The results are Con 306 Lab 258 Lib 57
The Lib Dem position was hinted at when Clegg, in his fatigued state, declared that… Cameron, as leader of the party with both the greatest share of the vote and the most seats in parliament, should get a crack at forming a government first. Brown seemed to agree, and Cameron then responded offering a Con-Lib coalition deal with concessions on certain issues. Clegg should not take it. If I was Lib Dem strategic mastermind, I’d say two things. Firstly, that game theory dictates that one of either Labour or the Conservatives will agree to PR reform. If the Tories don’t agree, then Clegg can offer it to Labour for a coalition deal. Or they can stay independent but be incredibly obstructive to a minority Tory government (the latter would be the better option). Labour would agree, but the Lib Dems don’t want to get into bed with Brown- this much is clear. Secondly, if Tory support for PR could be combined with a supportive but independent Lib Dems – that is, a Tory minority government with tacit Lib Dem support – then the Lib Dems will get the best of both worlds. If that happened, in an election in 6/12 months time, they’d both have PR in place, and have a case against the Tories as its unlikely the economy will improve substantially in that time.
The most important thing is not to let this opportunity to institute PR pass. More than anything in their manifesto, as I said in the last post, genuine electoral reform would transform the political landscape of this country. Cameron knows this, and will be hesitant to agree to such a deal because of it. But Clegg needs to tough it out by not running into Cameron’s open embrace and staying tough- playing the game the way it needs to be played.