Another day, another lack of a new Government, and now Corporal Clegg and his motley platoon are apparently inching towards Young Dave and his jolly good chaps. But the desperation in Tory ranks was laid bare last night when, on hearing that the Lib Dems were to hold talks with Pa Broon’s clan, William ‘Ague promised a referendum on changing the voting system to the Alternative Vote (AV) system.
This is coming from a party that is vehemently opposed to moving away from the current First Past The Post (FPTP) system of electing MPs. Why should they yield such a concession? Ah well. Put this alongside the feedback from the Lib Dem negotiating team, who reported back that they did not believe their Labour counterparts were serious about the idea of a Lib-Lab coalition.
And you get a slice of cynical manipulation that can only have come from Baron Mandelson of Indeterminate Guacamole, Big Al, and “Auguste” Balls being in close proximity to one another. Labour may be sounding as if they want to stay in power, but they also want to do some damage to their opponents, and top of their hit list is Young Dave. But, it might be argued, Cameron went to a meeting of back benchers yesterday evening and was given a rousing, cheering reception.
So he was. But so was Pa Broon when the knives were coming out for him. There is much discontent within the Parliamentary party over the way Cameron runs the Tory Party and some of the manifesto content, notably the “Big Society” idea that went down like a lead balloon with many ordinary voters. And the longer that Cameron stays out of Downing Street, the more temptation there will be for someone to wield the knife on him.
It wasn’t just my thought: over at the Guardian, Nicholas Watt has put together a post saying much the same thing. The Tories are yielding more than might be expected to the Lib Dems, because once they get Cameron into Number Ten, he’s safe. He would then be a success, no matter how much of his wish list has to be junked in order to keep the peace.
And, if it becomes a coalition, the Tories will have the Lib Dems where they want them: Cameron has the opportunity to reprise Stanley Baldwin’s actions and pull the plug on the hapless Clegg at a time of his choosing. Lib Dems know what happened in 1922, so when it happens, they can’t say they weren’t warned.[Martin Rowson summed this up in his Guardian comment cartoon yesterday]