David Blackburn

Electoral reform is the deal maker

Electoral reform is the deal maker
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Former Tory MP and current associate editor of Conservative Home, Paul Goodman, has analysed where Cameron and Clegg can accommodate one another. It’s a must-read and gives enough hope that Cameron and Clegg may ally to keep a thoroughly discredited Labour party from office.

The Tories and Lib Dems share common ground on the bland areas of policy; and, as one expects, they diverge over more contentious issues. Much is made of Clegg and Cameron’s passion for all things green and renewable. This encompasses such thrilling pastures as home insulation, carbon capture and emissions targets. The grander aspects of energy policy will necessitate accommodation through compromise. Does Britain’s energy security lie in nuclear power or a European supergrid?

Day to day government is the business of home insulation, not supergrids. Disagreement becomes insurmountable on the rare occasions when principle interferes with mundane practice. Tax reform would seem to be one such factor; but, as tax is likely to rise rather than be reformed in the short-term, that set-to would probably not arise n the crucial first 6 months of nay deal. Equally, how often does foreign policy or debate about EU reform affect the daily work government? If Cameron offers Clegg a referendum on voting reform, a move that would prove he represents a new form of politics that empowers the people, a deal or even a coalition could follow. And as the balance of power lies with Cameron's more substantial mandate, he would control the deal.