Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gordon Brown could destroy the modern Conservative Party for a generation

I've posted this already up in the comments at the Liberal Conspiracy blog, but I thought it's worth repeating here.

There’s a strong argument for understanding modern politics less as an expression of tribal loyalties and more as an ordering of preferences where we fundamentally vote *against* something than for it.

The most interesting bit of polling evidence I’ve seen in this election is this:

I wouldn’t draw any snap conclusions from it, but if you were to ask me what the outcome could be, it may be that a perceived closeness between Labour and the Lib Dems allied to the likelihood of a hung parliament – may actually get some people who wouldn’t vote Labour to do so on the understanding that it will contribute to the most popular outcome of this election: A hung parliament with a lib-lab coalition.

Now, if Gordon could be persuaded to let it be known that he would regard anything less than an outright Labour victory as a personal defeat and that he wouldn’t seek to lead Labour in the event of a coalition, you could kill the Vote Clegg Get Brown fear at a stroke. It could attract huge numbers of reluctant Labour voters as well as tactical voters in our historic mission to deny the Tories power at all costs.

One bit of self-sacrifice from Gordon could potentially destroy the modern Conservative Party and position Labour as the most powerful party in an anti-Tory coalition for a generation!

Makes you think, eh?


MatGB said...

Well, yes, it does. But then if we introduced STV for Westminster, it'd destroy all three of the current parties in their current form.

I look forward to the day when the Co-operative party disaffiliates and runs in its own right.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who supports thr conservative party want there head sorting, If they get in power you might as well drop your keys in an envelope and send them back to your building society, 15% INTEREST RATES WILL BE BACK AGAIN.4 MILLION OUT OF OF WORK AGAIN. EVERY ONE OVER SIXTEEN TAXED FOR LIVING AT HOME, only people to gain will be the rich fat twats.I know i was there when thatcher was in power . All you people to young to remember be warned.Ask your parents,

Chris said...

'Now, if Gordon could be persuaded to let it be known that he would regard anything less than an outright Labour victory as a personal defeat and that he wouldn’t seek to lead Labour in the event of a coalition, you could kill the ‘Vote Clegg Get Brown’ fear at a stroke.'

That assumes the benefits of avoiding that slogan would significantly outweigh the drawbacks of not having the slightest clue who would end up as PM. 'Vote Clegg Get ?' might be equally effective. And some Labour members might rightly not be happy about having the Lib Dems interfere with their party leadership battle after such an election - is Clegg going to have a virtual veto on the candidates? Is he going to present a list of people he won't work with?

Plus, people being naturally suspicious, any out-and-out suggestion that Labour are going to help out the Lib Dems by smoothing the path could lose them votes on the Tory side. Do you think if Brown resigned tomorrow and - somehow - everyone immediately agreed to have AJ as leader Clegg would turn round and say 'Oh cool, I like him - hey everyone, vote Labour in Lab-Con marginals'?

Of course, Clegg being Obama Mark II he will presumably offer Brown the role of Foreign Secretary, a role in which he will swiftly become more popular.

MatGB said...

Oh gods, I hope not. Regardless of party alliegance, the Forign Secretary needs to be a diplomat comfortable with nuance. Milliband's bad enough, but Brown?

Surely the rejoinder to 'vote Clegg get ?' is the simple, clear 'vote Clegg, get Clegg'?

That seems to work quite well with most local voters.

Chris said...

If Vote Clegg Get Clegg is so effective, you wouldn't think you would need anything else to counter Vote Clegg Get Brown. Certainly not a pre-vote suicide note.

And the Tory press wouldn't be looking to do anything other than make a small number of rightist voters considering the Lib Dems scared of a 'stitch-up' that could result in some loonie leftie in charge. Is he prepared to say he won't accept anyone else except himself as PM? Bearing in mind that outwith all this stuff about not supporting Labour if they were first in seats third in votes we still don't know how he jumps if Labour are first in seats, second in votes (with Brown resigning) or first in seats and votes but without a majority (unlikely, but again, Brown has to resign apparently) or any other combination that includes the Tories playing hard ball.

Bob Piper said...

Makes you think, eh?

Makes me think you've taken leave of your senses, Paulie. At a time when Clegg is claiming a mandate not in terms of how many seats a party has won, but how many votes they have attracted, then for Labour supporters to vote Liberal, even in hopeless Labour seats, is bloody daft, frankly. It should, in fact, be an open invitation for Labour voters to vote Labour everywhere!

Insurance Blogger said...

The Conservatives will bring back the days of mass unemployment.
I'm voting liberal to keep the local Tory out and Gordon Brown in power!
Here's to a well hung parliament!

Anonymous said...

Makes me think that Gordon Brown would never do that, almost especially if it had the positive effects you describe.

Here's hoping though, eh?

Paulie said...


I’m not actually calling for Labour voters to vote tactically. I’m saying that tactical voting is something that will happen can be gamed to Labour's advantage.

I *do* think that anything Labour can do now which would cost little (Brown saying he’s not personally lead a coalition would cost all of us apart from Brown’s immediate circle very little), that would maximise our vote and strengthen our hand would be a good thing.