WHITHER LIBDEMS ?

10 May 2010

I heard and read with incredulity that the Liberal Democrats were talking to the reactionary party, the Conservatives, about the possibility of an arrangement for government.

The fall in the Labour vote in Cornwall over the last few general elections is not wholly due to dissatisfaction with Labour; it is also about the successful persuading of Labour supporters that under our election system a Labour vote is a wasted vote and that only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories, a rational proposition if the Libdem party uses the lent Labour votes progressively. I think the Libdem parliamentary majorities in Cornwall rest on tactical voting by Labour supporters.

For the moment it looks as though a Con-Libdem government, a formal arrangement of Libdem support for the Conservatives or a sustaining one, might be off but let me clear: any Liberal Democrat prop for the Tories would be letting down all those Labour and left-centre people everywhere who lent the Libdems their tactical votes in order to frustrate the Tories.

If a Con-Lib arrangement were, even now, to come about, Labour tactical voters would unmistakably understand that if you vote Liberal Democrat you get Tory government.

This message would certainly be taken to the people of Cornwall; and as for the Libdems here, they would stand to lose every parliamentary seat in Cornwall as Labour supporters retrieved their lent votes.

I very much hope the talks between Labour and Liberal Democrats succeed and we get, what most voted for, a progressive government.

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