Wednesday, May 11, 2011

 

Dave Will Not waste his Political Capital to Assuage Clegg

Interesting piece by Partrick Wintour in Guardian today. It now seems Cleggy wants to play hard ball, presumably to assuage his devastated party members; they may have lost to AV referendum plus hundreds of counci8l seats but they are going to get their own back by being really snippy with Dave from now on. Got that Dave? Well, according to Wintour, Dave's response to such a scenario was:

"I don't accept the whole idea that the role of one party is somehow to moderate the other. The Conservative party, under my leadership, has changed. It is a new and different Conservative party."

Wintour adds that: "he also refused to give Clegg credit for imposing a rethink on the government's NHS reforms."

Oh Dear! Fact is Cameron feels no obligation to compromise with his coalition partners. Last Thursday has delivered a whole new access of political capital; Dave feels more powerful; he IS more powerful. His party is pleased to have won two such resounding victories last week and certainly are in no mood to have their wings clipped by the diminished and disrespected Clegg.

Can Clegg threaten to withdraw from the deal? Not really; he's really opted for the whole trip and without a parachute. If Dave calls an election, Lib Dems will be massacred and the Tories might even get their overall majority. So why doesn't he? Well, Labour are in a slight lead so it's risky and he wants to push through his legislation making constituency sizes more equal. So he'll probably hold back on that- though don't write off a public threat if Clegg gets rally shrill and petulant.

In the Guardian piece linked above, policy areas are assessed from the viewpoint of party influence in the coalition. Unsurprisingly all areas from economy to localism are judged to be Tory dominated with only health indicating Lib Dems as dominant. I would question even that judgement. Dark days for we left of centre folk.

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