..and so the General Election campaign descends simply into an argument over who Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democarats would ‘prop up’ in a hung Parliament. If they veer towards Labour: it’s vote Clegg, get Brown. If the Tories make overtures: it’s vote Clegg, get Cameron.
In the middle of this all, the Lib Dems hint that electoral reform should be on some future agenda for them to be wooed effectively. Clegg uses the word ‘hard-wired’ a lot, so maybe he wants to “hard-wire fairness” into the electoral system with a bit of proportional representation. After all, he was emphatic in interviews on Sunday that if Labour take the most seats at next week’s General Election BUT receive the less votes overall, the party should not be able to keep its Prime Minister. ‘Potty and preposterous’ was his choice of words on the Andrew Marr Show. Brown would be ‘squatting’.
But would the Lib Dems (or any other party for that matter) be happy to follow that logic in Camden. In the history of the 2006 local elections the often forgotten fact is that the Labour Party did not come third and actually got more votes than any other party across the borough.
That day when the party in Camden was wiped out, obliterated, humiliated, whatever dramatic word you want to you, more people actually went into the polling station on May 4 2006 and marked their cross next to a Labour candidate.
Yet, by virtue of the electoral system, they ended up with two less seats on the council than the Lib Dems and have spent the last four years in opposition at the Town Hall.
Another day, another system (and probably one advocated by the Lib Dems and one more in line with Clegg’s arithmetic): Labour could have retained power in Camden or at least been the lead partner in a coalition administration.