Is LibLabbery the future?

by Stephen Tall on February 5, 2015

‘Labour and Lib Dems to hit joint total of 339 seats, study predicts’ headlined The Guardian this week, summarising the mathematical model of Professor Paul Whiteley at the University of Essex forecasting Labour would win 291 seats and the Lib Dems 48.

I’d love to believe the Lib Dems would retain 84% of our seats. But I don’t.

However, if it should come to pass the two parties would have plenty of material for a coalition. I highlighted last summer the 21 areas where Lib Dems and Labour agree.

Today, CentreForum  and the Fabian Society have published a new pamphlet, which details the two parties’ ‘Common Ground’:

 … there is significant common ground between the two parties. And if the political will exists amongst their leaders and members, there is the prospect of assembling a broad package of agreed policies that could form a realistic and comprehensive agenda for government.

Also today, PoliticsHome’s Paul Waugh points out a notable shift in Lib Dem economic policy, with deficit reduction being achieved through spending cuts and tax rises on a 60:40 split preferred by Vince Cable, rather than an 80:20 split advocated by Danny Alexander:

… this looks like a major victory for Vince Cable. I wrote last year that Cable’s Newsnight interview was the most significant, and least-noticed, political moment of the LibDem conference.

He told Laura Kuenssberg at the time that he wanted a bigger tax take than the 80:20 planned by the party. I later put this to Danny Alexander in The House magazine. He told me:

“My priority is to use tax as the instrument to make sure that the overall balance is fair. I think 80-20 broadly achieves that, 78-22 or 79-21, that doesn’t bother me…All the evidence is that that sort of balance that I’m suggesting is best”.

Well, Vince has won the day, it seems, after making his case to Clegg and convincing him a different approach was needed.

Put a gun to the head of Lib Dems in government I suspect they’d prefer to keep working with the Tories (if only on the basis of better the devil you know).

But if the voters say otherwise, it would actually be much easier for LibLabbery to emerge… but given the toxic relations between the dramatis personae that marriage might also require a shotgun.

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