Today's Herald carries a report which states fairly categorically that a Conservative Cabinet Minister has confirmed that there will be some level of electoral pact between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives at the 2015 General Election.
What a load of complete and utter nonsense!
I suspect that every campaign in every seat, every by-election will be scrutinised in greater detail than ever before to see whether one party seems to be soft-pedalling. You would think by now that journalists would know that squeezing the vote of the party in third place is an essential part of winning any seat. The Party in third, particularly if they are a long way behind, are highly unlikely to throw the kitchen sink at their campaign. This is exactly why we need a fairer voting system, because most of our votes don't actually count. At least a yes vote in the Alternative Vote referendum in May this year would ensure that MPs had to secure the support of 50% of voters, and not be elected on barely a third of the votes cast, which is maybe only a fifth of the electorate as they are now.
If you subscribe to the notion that the Lib Dems and the Tories are heading for a bit of electoral footsie and flirtation, then you have to assume that the Tories have gone soft in the head. This is not a bunch of cuddly teddy bears we're dealing with. They will be going hell for leather to secure an overall majority in 2015, and will fight us, and we them, to the best of our abilities.
So why are Tory Cabinet ministers apparently briefing the press that there will be a pact? Well, it's quite mischievous, because it does us a lot more harm than it does them. By undermining our independence, they hope to scare off not just our voters, but our activists, leftie peace loving hippies like me. Just think about it. They want, they need to win some seats in the south west if they are going to secure a majority. They think that the AV referendum will be lost, so they'll be fighting under the current system. They want to put about the whiff of an electoral pact, and get it sort of accepted as fact, by 2015 to try to send some of our voters into the arms of Ed Miliband. A rising Labour vote in the South West under the current system will help nobody but......the Conservatives. And it's not going to do us much good where we are trying to gain seats from Labour either.
So, I think the Tories are just stirring it for their own electoral gain. You don't hear any of this sort of talk from Liberal Democrats and nor will you, for very good reason. The Tories know fine there will be no pact, but they think it's in their interests to inculcate the idea that there is into the national psyche.
Governing in the national interest with them for five years is one thing, but there won't be any turning the business arrangement into an office affair. We are likely to be offering very different ideas for the future in 2015 and each party will be trying to win as many seats as possible. The Herald might like to reflect on motive, rather than just excitedly print everything it's told as if it were Holy Writ.