What will it take for Clegg to do a deal?

If I were a cartoonist, which unfortunately I’m not, I’d sketch something here showing Nick Clegg stretched out on a chaise longue with Gordon Brown at one end peeling him a grape and David Cameron at the other, administering a foot rub.

Now clearly Clegg hasn’t had a good night. Polls over the last few weeks, since Clegg wowed us all with his TV talk of electoral reform, smaller class sizes and a fairer tax system, have predicted this election to be the most excited ever for the Lib Dems. The reality however was far from the liberal utopia many imagined. In fact, the yellow team managed to secure even fewer seats than in 2005. A bit of a shocker really – what happened there? Was the Lib Dem surge merely bravado? Did everyone chicken out when they actually got to the polling station and had the pencil in hand?

Whatever the reasons for their poor performance, you can’t deny that the third party now find themselves in a uniquely powerful position. With neither Labour nor the Conservatives able to claim a working majority, Clegg has some pretty big decisions to make over the next couple of days. Both of the main parties are understandably desperate to do a deal – I like to imagine Clegg at home surrounded by muffin baskets, bouquets and cards – ‘Nick, please be my friend, we’ve always been in favour of PR, honest. Dave x’

As much as I like muffins, I wouldn’t want to be in Clegg’s shoes right now. It’s not a great choice really is it? Potential politic suicide but a stab at electoral reform with Labour, or the Conservatives. Enough said.

The most shocking of the night’s events though was the fact that I managed to stay up all night. No exit poll could have predicted it, famous as I am among family and friends for always being asleep by 10pm. It does mean though that today has been fairly unproductive. I’ve found it quite difficult to speak in real sentences and it feels like only a matter of time before I start hallucinating. An hour ago I found myself laughing out loud on my own watching Total Wipeout USA.

Definitely time for a little lie down.

Photo credit: Liberal Democrats

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17 Comments

  1. 7 May, 2010 / 5:16 pm

    As long as he doesn’t form a coalition with the Tories, i’m happy.

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:48 pm

      It would just be bizarre wouldn’t it? I’m anticipating some kind of support in principle for the sake of moving forward, but on a decision by decision basis – could be messy…

  2. 7 May, 2010 / 5:35 pm

    Lovely cartoon image! Such a depressing situation.

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:45 pm

      It is isn’t it? Which is why we have to see the humour in it I guess or we’d all just sit at home sobbing quietly…

  3. 7 May, 2010 / 7:35 pm

    Fingers crossed he doesn’t go with the Conservatives but I have a horrible feeling he will!!!

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:44 pm

      It’s so hard to call isn’t it? One minute I feel sure he will, the next I just can’t believe he’ll get party backing – very exciting still!

  4. 7 May, 2010 / 10:09 pm

    I was thinking tonight how we could do with a Spitting Image come back to capture the political craziness. I blame Gary Barlow for influencing a nation of Take That fans to vote for posh boy. But seriously do you know what worries me as a Scottish girl; just how much it could divide our countries, no one will be happy. OMG I sounded all serious there. Clearly time for bed, contacts sticking to eye balls…:)

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:43 pm

      The Scottish split it is an interesting one isn’t it? The Tories really have no support in Scotland at all do they? It will be really hard for them to govern effectively I’d have thought without isolating a whole country?

  5. 8 May, 2010 / 8:08 am

    I hope he doesn’t go with the Conservatives – I think the principle of Electoral Reform is too important to sacrifice, and turkeys will never vote for Christmas. I think Clegg’s right that the Tories have the moral ‘right’ to form a government, but I wasn’t too impressed with Cameron’s attempt (or lack of) to woo Clegg. Labour seem more co-operative. As you say, I really don’t envy him the choice. Neither option is great.

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:41 pm

      I agree – I’m not sure Clegg will be able to get his party to support a coalition that goes against so many of their core principles. It’s a definite rock/hard place scenario though.

  6. 8 May, 2010 / 9:38 am

    If he has half a brain he’ll take his place in opposition with Labour and the rest and let Cameron form a minority government. Better to have 5 years of influencing policy than sell it in one night for an all party committee looking at electoral reform and doing precisely nothing :)

    All Cameron has offered is to do the things the LibDems and Tories already agree on – so another big fat nothing!

    LibDem constitution thingy says they cannot enter a coalition without ballotting all their party members – waiting for that won’t do the country any favours. If there’s one thing we need it’s an end to all the speculation.

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:40 pm

      I just can’t feel comfortable about a Lib Dem-Tory coalition – it just feels wrong to me as a Lib Dem voter, all wrong.

  7. Lucy N
    8 May, 2010 / 9:40 am

    Unfortunately there can be no deal with labour because even labour+libdems won’t be enough to make up the numbers for a majority. So Cameron is Clegg’s only chance.

    • 8 May, 2010 / 5:40 pm

      I quite fancy some kind of rainbow alliance – they’d have enough if they got all the little ones on board wouldn’t they? They could all gang up on Cameron playground style :-)

      • 9 May, 2010 / 8:31 am

        I would hope that the Celtic Alliance of SNP and Plaid Cymru would be more inclined to support a Labour/LibDem alliance than the other option, but such an alliance would, I imagine, be very difficult to keep together. The SNP administration up here run a successful minority government because they can pick and choose to seek support from across the political spectrum on an issue by issue basis. This obviously works for all the other parties (including the 2 Green Party MSPs and 1 Independant) as they are all in a position to influence policy. If Clegg keeps the LibDems out of all formal alliances/coalitions (and he should, the people who voted LibDem did not vote Tory or Labour for a good reason) he could find himself constantly being wooed by both sides and be able to influence both government and oppsition – that’s a good place to be :)

        • 9 May, 2010 / 2:02 pm

          You’re right – the more I think about it the more I think he should just keep out of any formal arrangement. Whichever way he goes otherwise it’s likely to end badly – if he can stay independent he can hopefully maintain his powerful position without alienating his current supporters.

  8. Jenna
    8 May, 2010 / 1:40 pm

    uhh Labour have no chance….not with people like Gordon Brown. I think Lib Dems and the Conservatives combined is the best possible chance that Britain has to sort this country out… Labour are shockingly bad!

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