General Election 2010. Review Part One: Labour.Post election Labour & Liberal Democrat Negotiations.
General Election Results for the United Kingdom Of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. May 6th 2010 First Past The Post System.
Objective; 326 seats for a controlling majority (a majority which cannot be defeated in a government vote with all other seats combined)
Resulting in a Hung Parliament, with coalition government negotiated between the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Party with a majority of 363 (expected to rise to 364 with a Conservative win at the first Bi-Election)
Post election Labour & Liberal Democrat Negotiations.
Some blame the Liberal Democrats for not getting-it-on with Labour in a coalition of the losers (as the Tory media called it), or a ‘Progressive’ coalition as was being touted by those on the left and centre left. If there was any chance of a Lib-Lab pact, it was the institution and the personalities of the Labour Party who intentionally scuppered it.
In the face of the strange yet more plausible option of a Con-Lib deal, so-called progressives were momentarily demanding a dreamy possibility of a Rainbow Alliance, with encouragement coming from Scottish Nationalist leader Alex Salmond and Lib-Dem Baroness Shirley Williams, who both let it be known that progressive coalition with the Labour Party was the preferred option. The New Labour project which has been controlling government for the last 13 years would of course never reject what was even a slim to non-existent chance of power, and a nice chance to snoop at what the Liberals and Conservatives were planning to boot. Maybe at the first meeting there was a tiny chance of a coalition, for a moment during the talks it seemed a genuine possibility that a theoretical coalition could be formed representing the disgruntled left and centre left parties of the United Kingdom, this union would have to consist of New Labour, Lib-Dems, the Scottish/Welsh Nationalists, Caroline Lucas the first and solitary MP for the Green Party, and the various parties of Northern Ireland minus the Irish Independents Sinn Féin who never take up their Westminster seats, on a point of political principal.
Although the mathematical possibility of a Lib-Lab-SNP-Plaid Cymru-DUP-SDLP-Alliance-Green pact would take the coalition into majority territory. A theoretical non-chance is about as close as it got. The tribal drums of Labour banged hard and suggested they are not going along with all this trendy but substantial Con-Lib new politics talk that is being banded at the moment. They were firmly in party survival mode, and who can blame them?, for the last three years they had been expecting a reverse wipeout ala 1997. Add to this the fact they have been the voice of power for half a generation and you can almost understand how they found themselves in the exalted position of not thinking too much about what has gone wrong for them. A moribund mixture of imperial defeatism with none of the vim & vigour shown by those in recent and no doubt thoughtful opposition.
Labour was never prepared for the question at hand, unsurprising some may say as they have indeed spent the last few years with a loser mentality. A Lib-Lab-Rainbow coalition could have made the most sweeping progressive change of the New Labour period of power, and all this only at the end of their tenure, whilst clinging on for dear power. The project was calmly falling through the air with their middle management poker faces on, wondering when to pull the cord. The Lib-Lab talks were a non-event. You do not have to scratch beneath the surface of the Labour project (and there is plenty of surface) to realise why talks were destined to fail and everyone sort of knew it. Today, looking back to the first few post-election days from outside the eye of the storm, Labour could have offered the moon on a stick, but it was never deliverable. The offer by Labour to the Libs for immediate electoral/constitutional change was likely only chucked in as a stick to beat them with over the next five years.
In facing a well prepared Lib-Dem team, another problem the New Labour negotiating group would have had to resolve if it could be bothered, was the hope that the parliamentary Labour party would show themselves unified enough to be able to get their heads together and retrieve a real electoral and political change from, in my opinion, 13 years of uninspiring bureaucratic nanny state control. A progressive victory perhaps from the jaws of defeat?. Not on your Nelly!.
The truth of the Labour parliamentary situation was of vocal hostility to any leftist coalition. And an undermining of any chance of a deal for a progressive parliament from senior Labour figures, who I think its safe to say were representing accurately the general feeling of either the Labour Party as a tribal whole, or one or two select individuals, possibly one of the potential incoming Labour leaders. The way such luminaries such as John Reid, David Blunkett and Dianne Abbot (I will be interested to hear who they support in the forthcoming Labour leadership election) darted between the BBC, Sky, and ITV correspondents at the very moment Labour & Lib Dem discussions were under way was one fine example that it was Labour as a party who had the complete inability and lack of will to adapt style and politics for the moment at hand, they were a resigned vocal roadblock to the pipe dream of a progressive union. The strategic truth of the Labour government situation was that Labour was a busted flush from the moment the dominating un-elected clampet Gordon Brown was appointed leader.
It was Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who hammered the last nail into his political coffin with one particular hung parliament pre-negotiating rule during the election run-in, that being, in the event of a hung or balanced parliament (as pro-coalition parties like to call it) and if voting patterns had decided against him (and they certainly did), a coalition of the left could never materialise with Brown in charge. So when the Liberals went into discussion with the Labour, it became obvious that Gordon Brown had no other option but to announce his future resignation in the event of a unlikely Lib-Lab-Rainbow coalition (remaining as PM for a few months, right after he potentially agrees to a new coalition which he will not have any part of). It was the Liberals who signalled the end of Gordon Brown, a man who served a shorter period of time than any other previous Labour Prime Minister, it was not the members of parliamentary Labour Party, who have been itching to do it since Blair.
The Libs Dems triggered the long waited Labour leadership contest which at the time led to the ridiculous theoretical chance that whoever the new leader was, they could be end up as next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in a progressive coalition. It was at this point it became immediately obvious that Labour was out of the power game. The Con-Lib deal being the only show in town. Brown had no credibility or mandate in negotiating an agreement for a future for his party that the then unknown incoming leader would have no kind of obligation to uphold, abide or agree to.
The Machiavellian manoeuvring behind the scenes in the last three years for victory in a Labour leadership election equates to the overriding reason Labour never had a hand and were as just as likely going through the motions for future leverage and extra platform in opposition. The fact that mooted potential leadership candidates Ed Milliband & Ed Balls were two of the Labour negotiating team leads to other clashes of interest and has to be questioned too, particularly by lefties appalled at the Con-Lib coalition who believed the negotiations to be tackled in a serious manner.
The New Labour Project government showed itself as split, fat, out of touch, unadaptable, old-fashioned, desperate and undignified, a project whose only succesful aim was only to acquire power, no real ideology, no real belief in anything, and that attitude disseminated from above into the PLP. and that very lack of a system has a hand in my notion that as a group they are not rigorous or vigorous enough of a political party for them to be able to unite quickly behind politics as it happens. I cannot seem to see where Labour represents any kind of ideology of old or new. They seem today the most tribal and ideological bereft of political groups, a first past the post grubby lardass wannabe Tory MESS of a fake leftist political party which still understands that the poor don’t matter because the poor don’t vote.