Is it feasible to think that Kennedy and Clarke/Davis could do a deal?
With the party conference season due to open at the weekend in Blackpool the Lib Dem Campaign Chairman, Tim Razzell, has poured cold water on suggestions that the party could consider a deal with the Tories if the next General Election produced an inconclusive result. He was quoted by the BBC as saying he found it “almost impossible to believe” the Lib Dems could do a deal with a Conservative Party led by any of the candidates announced so far.
His words were in sharp contrast to those of the party Treasury spokesman, Vincent Cable, in a pamphlet for the think-tank Demos that has just been published in which he made the case that even if the Tories recovered they would probably not be able to take enough seats from Labour alone.
He wrote “It may now be too late for a party of the right – squeezed between ‘cultural conservative’ and ‘libertarian’ forces – to re-emerge as an undisputed voice of opposition…If the pendulum swings, it may swing to a combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and, thus, to a period of minority government or coalition, in some form.”
The main political event of the weekend will be the outcome of the German General election and the moves to create some form of coalition in Berlin will provide an extraordinary backcloth for the Lib Dem gathering. If German political factions of all sorts can come together then can the Lib Dems rule out anything that might happen in a post-election period?
If Charles Kennedy remains as Lib Dem leader it is hard to see him working with the Tories in a way that it is possible to envisage with someone like Vince Cable
All this seems a long way off and a lot will happen in the next year or so. Within what might be only a matter of few months the whole political scene could be transformed as, first, the Tories choose their new leader and then the direction of Labour could change if Tony Blair does as he says he will and steps down.
Those punters prepared to risk their money this far before the next general election certainly seem to believe that a hung parliament is on the cards. The latest spreads from Spreadfair are LAB 312.5-316 seats: CON 239-245: LD 59-62.