Monday 10 May 2010

The devil's choice...

“We haven’t been discussing the leadership,” said Yvette Cooper as she ran away from Downing Street shortly after Gordon Brown announced he would resign.

I wonder if there is any other statement she could have said at that very moment which would have been more unbelievable.

Even though I’ve only been based in Westminster two years, I know that I’ve just experienced the most nail-bitingly intense day of politics that I will see for a long while to come.

A bidding war has seen the two parties throw everything down on the table to try and lure the Lib Dems into bed.

The Tories have agreed to a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) system and Labour, as well as giving up its leader, has agreed to definite AV legislation and a referendum on proportional representation (PR).

It’s a devilish choice for the third party. They have been aching for PR and this may be their only chance to even come close for decades.

But even if they take it, the Lib Dems and Labour would still have to get the support of other marginal parties to form a majority. Have no doubt that the closer they get to their majority, the higher the price will be for those last few seats.

The Tories’ offer is far more likely to come about, but taking a referendum on AV would be like the Lib Dems accepting a glass of sour house wine, when the next bar along is offering free Champaign.

All in the national interest of course.

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