Peter Oborne reports today that secret talks have already begun between Labour and Liberal Democrat figures about a possible coalition. He reports that as a sweetener to any possible deal the Labour Whips office is already drumming up support for Ming Campbell as the next Speaker.
Are certain senior LibDem members so bent on attaining power that they can seriously be considering a pact with the most authoritarian government this country has ever seen?.
Oborne points to an article by Vince Cable suggesting that a national government might not be a bad idea and says:
"Throughout all my years of reporting politics I have rarely encountered such a blatant hint by a senior politician from an opposition party that he wants a job in government - and all the signs are that Gordon Brown is warming to the idea of Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a government of national unity.
However, the position of Nick Clegg (Cable's boss) is much less clear. I understand that Vince Cable's public musings about a coalition government were emphatically not sanctioned in advance by his leader. Furthermore, insiders speak of a growing split inside the Liberal Democrats over the issue."
Can the Libertarian wing of the LibDems honestly feel that they could back such a move by the power hungry Cable. I can see the logic in promoting Campbell to the role of speaker, but Cable as Chancellor?
However, there is a younger generation of LibDems who are very hostile to this idea of a coalition with Labour. As a result, Nick Clegg faces a very difficult few months.
As Oborne points out those in favour of an "arrangement" within the Lib Dems are "on the whole, the older and more Left-leaning members of the party."
The Libertarian Party (LPUK) is ready to open its doors to those Libertarian minded LibDem members who finally realise that there is no room for them and reform of the LibDems is impossible.
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, who is being closely advised on this matter by Peter Mandelson, is not only contemplating a grand coalition in the event of a hung parliament after the next election, but Brown is also ready to consider heading a national government in the coming months in the event of the economic situation getting worse.
Indeed, as the financial crisis deteriorates, this momentous decision may come sooner than he expects, but a Churchill he is not. (we understand what all the Churchillian propaganda was for!)
Beware the Ides of March. There is much political intrigue afoot.
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