Sunday, April 25, 2010

Labour now 'irrelevant' - Clegg.

Nick Clegg has given his strongest indication yet that a vote for him would ensure that we see David Cameron as the next Prime Minister.

We all know that, at the moment, there is as much chance that Gordon Brown will emerge from this election with the most seats as there is that David Cameron will do so. But Clegg has dismissed any chance of Brown remaining in Number Ten as what he refers to as a "squatter".

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg described the possibility that Labour could get a smaller share of the vote than the other parties, but still have more seats, as "a complete nonsense".

"You can't have Gordon Brown squatting in No 10 just because of the irrational idiosyncrasies of our electoral system," he said.

He said Mr Cameron would be making a "massive strategic error" if he opposed a reform of the voting system.

Mr Cameron is strongly opposed to proportional representation but a source told the BBC that if voters returned a hung parliament, he would be "constructive".

I would hope that, in the event of a hung parliament, Clegg would form a government with whoever held the most parliamentary seats.

He is now indicating that he might not do so. I think this is the first mistake that Clegg has made in this election. He is now surely saying that a vote for him is a vote for Cameron, as we all know that Clegg can't actually win this election, as that's a mathematical impossibility.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson insisted the election was "wide open" but acknowledged that some former Labour voters were considering "looking elsewhere".

He told the Sunday Mirror: "You might start flirting with Nick Clegg, but that way you will end up marrying David Cameron.

"If they vote Lib Dem, they are making it easier for the Tories to get in."
I have advised friends who live in seats where the Liberal Democrats are challenging the Tories, to vote Lib Dem. I would actually love it were Clegg to win as I consider the Liberal Democrats to be to the left of New Labour. But the swing that would be required to bring that about is simply off the charts. Whether we like it or not we have a choice between Brown and Cameron and Clegg sounds like he's saying he wants to share power with Cameron.

That's a severe disappointment. Quite how Clegg thinks he can co-exist with Cameron is beyond me, as they come from politically different universes. Obviously, Clegg can hold back the worst of Cameron's excesses, but it's a blow that he appears unwilling to even consider power sharing with Brown.

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