Is Oborne right about a pre-election LAB-LD “arrangement”
There’s a fascinating piece in the Mail today by columnist, Peter Oborne, in which he suggests that something might be going on between Brown’s government and the Lib Dems that would bring the latter more closely into a “government of national unity”.
The pretext, of course, would be the need for coming together in order to deal with the economic storm. “Unity” in this context, of course, does not extend to the Tories.
The pegs on which Oborne hangs his piece are suggestions that Labour would back Ming Campbell as commons speaker, the invitation to the Lib Dems to get briefings from the civil service ahead of the general election and, most of all, musings by Vince Cable in the Mail on Sunday last weekend about a “government of national unity”.
Oborne writes: “Throughout all my years of reporting politics I have rarely encountered such a blatant hint by a senior politician from an opposition party that he wants a job in government – and all the signs are that Gordon Brown is warming to the idea of Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a government of national unity..However, the position of Nick Clegg (Cable’s boss) is much less clear. I understand that Vince Cable’s public musings about a coalition government were emphatically not sanctioned in advance by his leader”
As Oborne points out those in favour of an “arrangement” within the Lib Dems are “on the whole, the older and more Left-leaning members of the party.”
All this is going to present a major problem for Nick Clegg because any move that would help keep Brown Central in power would be strongly resisted by some sections of the party and could drive many Lib Dem voters to the Tories.
A fortnight ago YouGov found that Lib Dem supporters split CON 34-LAB 45 on the question “If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative government led by David Cameron or a Labour government led by Gordon Brown?”.