Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

This Is Going To Get Messy

So here’s an optimistic view of what could happen in the next few weeks.

The Conservative/Lib Dem talks drag on for just long enough for the public to get pretty fed up with the whole hung parliament thing and the appetite for electoral reform begins to waver.

Ultimately Clegg, seeing polls such as that in the Sunday Times today – with 62% thinking that Brown should go – will give in to the pressure to do the deal with Cameron.

Cameron could offer a referendum on electoral reform, but clearly any such vote could not happen before next summer – after all, it could well take that long to decide what the question will be. That is twelve months for the debate to start in earnest and the strength and stability supporters (i.e. first past the post) to gain momentum. More crucially, it gives the opportunity for a minority Conservative government to call a fresh election, all the while both parties will be playing the usual power-sharing game of manoeuvering to ensure that the national interest takes priority when the whole thing goes pear-shaped it’ll be the other one who takes the blame.

Of course, all this will have to be sold to both parties. Many Conservatives may find themselves holding their nose and living with a deal as long as it is co-operation and not coalition – and Cameron surely knows this.

Now I’m writing this at around 10am, so Murphy’s Law will now determine that the whole thing will be irrelevant and out of date by 11am. Ho hum.

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