Could the LD’s price be a new Labour leader?
We all like to play fantasy politics but the above outcome, based on feeding into the UK Polling report seat calculator numbers in line with some recent polls, is, surely quite plausible.
Labour to win most seats but be five points down on the national vote with less than one third of the overall votes cast. Such an outcome would hardly be a ringing endorsement but Brown, or whoever, would would still be in a strong position in terms of seats.
But what would the arch-advocates of PR – the Lib Dems do? Would they prop up the party winning most seats or, in line with their democratic principles, go with the party that won substantially more votes?
They could just sit back and take each issue as it comes – but what do they do on the first Queen’s speech? And what if Dave and Gord come bringing gifts to entice them into some form of coalition.
The challenge for Clegg is that this could be lose – lose? The party activist base would probably prefer to stop the Tories but that would alienate a sizeable chunk of supporters.
So how about my plan for Clegg? Yes to a deal with Labour but under a different leadership. The price of support would be Brown’s scalp. They could argue that the votes totals showed that Brown has lost the support of the country and it was only the quirk of the electoral system that put Labour in the position they were in.
Fantasy – yes – but if the election result follows current polling this is precisely the territory where we will be. Clegg would require a significant prize for propping up a government that had so failed with the voters and Brown, the man who hasn’t even got the the courtesy to get the Lib Dem party name right, could be the fall-guy.