« | Home | »

Yards of Speculation

Tags:

As far as I can tell, there’s very little actual news at all in the papers today. Yards of speculation and comment, but hardly any actual news.

The only thing I can find is a Sunday Times report that the Lib Dems and Tories are discussing a ‘preferendum’, to set a menu of options for electoral reform before voters. This would happen during the next Parliament, as a precursor to a referendum on whichever specific reform the voters chose:

Tory sources insisted their proposal was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the Lib Dems. Under the detailed plans, expected to be tabled today, the new committee would be ordered to issue its conclusions well before the end of the parliament. The Tories believe this would allay Lib Dem fears that PR would be kicked into the long grass.

The Lib Dems would have a say in the membership of the committee and its exact terms of reference. These details would be determined in advance as part of the coalition negotiations, according to Tory sources.

The most important concession, however, is that after the committee’s final report, a menu of options could be put before the people in what Tories are calling a ‘preferendum’.

Voters would be asked to choose between the preferred Tory ideas such as reducing the number of MPs and equalising constituency sizes alongside the Lib Dems’ PR proposals.

In any such vote, the parties would be free to campaign against each other, even though they might be coalition partners in government.

In my view, Clegg and the Lib Dems would be crazy to agree to something as nebulous as that, in return for being associated with policies so unpopular they risk electoral oblivion for a generation; but perhaps they would be even crazier not to pretend to consider it. I expect we’ll know more by the end of the day.

Market chaos, whenever it kicks off – which could easily be first thing tomorrow – may play well for Cameron, by heightening a sense of urgency and emergency. In fact exploiting that might be his medium-term plan. Bodged arrangement to get through Queen’s speech and first few months; steadily souring markets, bonds under pressure, stocks in freefall, sterling down toilet; package of serious cuts announced, and Lib Dems cornered to either pass it or trigger election; beardies can’t swallow it, election called; Cameron goes to the country and we have the election campaign we should have had this time, with detailed arguments about spending cuts, but this time with a Tory incumbent depicting himself as a man of destiny, the only party leader able to face unpleasant economic truths.

Comments on “Yards of Speculation”

  1. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Voters would be asked to choose between the preferred Tory ideas such as abolishing elections altogether.

    Cameron goes to the country and we have the election campaign we should have had this time, with detailed arguments about spending cuts, but this time with a Tory incumbent depicting himself as a man of destiny, the only party leader able to face unpleasant economic truths.
    Wait a minute, what happened to Mervyn King’s prediction that the next incumbent would get all the blame for the economy and be out of office for the rest of my lifetime? I was looking forward to that.

  2. Paul Taylor says:

    One paper had a report containing a fact that stuck in my mind: 27% of Tory MPs have worked in finance. In a Lib-Con coalition there would be more bankers than Lib-Dems.

  3. marshmallow says:

    Vince Cable’s ‘Perfect Snooker’ metaphor is the best post-election comment so far.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • mideastzebra on Swedish-Israeli Tensions: Avigdor Liberman was not foreign minister November 2015.
    • lars hakanson on Exit Cameron: Europe will for good reason rejoice when the UK elects to leave. The country has over the years provided nothing but obstacles to European integration...
    • Michael Schuller on Immigration Scandals: The Home Office is keen to be seen to be acting tough on immigration, although I'm not sure that the wider project has anything to do with real number...
    • Geoff Roberts on What happened in Cologne?: The most surprising thing about the events in Cologne (and the most disturbing) is that some 600 incidents of theft, harrasment and rape were reported...
    • EmilyEmily on What happened in Cologne?: The author's argument is straightforward: Sexual violence is one beast; fears about migrants is another - let's not confuse the two. Alfalfa's poin...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement