Friday, 23 January 2015

Let's ensure Nick Clegg isn't the kingmaker in May 2015


The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has rubbished projections that the Liberal Democrats will lose half of their MPs in the May 2015 General Election, and stated that he expects to be the kingmaker who gets to decide whether to form a government with Labour, or with the Tories.

After the treachery of 2010, where Clegg gleefully shafted several core Lib-Dem demographics (anti-Tory tactical voters, students, social liberals, the anti-war vote ...) in order to prop up David Cameron and a grotesque bunch of malicious and incompetent Tory ministers, the idea of the only certainty in 2015 being a return to government for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats is an utterly revolting one.

I'm pretty sure that the majority of people are hoping that the Liberal Democrats get a hammering in the General Election, and that Nick Clegg suffers what has become known as a "Portillo moment", by becoming the most high profile political figure to lose their seat in the election.

In order to prevent Nick Clegg from being the kingmaker who gets to pick who to form a government with, the public need to use their heads and vote in particular ways. People in Scotland and Sheffield have more power to damage Clegg's kingmaker ambitions than the rest of us, but we can all chip in to make sure Clegg doesn't get to decide whether to make kings of the red establishment party or the blue one.

  
What we can do

Scotland

Recent poll results have predicted absolute landslide victories for the SNP in Scotland, which would be good for preventing Nick Clegg from being kingmaker for two big reasons.

Firstly it looks like the SNP are set to unseat at least ten of, if not all eleven of the Lib-Dem MPs in Scotland. The loss of this many Lib-Dem MPs equates to a 20% reduction in the total number of Lib-Dems in Westminster. Combine this carnage in Scotland with the predicted losses across the rest of the UK and it does look extremely likely that the Lib-Dems will lose around half of their MPs.

The second reason that a huge SNP triumph in Scotland would damage the Lib-Dems' chances of sneaking back into power is that if the SNP win the 40+ seats they're predicted to, they'll usurp the Lib-Dems as the 3rd largest party in the House of Commons, and would naturally assume the role of Kingmakers for themselves. An added bonus to this scenario is that the SNP would never form a coalition government with the Tories, and were they to form a confidence and supply arrangement with the Labour Party, they'd drag them back towards the left where they belong.

Sheffield

Nick Clegg is in severe danger of losing his parliamentary seat in Sheffield Hallam. Rival campaigners have said that they've never witnessed such hostility towards an incumbent MP before, especially such a high profile one.

Unfortunately the Green Party have not made very much headway in the constituency, and barring an unprecedented late surge in support for them, the only serious rival to Nick Clegg seems to be the Labour candidate Oliver Coppard.

I've often stated my objection to what the Labour Party has become, but in this case I'm prepared to make an exception and suggest that people in Sheffield Hallam seriously consider holding their noses and voting for the young Labour candidate in order to hand Nick Clegg the "Portillo moment" he so richly deserves.

If you live elsewhere in Sheffield or South Yorkshire, you can always assist the campaign to unseat Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam by actively joining the campaign, or by talking to people in the Sheffield Hallam constituency about why Nick Clegg needs to go.

The rest of us


Even though the people of Scotland and Sheffield have the most important roles in ensuring Nick Clegg gets the comeuppance he deserves, the rest of us have a role to play too.

The most obvious thing we can do to avoid the scenario where the Lib-Dems get to decide which party they are going to enable into power in May is to avoid voting Liberal Democrat (considering the majority of polls put them below 10% of the vote, there aren't actually that many people left who need convincing not to vote Lib-Dem!).

Another thing we can do to block Nick Clegg's kingmaker ambitions is to vote against all three of the Westminster establishment parties, and to convince as many other people as possible to vote alternative too (especially habitual non-voters). If enough of us do this, we'll be able to push the UK towards multi-party politics, and add to the increasing pressure to replace out outdated and disproportionate voting system with one that gives fairer representation of the way people actually voted.

If the combined total for all of the other parties rises to well above 30% (which seems possible given recent poll results), yet they end up with fewer than 5% of the seats between them, the demand for proper electoral reform will become irresistible.


Once proper electoral reform is achieved, people will get to vote for the candidate they actually want, rather than voting tactically against the candidate they hate, which would be the first important step in ending the duopoly on political power held by Labour and the Tories for the last 100 years, and it would also put paid to incredibly unpopular self-appointed kingmakers like Nick Clegg.

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 ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE 
         
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What is the point of the Labour Party?
                     
The remarkable rise of Podemos in Spain
       

The pre-election contract the Tories want you to forget all about
                             
The "Making Work Pay" fallacy
                                         
How Labour lost the plot in Scotland
                          
Why the Lib-Dems are just as compassionless as the Tories
                
Why do so many people trust Osborne with the UK economy?

If the Greens have the best policies, how come hardly anyone votes for them?
                                
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies
  




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