I’ve resisted writing this because I don’t particularly have anything new to say, but this my personal view. It specifically does not represent Nottingham Liberal Democrats with whom I have not discussed this.
The Liberal Democrats are a substantial party in our own right, and we are not simply numbers the other parties can call on if they fall short of the finishing post. We set out our priorities in detail months before the General Election. There are many things we think are important. The Lib Dems are not looking for personal glory, ministerial cars or cabinet positions – we want to deliver our priorities to make our country fairer and better for all.
Labour have lost. They cannot govern on their own.
Labour have lost so badly, they also cannot form a workable coalition. It’s just mad to think it would be possible to lump together every MP who wasn’t a Tory and expect that to win. Labour know they need that, and still can’t manage to be courteous to other parties. And even if they lump everyone together, they could still be voted down by the Conservatives.
And with all that, it’s a bit rich for the Labour party to start talking about electoral reform after having governed for 13 years without doing anything about it. And even richer still to think that AV is proportional representation.
So I simply do not think there can be any mileage in thinking about alliance with the Labour party.
Which leaves the Conservatives.
David Cameron has said he is prepared to talk to us. But in his speech on Friday afternoon, which was the last thing I have heard from him, the concessions did not go nearly far enough to be worth anything to the Lib Dems.
In order to form a coalition, the Conservatives have to agree to substantial parts of the Lib Dem platform. I agree with Alex Wilcock when he says this:
In one line – all four of our cast-iron priorities: deal. Anything less: no deal.
Lib Dem tax cuts for low and middle earners, with increased taxes on the rich to pay for them.
Breaking up the banks and a green economy.
Solid money to support poorer kids in schools.
Big money out of politics, elected Lords and above all STV.
If the Tories agree to that, I think we can deal.
If they don’t, I think they should try and run the country on their own. And they will have to amend each of their policies until it is acceptable to a majority of all parties in the Commons.
I do not think there is substantial appetite for another election. But the Tories cannot say “These are our policies, vote for them or not” and then blame the other parties if they are voted down. They will need to compromise – either hugely to get a coalition, or slightly less to get try and get a budget and Queen’s speech through a hung parliament.