Monday, 10 May 2010
How cynical are you?
Assuming that he believes what he was saying, then he believes that a Tory government who cut spending immediately will put the country at risk of a double dip recession - trying to stop them doing so, even at the cost of damaging the Labour Party's future prospects would be the right thing to do. If he really believes this then standing down to facilitate a deal with the Lib Dems would also be the right thing to do (although he might find this harder if he believes that he has the skills that others don't to solve the issues).
I actually think that party advantage would suggest that he should have already resigned. Let the Tories run the country for 6 months as a minority government and then find there needs to be another election - they then have the problem of being the incumbent in a difficult economic situation. But he would believe that that would be bad for Britain.
If we want a government with any prospect of longevity then I think it has to be a Tory/Lib Dem coalition - anything else could fall apart at any moment. The question is whether that is what we want. I don't however think that there is any doubt that that is what the Tories want - there has been much talk about the fact that they don't like the idea of PR because it will give weak government - so again this fits into a "good for the country" decision (you might not like the solution, but I don't think you can argue that they don't sincerely believe this).
Here is where the rubber hits the road - and in some ways I feel sorry for Nick Clegg. What is best for the country? Is it a period of stable government with time to sort out the economy? Can he and David Cameron agree sufficiently on the necessary economic policies? If they can't then is it better to support the economic policies that he wants and try to do a deal with Labour? And all that is before the cynicism about what might best get PR (which he would believe to be in the country's best interest) and whether the Lib Dem party would allow him to enter into a coalition with either of them, or how the country would see the Lib Dems "propping up" a failed Labour government.
Who would be a politician?