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So who decides if Labour should enter a coalition government?

Miliband & Cable at No10The Tories, we are told, think it is “only sensible” to prepare for a possible hung parliament, and plan to ballot their MPs on any deal so they have to “dip their hands in the blood” and will be less likely to rock the boat second time round. Paul Goodman, Conservative Home Editor and ex-MP, may think the Tories “would have a responsibility to the country to strive to keep it out of Labour’s hands“, but he nevertheless argues that Tory members should have the final say (as Lib Dem members did in their party last time). This is likely to attract much Tory support. Labour members could be forgiven for thinking that they should have a say too.

Although Andrew Adonis’s riveting account of Labour’s coalition negotiations, 5 Days in May, makes it clear that the Orange bookers never wanted a deal with Labour anyway, the outspoken opposition of a number of Labour MPs was highlighted by a number of Lib Dems as their excuse. These were a mixed bunch including Blairites who’d been none too keen on Brown either — David Blunkett for whom they were a local enemy on Sheffield council, and John Reid who the Guardian politely describes as “not a natural pluralist” — as well as Brown loyalists Straw and Burnham. Phil Woolas said rather pompously that “We have not got a moral mandate to govern” (although that was before we all discovered that he personally didn’t have a moral mandate of any sort).

Nevertheless, it was clear that there was significant opposition to a coalition in 2010 and Ed Miliband may well be keen to find a way of seeing it off if the circumstances (as he sees it) so demand. The most we would have got last time would have been a PLP vote (with the payroll vote being whipped) and a debate at the NEC. That’s really not good enough!

It’s bad enough having a policy programme foisted on us from within the Labour Party. We don’t want one foisted on us by those from outside who broke their key promises in 2010.

 

8 Comments

  1. Michael Bater says:

    However if the Nu Labour mantra of ‘anything but a Tory government’ was used, ie it would be better if Labour were in a coalition with the Lib-Dems, than the Tories being in with the Orange Bookers, I recon a lot of the party membership would vote for it!

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Michael Bater may be right. But the key issue isn’t whether some abstract notion of coalition is right or wrong but whether the party is prepared to back its programme.

  2. Rob the cripple says:

    Dear god if I was a Liberal after the insults coming from the Labour party and then they asked me to go into a coalition I would have camped out side the Tories front door as the Liberals did.

    Labour tried to play a game and they lost it badly, you would never have expected the Liberals to have gone with Labour unless labour had a really good offer, I suspect like Clegg to be
    leader of the government.

    We all remember the mess Labour made of insults and then asking Brown to charm Clegg, I do not think anyone really thought labour had a chance.

    But unless Miliband can counter the Tories with say telling the working class and the under class that the bed room tax is wrong and will be removed, and that he will do what ever it is to get people back to work sadly a mansion tax will not work.

    Right now I do not think Miliband has what it takes to get the country to trust him.

    I suspect we will not need a coalition at the next election, I suspect the Tories will be back on their own.

  3. John p Reid says:

    Who decides?, the public do, if that’s what’s voted for,

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      But that’s the whole point John. They don’t vote for who forms the government. The party with a majority forms the government if it can, and if there isn’t one it’s down to negotiations between parties. So then who decides within each party? In the Lib Dems, it’s the members. In the Tories, it may be the memebers too, or perhaps the MPs. What about Labour? OK?

  4. John says:

    Jon are you saying that if Labour gets roughly the same amount of M.Ps and votes at the next election as the tories at the next election, that the m.P.s shouldn’t try to decide if we went into coalition with the Tories,rather than let the libdems form a coalition with the Tories? Or would you only have a labour government if its a majority one, and sooner let the Tories form a coalition on principle?

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      I’d have a coalition in the right circumstances and if the programme was acceptable. The Labour Party itself is a coalition. I’m in that so I’m not against coalitions in principle.

  5. Rob the cripple says:

    The Labour party use to be a coalition Labour, is now out to break that, but of course if the Labour party needed a partner the problem is many like Plaid and maybe the Liberals will learn that coalitions tend to burn the junior partners fingers.

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