime - we can always hope.
Jeez .........and there's another 4+ years till the next General Fiasco
Yep the polls are of irrelevance at this stage.
It's interesting to see how the Lib share of the vote has all but evaporated since their power sharing adventure started.
Were their policies so much more left that their supporters have now deserted them for crossing the divide? Were their policies on the right side of the political equation, but a coalition with the Tories unthinkable?
What would their share of the vote look like now had they been part of a Labour led coalition Government ?
It strikes me that the dillusional euphoria of the pre-election hustings, the opinion poll standings at that time and the dreams of their supporters that the Libs could actually form a Government themselves, has worked against them.
Whatever juggling you try to divise a system to make the voting system more representative of the voters wishes, the Libs will always be periphal in a two party system.
That is the point. If the LDs had stood aside after the election in grand isolation as a pure opposition party, one could argue that a vote for the LDs was indeed pointless, since they were just a protest party. Now they are showing they are much more than that, those of their supporters who don't like the difficult decisions which have to be made in actual government, have deserted them. Many to Labour no doubt, but no doubt they will desert Labour too, once it shows it has the mettle to handle actual government, rather than simply being a repository for those voters who don't like having to make actual decisions about things which matter.
But that ignores 2 basic issues, MM.
a) in holding the balance of power in a hung parliament they could have wielded greater power and still shown an ability to think of "the good of the nation"
b) they are not showing "the mettle to handle governement" in any proper sense. THey are simply the front to TOry policies, kept out of al of the big jobs, and unable to get any serious inclusion of their own policies. That's not governing, it's allowing oneself to be used by the main government party.
I think that's a fair comment.
Jon's argument about the LDs being peripheral under the current electoral system beggars belief . How much more power do you want a minority party to wield ?
The truth is that the LDs have disappointed their core supporters who are generally left of centre. They did so voluntarily and willingly in order to sip at the altar of coalition politics - the nirvana they have sought for so long. There is a certain poetry in that their choice of the Tories are their governing partner is likely to seriously damage their electoral prospects if not split the party in two.
Given that most of them would themselves out of a job on current polling, thats not going to happen. There will be splits and defections and all manor of disasters befalling the Lib-Dems in the next four and half years, but the one thing that won't happen, IMO, is an early disolution. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
Not at all that a fptp system effetively locks in a two party system and denies voters the opportunity of voting as they wish and more often or not for the least bad of the two?
The vibe I'm picking up is that the supposedly endangered native Highland Lib Dems don't have much to worry about from potentially invasive Labour pond life after their Scottish conference last week! Obviously a lot can happen in over 4 years of Politics (a week and all that...) but at the moment I'd expect Charles Kennedy, Lord Thurso and for that matter Danny Alexandar to hold their seats. The electoral dynamics are much more complex for Danny Alexander in what has been a 4 way marginal, and the exact fate of the the Moray RAF bases and the perceived consequences for the wider North of Scotland will undoubtedly be a factor. That said, I'd expect the Tory vote to swing Lib Dem in tactical voting (the few Tories I can find in this part of the world certainly intend to vote for him), while the anti-tory tactical voting splits between Labour and the SNP, but there will undoubtedly be an anti-labour tactical vote element here that will in part waver between Lib Dem and SNP, but is more likely to swing behind the incumbent. In a way I hope the government lasts it's full term, it will be fascinating to have the Westminster and Holyrood elections on the same day in 2015 and see how the dynamics of that situation playout.
That is the point I have been trying to make. At the moment, the LDs are between a rock and a hard place - serves them right for trying to position themselves to the left of Labour for so long. They should have maintained a centrist stance and waited for Labour to revert to type instead.
Now, they have lost the leftie protest voters who flocked to them in disillusionment over Labour in government. These same voters have switched back to Labour, since they have nowhere else to go. What they need is their own hard leftie party - a left wing alternative to UKIP if you like.
The problem with Coalition Government (as we now see) is that voters may be able to vote for any manifesto they wish, but it doesn't get implemented. The current situation has reinforced my support for FPTP - at least a majority, single party government can try to implement the programme it was elected on.
A lot (a majority?) of the rise in Lib Dem support over the past 2 elections came from traditional supporters of Labour, who became disillussioned with the policies of NuLabour and saw the Lib Dems as having policies more in keeping with their principles. Look at the places where Lib Dem vote share grew and it's predominantly in places where Labour are/were strong.
Whilst I never viewed the Lib Dems as any sort of leftist party, they did have some policies that could be described as generally redistributive (ie taking more money off the wealthy and less off the less wealthy) and this struck a chord with many toward the left who saw NuLabour as a Tory-Lite party.
The 2010 Lib Dem manifesto contained such policies as closing the Capital Gains Tax loophole, a 'Mansion Tax', scrapping higher rate tax relief on pension contributions, and blitzing 'non dom' parasites with much higher tax bills. These four policies made me seriously consider voting Lib Dem last election - indeed, I only changed my mind once actually stood there with ballot paper in my hand (I'm so glad I did!).
So let's look at these policy pledges now. The mansion tax has been binned totally. CGT has been amended slightly, but nowhere near to bringing it in line with income tax rates. The changes to pension relief are even less cutting than NuLabour's proposals were. There is some vague promise to 'review' how non-doms are taxed (to be fair, Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott is one of the biggest critics of the non-dom tax dodge, but I fear he'll be twarted by vested interests)
Meanwhile, whilst allowing their plans to target tax-increases at the wealthy to be jettisoned, the Lib Dems have given their support to the Tory policies to hack at the public sector and the welfare budget.
Whilst I'm sure that the majority of long-standing Lib Dem supporters will stay with them, those from the left who saw them as an alternative to NuLabour will scurry away.
It's worth remembering that through the late 80's and 90's, the Lib Dems were the chosen refuge of centrist Tories who were disillusioned with the path the Tory Party was taking. I recall the Lib Dems winning several Tory seats in by-elections, overturning chunky majorities in some. At the time, they sat between the Tories and Labour on the political spectrum. As they moved to the left, their support in the south and south east ebbed away somewhat, but was more than tempered with the gains further north from disaffected Labour voters. It will interesting to see how the party positions itself as the next few years role on. What the hell will their manifesto look like for 2014/15??? If they follow the path their leadership has taken in adopting and supporting largely right-wing Tory Party policy, the the irony could be that they tempt back some voters who waiver between Tory and Lib Dem support. If they try to move back to the left, they may find far less rich pickings as not only will people toward the left simply not trust them after their shenanigans with the Tory Party, but people on the left may be more prepared to give Milliband a go.
Edited by user 05 November 2010 11:27:50(UTC)
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Not a chance of the Government losing a confidence vote. But you are right that the economy is key to its survival and progress.
Con 39% Lab 41% Lib-Dem 10% Con Lead -2
Statistical tie of course. 40/40/10 seems to be solid for YouGov for the time being. ICM always seem to give higher ratings for the Lib Dems.
(BTW, shouldn't you say Lab Lead +2)?
It is only absolute and craven ignorance which is giving Labour its current poll position. Labour currently has no policies for dealing with our fiscal catastrophe:
Oh, give over MM! Dave and his crew had no policies for years when they were well up in the polls. I didn't see such posts from you then. It's called the luxury of being in opposition.