Sunday, 13 March 2011

Cement for the Coalition?

Not all constitutional reform is as well publicised as AV, most is far more mundane. A few weeks ago I said on a friends blog that the Tories and the Lib Dems would start doing each-others campaigning. It now seems that they have actually changed the law so that they can do just that. The Guardian reports that the Coalition (specifically the cabinet office minister for constitutional reform) has pushed through changes to allow two parties to field a candidate using a single emblem on the ballot paper. The law now reads as follows;
"If a candidate who is the subject of an authorisation by two or more parties so requests, the ballot paper must contain, against the candidate’s particulars, the registered emblem of one of those parties."

They want this new rule to be used in mayoral elections and then in the next general election. Is this so tory candidates can masquerade as lib dems in the North? I hope so because they would get just as many votes as they would if they stood as tories: Not very many (as the recent bye-election in Barnsley shows). Is it so that well-heeled, well-connected lib dems can hide their yellow bird in the branches of the tory tree? Maybe, but I suspect that the electorate isn't as daft as the coalition hope. (They must hope that we are daft enough to forget about these savage cuts in four years time as well.)

Whatever the reason is, it probably is not, as the coalition claim, an altruistic decision designed to help joint Co-Op/Labour candidates. I am too cynical to believe that a tory cabinet office minister would pass a new law in order to help the Left.

This is a tactical decision that may result in us not knowing the difference between a tory and a lib dem; not much change there then. Every time Cameron repeats his lies about Labour causing the Global economic crisis, Clegg is there nodding like an insurance-selling dog and smiling like a the cat who's got the cream. I hope that rank and file at the lib dem conference let him know that he is supposed to be the leader of a struggling political party, not just another one of Camerons school chums. Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda suggests that the tories and the lib dems need a new joint logo: "They could have a bird in a tree" He suggests a Dodo. Judging by current policies I suggest that another old bird might be better suited... you can guess who she is.

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