As of 3.36pm UK time, there is still uncertainty as to which party will be the major partner in a deal with the Liberal Democrats to lead Britain over the foreseeable future.
Nick Clegg has apparently been shuttling back and forth between the Conservatives and the Labour Party trying to make a deal that would best serve the Lib Dems and the country.
While electoral reform is a major concern for the Lib Dems (they are essentially frozen out of government due to the first past the post system) they also must be mindful of legitimacy. Forming a government with the Tories would be their first choice given the fact that they received more votes than any other party. While they may be more ideologically in line with Labour, Gordon Brown’s party lost pretty badly and putting them back in government would probably not sit well with the public – the majority of which voted for change.
However, the Tories seem uninterested in electoral reform and that could potentially scupper a deal with the Lib Dems. Labour is more willing to give ground on the issue and that might clinch the deal should Clegg place a priority systemic changes in Britain’s electoral system.
We do know that some sort of announcement is due at the end of the day. Writes Patrick Wintour in the Guardian:
With the shadow cabinet and Lib Dem MPs meeting separately now, it is
being suggested by Labour sources that their party may have something
important to say this afternoon. This may be a last-minute effort to
destabilise the Lib Dem-Tory talks, but the tone from within No 10
suggests this is not the case.
Labour has been involved in far
more serious talks with the Lib Dems than anyone realised, prompting
some anger inside the Tory party yesterday about a lack of good faith
from the Lib Dems.
What this means is anyone’s guess, but Labour is most likely offering a wide variety of policy concessions to the Lib Dems in order to break up any pending deal with the Tories. From a progressive point of view, this can be nor bad thing, but the issue of legitimacy may hold greater sway with the party that campaigned on a platform of honesty and fairness.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.