27 March 2012

Centre Forum discuss coalition

Last night Centre Forum hosted a session on what makes for successful coalition politics for a junior coalition partner.

Things were kicked off by a presentation by Ben Page (pictured) from MORI whose research shows the Lib Dems having lost 2/3rds of its 2010 support and made reference to various research papers that show junior partners, such as the Irish PDs, always lose out.

What I found most worrying by the session was the general acceptance that this collapse of support is the end point of analysis (not the starting point) and there was little sense that the party needs to find out more about why people have stopped voting for it.

Simon Hughes then spoke about five themes that the party could promote at the 2015 general election. This mainly consisted of being 'competent and fair' - more competent than Labour and more fair than the Tories. Which is neither a strategy or a campaigning position.

It is clear there is a huge vacuum at the top of the party - with no strategy for either coalition or the next election. Merely becoming a party of government and governing cooperatively and reasonably is not an election winning strategy - even if some of those advising the leadership appear to think it is.


  1. I was hoping to make this but couldn't.

    But you're right to say that the absence of strategy or a narrative for us running into 2015 (as opposed to the Government) is not an election-winning strategy.

    It's not correct to say that all junior coalition partners always lose out - the closest example is that of our Scottish colleagues in 1999-2003; and this counsel of despair has been all too eagerly accepted by many who should know better.

  2. Don't forget that the top 100 target seats are in the main, conservative held, the fact that we have been in coalition with the Tories is not necesarily toxic in these seats. If the growth of UKIP slits the Tory vote as looks likely and we keep our nerve and our identity the the future may just be Orange!

  3. Have you discussed this topic with your neighbour Tim?