Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ming Cambell interviewed in New Statesman

Martin Bright has an interview with Menzies Campbell on the New Statesman website (and presumably in tomorrow's magazine).

It is all good stuff, but here is the meat of it:
I insist that surely the condition for any alliance after the next election would have to be proportional representation for Westminster. He thinks carefully and then puts the question beyond doubt: "Let me put it to you this way. PR is fundamental to our analysis of what is necessary for the United Kingdom. It would be inconceivable for us to be in a full-blown coalition with a party that does not accept that."

There it is. No coalition without fully fledged electoral reform. This would apply to talks with either Labour or Tories. Nor is he talking about the Alternative Vote (AV), a non-proportional system in which voters opt for candidates in order of preference within single constituencies. Brown remains unconvinced of the merits of PR, though he is known to be considering AV. The negotiations in the event of a hung parliament could be interesting indeed.

On wider policy issues, Campbell, following a reshuffle, is putting his faith in new names: David Laws is in charge of a review of education policy and Norman Lamb is doing the same for health. With Vince Cable continuing to speak on Treasury matters and Nick Clegg at home affairs, I wonder if this is part of a conscious move to establish the Lib Dems on the right. "It's a conscious move to liberalism," he replies. And invoking the politics of the 1960s Liberal leader Jo Grimond, he says: "How can a Liberal party ever abandon the idea of choice and competition? So you exploit it, rather than allowing it to be master." He bridles at the idea that the new direction marks an end to the strategy of positioning the Lib Dems to the left of Labour. He contrasts his party's classic liberalism with new Labour's authoritarian streak.

No comments: