Most of you know this already, but a few hours ago the whole UK election mess just got messier:
- Gordon Brown is resigning as Labour Party leader, and therefore Prime Minister if Labour somehow stay in power
- The Conservatives saw this and upped their offer to the Liberal Democrats, saying they'd give cabinet posts to LibDems and a UK referendum on changing to the Alternative Vote (AV) system
- The LibDems announced they are officially talking with Labour as well as the Conservatives, with Labour offering to actually implement the AV system and a further referendum on extending electoral reform further
So the LibDems are auctioning their support to the highest bidder, and now look in a much stronger position than they did even 12 hours ago when a limited Tory deal was the only thing on the cards. But now everything has consequences!
- Former Labour cabinet minister Jim Reid is among a number of Labour people saying that opposition is a far better option for Labour than a difficult coalition with the LibDems
- If LibDems do any deal with the Conservatives, many of their voters will tear up their membership cards in protest and that's before the huge backlash when they get blamed for supporting the Tories' cuts to public services
- If LibDems do a deal with Labour, many voters will be unhappy that the 2nd and 3rd parties are in government (even though it's standard practice in coalition-forming around the world, and combined they would share far more of the vote than the Conservative party). And they still won't have a majority!
- Furthermore, if Labour are still in power, the next Prime Minister will be elected inside the Labour Party - just like Gordon Brown was - AFTER an election campaign has already been fought
Personally, as both a Labour and LibDem supporter, I kind of agree with Jim Reid. This is a shit election to win. Maybe the best result would be for LibDems to sign a deal with the Tories to get the referendum, then campaign with Labour to pass it. If the country says "yes" while the Tories say "no", it's another reason to vote them out next time.
The main priority surely for the LibDems now is to ensure proportional representation gets implemented - because however bad the shitstorm is in the short term, they'll get more MPs in the future.