Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Holyrood haggling

Weekends away always throw me out, which is why the blog has not been updated much in the last few days.

So I will just commend two excellent posts by James Graham on quaequam blog about policy-making and the pros and cons of continued coalition with Labour in Scotland. But a word of warning to James - considered and analytical posts like these risk entirely destroying your reputation as "crass, boorish and more a bruiser than blogger”.

I have wondered what would happen if in the next Holyrood election the Liberal Democrats became the second largest party - we finished second in Scotland in the popular vote in the 2005 general election.

It is normally only in exceptional circumstances that the two largest parties in a parliament will form a coalition together leaving the opposition a tiny rump. Such things can seem like an organised conpiracy against the public - depriving them of a potential alternative government to vote for.

At Blackpool conference to quiz a leading MSP about this and was surprised to see that it hadn't even registered as a potential problem.


James said...

Both those posts skirted around "day job" themes, which I have to be more careful about. But in my defence I did preface them by a gratuitous post about Tony Greaves as Prince Vultan from Flash Gordon!

Stephen Glenn said...

That Scottish point is an interesting one.

I trust that our party will again be democratic about any decision about entering a coalition of not and put it to the vote with representatives of all the local parties. I have even heard rumours that the Labour local parties are also seeking some more democratic representation over future coalition decisions however nothing has been formalised yet.

Having talked to a number of people in the Scottish party there is great consideration that we have proved ourselves to be effective in Government and that if we were match our Westminster results and come second in number of seat we should not be ashamed of going into opposition.

There is of course always the possibility that if Labour were the majority party other coalitions might me discussed that could more effectively run Holyrood. Every thing depends very much on how many seats they would actually be short of forming an adminsistration. If there are what apopears to be the start of seismic shifts in their heartlands all sort of possiblities spring forth.