Even before the Eastleigh result was announced it had become clear that strong Liberal Democrat and UKIP campaigning has the potential to crush Conservative support from both sides. Many Conservative seats throughout England could fall to one party or the other given the right co-ordination of UKIP and Liberal Democrat strategy. Even where the Liberal Democrats could not win, the Conservatives could be sufficiently weakened to hand a seat to UKIP, and vice versa.
While of course UKIP and the Liberal Democrats have big policy differences, most notably on Europe, if there is one thing we have learned from being in coalition, it is that it is right to work with your opponents when there is a common cause to be found. Thus LDV can exclusively reveal that in a series of secret meetings, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have hammered out a deal which could transform the political landscape in 2015.
Lib Dem strategists have alerted the party to a startling possibility – that the above strategy creates a perfect storm for the Conservatives, almost all of whose support falls either into the economic liberal camp occupied by the Liberal Democrats, or the “stop the world I want to get off” camp of UKIP. Sources within the Conservatives talk darkly of a party about to tear itself apart over issues such as equal marriage and the government’s failure to cut taxes for the rich. This would lead to a previously overlooked outcome in 2015 – a hung Parliament, with Liberal Democrats and UKIP jointly holding a majority in the House of Commons. If so, the national interest will demand a coalition is formed, and this is what Clegg and Farage are determined to be ready for.
Party leaders took advantage of the recent by-election to meet with their aides in the upstairs room of a CAMRA recommended pub just outside Eastleigh. They agreed to closely examine each party’s policies to find potential areas of agreement on which they could build a Coalition Pact. Chris Davies for the Liberal Democrats and Roger Helmer for UKIP were dispatched to start this process, which, LDV understands, they completed over chips and mayonnaise in a Brussels bar. Initial soundings suggest that these policies are being considered:
- Hold the “in/out” referendum on the EU. Each party will campaign on opposite sides, but both have agreed to respect the result
- Introduce a flat tax – which can be progressive given a high enough threshold – and raise the threshold for income tax and NI to the level of the minimum wage
- Introduce a holiday tax on all package holidays taken outside the UK.
- Give every child a bottle of milk and an apple, and give their parent 20 Nectar points every day that the child attends school.
- Revert to British imperial units as the standard forms of measurement.
- Give parents the absolute right to choose the school their child should attend. All schools must offer places to all the children who apply. The maximum permissible class size will rise to 50. Older pupils may be used as teachers’ assistants in larger classes. Individual desks with lids and storage for books will replace group tables in order to fit the children in.
- Based on the academy model in education, allow customers of pubs to vote in a binding referendum on whether they should become free houses.
- Reduce the waiting time to three weeks for the repair of potholes over 2 inches deep.
- Extend the citizen’s power of arrest by issuing one pair of handcuffs to everyone over the age of 18.
It is believed that further top-level talks will be held at the Larif Pool Hotel in Ibiza in August.