Saturday, April 24, 2010

British election reads

A sampling of the day's best reads on the state of the British election:

Some interesting developments from the Tories: "General Election 2010: Conservatives plan for a coalition." Wha? A coalition? Nobody tell Stephen Harper. At least one senior Tory is speaking about how they'd negotiate with the Liberal Dems on some issues in the event of a minority result.

On the other hand, David Cameron is proposing a new rule for unelected PMs:
The key element is the proposal that anyone taking over as PM following the death, overthrow or resignation of the previous incumbent would have to call an election within six months.
If the Canadian coalition had "overthrown" the Harper government in the fall of 2008 by defeating it on a confidence vote, presumably such a rule would have required a vote within 6 months. Maybe Cameron does have a Canadian Conservative adviser after all, you know, to mess with hundreds of years of parliamentary tradition just for short term political gain. Tom Flanagan would love it. But, facing a "hung" parliament, they should extrapolate out the effect of that rule. These Conservatives, not even in power yet and already seeking to bend the rules to make it prohibitive for parties to defeat them by inserting an election hurdle, unnecessary in the Westminster system and sure to sour their electorate, just like ours. Luckily Dave hasn't sealed the deal yet due to his vacuous presence and this latest gimmick might cement that impression.

The Guardian has a great interview piece with David Miliband, the Labour Foreign Secretary. An excerpt:
But Miliband, long accounted one of Labour's most formidable thinkers, has a serious point too. "David Cameron can't decide who he is, politically, and I think Nick Clegg is much clearer about what he's against than what he's for." He believes the surge of support for the latter, particularly, has more to do with a rise of sweeping anti-political feeling in the electorate than what he might actually stand for. "I think that there is a lot of anti-politics about the Lib Dems and the Tories," says Miliband. "And the point about anti-politics is that you can campaign on anti-politics, but you can't govern on anti-politics. And you certainly can't govern on anti-politics if you're a progressive party. You have to believe that it's through politics that societies can lead social and economic and political change. I really do think this is a very important moment for progressive politics."
Also in the Guardian, Polly Toynbee with an appeal summed up in the column title, "Your heart might say Clegg. But vote with your head:"
So what is the anti-Tory voter to do now? What do you do when the old two-party electoral system has finally collapsed into a genuine three-party contest? Look at the result according to yesterday's BBC poll of polls: Clegg gets 30% and a puny 102 seats, Cameron gets 33% and only 258 seats, while Brown comes third with 27% and emerges as the victor with 261 seats. Every time you see a poll, go to the BBC's brilliant election seat calculator for a nasty shock. Work out any variety of options. Labour may yet do far worse – but if so, Cameron wins, not Clegg.
Gordon Brown is shaking things up: "Brown rips up strategy to escape third place," and may yet pull this thing off: "Support for Labour slumps but Gordon Brown has reason to smile."

On a lighter note, here's an obvious riff on the Obama girl thing, give them points for chutzpah. Not exactly helping the Tories if you ask me: