I’ve been speculating about Gordon Brown’s willingness to trade with the Lib Dems about PR for a while. Seems like The Economist is catching up now.
A more enticing prospect beckons, however. The chances of expanding the number of Lib Dem MPs beyond the present 63 may be low but those of a hung parliament have rarely been higher. It is difficult to imagine this determinedly leftish party making common cause with the Tories, however cuddly Mr Cameron may be. Nor would it be willing to do more than help a defeated Labour Party govern for a year or two.
But, whisper it quietly, some senior Lib Dems think that Mr Brown may already be pondering the pros and cons of changing the voting system in exchange for a more formal and lasting alliance with their party. There are plenty of Labour MPs who believe in “fair votes” and support the recommendation of the Jenkins Commission that the current first-past-the-post system be made a bit more like the proportional representation that the Lib Dems have long campaigned for.
A deal along lines such as these would revive Tony Blair’s old dream of creating an electorally unbeatable “progressive” coalition in Britain. Sir Ming and Mr Brown are often seen together on the Edinburgh plane from London. Having waited for a decade to get to Number 10, what might not Mr Brown be willing to do to stay there?
Hattip – Bagehot, The Economist