Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Red Faces at the Grauniad

Everyone's favourite typo, The Guardian, ran a strange bit of fluff by a "staff reporter" this morning reporting that Gordon Brown has been in discussions with Ming Campbell, the Leader of the Lib Dems, about Liberal Democrats taking places in a future Labour Cabinet.
This unattributed report has been categorically denied by Ming and every other front bench spokesman who could get themselves on the airwaves this morning.
It won't happen - end of!
Gordon Brown is an old-style Labour centralist with a strong authoritarian streak, not to mention a penchant for bullying and control-freakery. How anyone could seriously suggest that our party would get into his ample bed, I can't imagine.
This story has been picked up by David Davies and others on the Town Liar, and given a Darlington slant. Interestingly, David, "The Darlington Tory", is flying a kite that the local Conservatives might be looking for places in a Labour Cabinet in return for forming a united front against the prospect of an elected mayor.
Well, Labour and the Tories have formed an unholy alliance in Stockton, which sensibly the local Liberal Democrats and Independents have kept well out of, so I suppose anything's possible!

Just don't hold your breath waiting for the Lib Dems to ride in to prop up any other party's ambitions in Darlington. We are a spiky, independent, liberal and democratic party with a clearly defined and unique set of policies; propping up the old parties is not on the agenda.


Darlington Councillor said...

Hmmm. I wonder where the red faces are this morning, Mike, in light of the Telegraph's follow-up that Lord Pantsdown (sorry - Paddy Ashdown) was offered a place in Gordon Brown's Cabinet, together with two other named peers?

It would appear that your Leader "who was still mulling over the proposal with senior colleagues" (dare I say dithering?) was then bounced into ruling it out when it became public and a predictable backlash in your Party's ranks began.

Gordon is trying to give his incoming Government a fresh look with that most elusive of political phenomena the "Cabinet of all the talents" and according to the Telegraph is even talking to some Tories...

Aeres said...

Playing devil's advocate a little here, but is there not a slight irony in a party that has been at the forefront of the proportional representation movement are effectively turning down an (admittedly very small) movement towards coalition? My limited understanding of the subject would lead me to believe that PR would undoubtedly result in a mixture at the top table.

Like the blog Mike, great that so many of these are springing up (although my boss at work might not agree....)

Mike Barker said...

Nick: more perhaps a case of Gordon trying to stir things up in our Party. Paddy did, after all, turn it down straight away, as Gordon must have known he would.
However, I think it is fair to say there is some disquiet in our party about the wisdom of Ming being quite so close to Gordon in the Fife mafia.

Aeres: I think there's a distinction to be drawn between a situation following an election where there is no overall majority for any one party, when Lib Dems locally and nationally would be prepared to enter a coalition on the basis of an agreed policy platform which includes our own policy preferences, and a situation, as at Westminster (and Darlington) at the moment, where Labour have a clear majority and where any overtures to opposition MPs (or Peers) or councillors would be done to support a Labour executive, or give a veneer of cross-party accomodation.
I can't see Labour at Westminster or in Darlington being interested in forming a true coalition, where opposition policies form part of an agreed platform.

Darlington Tory said...

Mike, I never said the tories were 'looking'.

But I do think New Labour are scrabbling about for a political partner in the quest to remain in control.

As the Lib/Dems voted against a referendum I would have thought Labour would have come to you first.

A control freaks worst nightmare is to lose control.

So both the Lib/Dems and the Tories may have a knock on the door soon.