A Ridiculous Idea?

Watching the debates, and thinking about how Vince Cable stands no chance of being Chancellor after the election led me to think about the following:

Would a hung Parliament lead to the end of the Liberal Democrats?

I admit, this is a potentially ridiculous idea, and I expect some comments telling me just this, but let me outline my thoughts.

Accept first that there is a hung Parliament, and either Labour or the Conservatives decide to form a coalition rather than run as a minority government.

Next, this coalition government passes legislation to impose proportional representation on Westminster elections, which was part of the agreement of the Liberal Democrats joining the government.

Looking at current polls, ‘others’ are polling anywhere between 21% and 12%. In the same polls, the Liberal Democrats have polled between 12% and 18%, and while they obviously have party organisation to help get voters out, it’s not unrealistic to assume that MPs from ‘others’ would be of a similar number to those of the Liberal Democrats.

Obviously the next leap depends very much on which parties get MPs elected, but the latest breakdown I can find is as follows: SNP 2%: PC 1%: UKIP 5%: BNP 4%: GRN 3%.

No party would ever work with the BNP, and again I don’t see the SNP joining a government in Westminster, but could UKIP and the Green Party offer an alternative.  UKIP could, I imagine, be persuaded to join a Conservative government for most votes, while Plaid Cymru and the Greens have worked with Labour and may be prepared to lend some support to boost either a minority or majority government.

Either way, the role of Liberal Democrats as potential Kingmakers is heavily diluted, as independents and smaller parties gain representation and offer an alternative coalition partner.

I’m aware that this contains a lot of ‘ifs’, and that even if the two original assumptions come true, anything could happen during the next Parliament, but there certainly seems to be an underlying point which is that as a party, they are unlikely to be propelled towards government by such reforms, and stand the chance of becoming one of a number of minor parties.

Ridiculous? Possibly. But perhaps Liberal Democrats are sowing the seeds of their downfall.

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4 thoughts on “A Ridiculous Idea?

  1. That’s a really interesting idea. Well written and well thought out. We often think of the Lib Dems behind the big two but forget the smaller parties biting at their heels.

  2. I have Libertarian leanings, so make of this what you will.

    I find this discussion a bit bizarre – you seem to be saying “get them (the LibDems) out of the way and it’s business as usual (ie Con-Lab)”

    I think the fact that the various polls *do not* put the Conservatives at 60-70% support of the electorate in the face of perhaps the worst Government in history speaks volumes. I believe, people *do not* see any difference between Con & Lab. Perhaps Cameron has an ace up his sleeve – if so, I can’t see it.

    This country is in trouble, and the major parties are wholly responsible – they have attracted power to Westminster over decades and where that wasn’t enough, they outright stole it. Then, they gave it all to Brussels.

    Oh, and my mantra is “anyone but Labour”, and it’s not a lone voice.

  3. It’s a fanciful notion. The more power the Lib Dems get, the more opportunity they have to humiliate themselves in public.

    Tony, not a single party since World War II has ever attracted over 50% of electoral support. Since Thatcher started it hasn’t gone over 45% either.

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