Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did anyone foresee a Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition?

The conventional wisdom is that before David Cameron made his offer the day after the election a coalition between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats was simply unthinkable. I say much that in tomorrow's Liberal Democrat News.

But is the conventional wisdom right?

Today I came across a posting on this blog from February 2007. It discusses a story that Ming Campbell, then the Liberal Democrat leader, was in talks with Gordon Brown and other Labour cabinet ministers to ensure that a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition would continue in power at Holyrood after the elections to the Scottish parliament elections later that year.

I wrote:

No doubt the Scottish Lib Dems can look after themselves, but it is interesting to speculate what might happen in the event of a hung parliament at Westminster after the next election.

Despite his patrician mien - and despite Lady Elspeth - most of Ming's close political friendships are with members of the Scottish Labour establishment. It is likely that his first instinct will be to form a Lib-Lab coalition at Westminster too.

Whether the Bright Young Things who supported Ming during the leadership election will see things the same way is an interesting question.

And chief amongst those Bright Young Things, of course, was Nick Clegg. At the first hustings after Charles Kennedy stood down, he seemed unwilling to let Ming Campbell out of his sight.

Still, mine was just a passing thought. Did any blogger or journalist forecast a Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition more recently or with more confidence?


Jo Christie-Smith said...

I didn't write a post saying: 'we'll do a deal with the Tories', but I did write one saying we needed to be open minded about who we did deals with and that may include the Tories.

I don't tend to make predictions; maybe I should do.

I don't suppose that counts really, does it?

NTrout said...

I don't think conventional wisdom was that Nick Clegg would never go into coalition with David Cameron. It has been clear since he was elected that Clegg is quite conservative and is much more naturally aligned with the Tories. I for one, along with a lot of others in Labour circles have constantly predicted a Lib-Con coalition was a more likely outcome.

wolfi said...

Lib-Lab sounds terrible - but that's not the only reason why I'm glad you didn't choose Labour ...

PS and completely OT: Did you read the reviews on the concert last night with SW and EC ?

I hope they'll play Midland Maniac - one of my favorite songs - in Munic!