>2 different parties, 2 beds, 1 proper coalition


There have been a lot of mutterings, particularly from the Conservative Party’s powerful backbench 1922 Committee, about a Lib Dem/Conservative merger or electoral pact. The issue has been bought to a head due to the parties that make up the current coalition government having separate candidates in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, and some accusing PM David Cameron of holding back the Tories attempts to replace Phil Woolas.

The idea of an electoral pact misses the point of a coalition entirely. The Oxford Mini Dictionary defines coalition as: “n. a temporary union of political parties”. Temporary. Super Shirley Williams, when asked by the Guardianista what is was like being in bed with the Tories, famously replied Not one bed. Two beds.” Coalitions involve separate entities coming together, and normally coming up with a better collection of policies than either generated on their own. That certainly seems to be the case in the current coalition.

The Tory barmy right, the Lib Dem looney left, and the whole Labour party, seem to have missed the point entirely, and are undermining what is in fact a highly effective  coalition government. Coalition government doesn’t mean a merger, it means finding out what is in the middle circle of the relevant parties’ policy venn-diagram. By definition it must be made up of multiple parties, different parties, that work together, not join together ’til death do us part.

It may make sense for the Lib Dems and Conservatives not to compete in Westminster by elections until 2015, but the government and democracy now or in 2015 would not be strengthened by an electoral pact. Furthermore, why on Earth are backbench MPs worrying about 2015 when they should be worrying about their constituents? The media are to blame to an extent for creating a misleading narrative obsessed with division not compromise, despite calling for a more grown up politics post expenses, and Labour are lapping it up.

MPs and the media should have a new years resolution to get on with either being in government or scrutinising it, instead of obsessing over what this government is.


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