I’m deeply sceptical about Ed Miliband’s statement that he wouldn’t go into coalition with the Lib Dems under Nick Clegg.
Hopi thinks Miliband is spot on, though. He makes several very sound points, mostly boiling down to the fact that Clegg is the absolute embodiment of the Lid Dems’ rightward shift, their working with the Tories and their championing of a government agenda largely defined against Labour’s record. Hopi thinks that “whatever future relationship Labour and the Lib Dems may have, Nick Clegg won’t be part of it”.
This is probably true. But I still think Miliband was wrong.
In effect, he’s said that in the event of another hung parliament, the Lib Dem leader’s only option will be to do another deal with the Tories and ignore Labour. Lib Dems who’d prefer a coalition with Labour are being told that they’d have to dump their leader. Remember the weekend after the election when Clegg was swanning around demanding a new Labour leader? Remember, even given the limited support for Brown, how little the party liked getting an ultimatum like that from an opponent?
It may well be that Clegg and Labour couldn’t work together. But for Miliband to come out with it so bluntly would do serious damage to Labour’s negotiating position in another hung parliament. And it pushes the Tories and Lib Dems closer together.
In other news: I will definitely be voting for a Miliband as leader, although as yet I’m not sure which. I’m observing their tactics, reading their speeches and so on, but what I keep coming back to is whether the incipient white patch at the front of David’s hair or Ed’s ghost of a lisp comes across more oddly. I am shallow.