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Monday, 10 May 2010

Who’s Next?

So Pa Broon is going – although not just yet. Consider the maths: Labour and the Lib Dems together gives 315 MPs. The three SDLP members would take the Labour whip, and the Alliance have ties with the Lib Dems, so that gives 319. They would still not have a majority – which, given that Sinn Féin’s five representatives would not be expected to take up their seats, would be 323.

But the idea that either of Plaid Cymru or the SNP going through the lobbies with the Tories to defeat such a coalition is a long shot: the best that the Tories could hope for is the eight DUP MPs, giving them 315, assuming they retain Thirsk and Malton, which they should. So a “progressive” coalition is possible, if only just.

But then what happens to Young Dave? He’s not managed to get the Tories over the win line, despite all the money thrown at the campaign, the fawning press coverage and an army of new party members. Some in the Tory Party are starting to grumble about his leadership, and the rule from the centre by a small clique.

Ah well. Cameron may not be the problem: anyone complaining about the manner of his leadership should bear in mind that he consistently polled well ahead of the wider party. The idea of pushing Cameron forward while keeping some of the potentially less appealing Tories in the background has probably increased their vote – not held it back.

But if a Government is formed, and the Tories are not part of it, the recriminations will follow in the sure manner of night following day. The days when Sailor Heath could lose an election, as he did in 1966, and be allowed to carry on and win the next one are long gone. That process of “one election and out” was effectively defined by William ‘Ague after his trouncing by Tony Blair in 2001, and has continued since (with Ian Duncan Smith not even getting to contest an election).

It would be an appallingly backward step for the Tories to ditch Cameron. But there are enough in the party who dislike him, and are daft enough, to move against their leader. If that happens, Pa Broon will finally have something so smile about.

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