The House Magazine has a new feature out looking at the likely political fallout from Thursday’s elections and referendum. It looks at both a Yes or a No vote, including this from me on future Lib Dem / Labour relations:
At the launch of the Yes2AV campaign, a tantalising glimpse into the future was offered for those who dream of a unification of the progressive left. On the stage at Methodist Central Hall sat Labour leader Ed Miliband, Green leader Caroline Lucas, and Liberal Democrat stalwarts Charles Kennedy and Shirley Williams. And Tim Farron, Lib Dem party president and a likely future leadership contender, was there too. However, Mark Pack, co-editor of Lib Dem Voice, warns against reading too much into the apparent bonhomie. “Coalitions are driven by parliamentary arithmetic far more than by politicians’ own preferences,” Pack says. “So the answer really depends on the public rather than how relations between politicians are affected by the referendum.
It also quotes Olly Grender on the possible policy implications of a No vote:
If the referendum is lost, then disgruntled Lib Dem backbenchers will be keen to contribute to a ‘shopping list’ for Nick Clegg to take to David Cameron. Insiders say the plans to reform the NHS will become a priority, while proposals for reform of the Upper House will be published at the end of the month. Olly Grender, former communications chief for the Lib Dems, sets out the desired gains from the NHS and Social Care Bill:
“There should be clear safeguards regarding the issue of competition and the private sector, and funding should be secured on the understanding that reform and reduction are impossible to achieve together,” Grender argues. “There should also be a change of pace regarding the introduction of GP consortia.” Further goals, says Grender, should include “a faster drive towards the increased threshold of £10,000 helping people on lowest incomes during the toughest times”, while greater safeguards of critical public services – “whilst continuing to try to pay down the deficit” – should, she says, be put in place. On top of House of Lords reform, Grender argues, climate change and social mobility need greater emphasis.
I’ve talked in more detail about what to watch out for in Thursday’s results in this YouTube clip:
(I recorded the video for my regular email newsletter about the Liberal Democrats. You can sign up to receive them by email yourself here.)