'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Friday 14 March 2014

Why - if the maths are right - we'll form a coalition with Labour, not the Tories, post 2015

We're very fond of thinking - indeed, there seems almost a presumption - that come the 2015 General Election, there will be another hung Parliament, and we'll be back in government. Of course, this isn't necessarily the case, and for over 3 years now, the polling figures translated into a a GE result indicate a Labour majority.

But, as the economy improves and we can nearer the crucial date, polls are shifting and the Dan Hodges rule comes in to play. The Dan Hodges 'rule' - which I tend to broadly agree with  - says...

1. Half of current UKIP support will go back to Tories
2. Lib Dems will rise to 15%
3. This support will come from Labour.

With the latest polling looking like this.. (H/t to Mike Smithson at Political betting)

...under the Hodges rule we would end up with Labour having most seats, Tories having most votes, and us having the balance of power. In which case, Nick has to make a call.

But does he? Probably not.

Partly this is because it seems generally accepted - although i've never seen Nick confirm this - that when we say we will talk first to the 'biggest' party after 2015, we mean seats, not votes. Although this is an odd position for the party of PR to take.

But as George Eaton points out, there is a ready made programme for government already laid out in shared police positions between the Lib Dems and Labour - 13 fine White Papers, all in the offing.

They include

- A referendum on EU membership the next time any powers are transferred (and support for an "in" vote)
- The introduction of a mansion tax on property values above £2m 
- The reduction of the voting age to 16 
- The removal of Winter Fuel Payments from wealthy pensioners 
- A 2030 decarbonisation target 
- An elected House of Lords
- Greater oversight of the intelligence services 
- Radical devolution from Westminster to local authorities and city regions
- Party funding reform
- An end to unqualified teachers in state schools 
- A ban on for-profit free schools 
- Tougher banking regulation and the potential separation of banks' retail and investment arms 
- A mass housebuilding programme, including new social housing 
- The Human Rights Act

Contrast this with the Tories, where we (quite rightly ) boast of all the Tory initiatives we have stopped,  David Cameron says he has a little Black Book of legislation he wants to get done but can't with us in the way, the unhappiness on the Tory backbenchers, and the fact that - whisper it - there will be little legislation of consequence over the next 12 months of government, as things have really run out of steam (the Scottish referendum notwithstanding).

Given all that - if we are in government in May 2015 - I am increasingly convinced it will be with Labour.

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