Friday, 10 September 2010

Liberal Democrats, Bottom of the Food Chain?

Reported today by the BBC ( the Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP, is making overtures to rebels within the Liberal Democrats. The Greens, who polled half the the votes the BNP got and only a quarter of that scored by UKIP, are in an interesting position when it comes to poaching possible defectors thanks to their single seat within the House of Commons, making them seem like a realistic haven for any rebels.

The Liberal Democrats themselves are a funny bunch, Drifting from the centre to the left of the political spectrum the 57 Lib Dems could potentially defect to a vast array of parties that would be happy to get some representation in the Commons or score points against the Tories junior partner.

The Green Party - Caroline Lucas' elevation to MP was considered one of the historic moments of the 2010 General Election, but with only one seat and failure to take control of Norwich City Council from Labour, it seems that the Green's momentum is starting to dissipate. Managing to snag a Lib Dem rebel would not only be a blow to the Coalition, but also provide Caroline Lucas with a PR bonanza as the Greens could legitimately market themselves as a true alternative to the Big Three and hopefully have some Lib Dems supporters follow their rebel MP.

The Liberal Party - Seen by the Lib Dems as a splinter group but in their eyes they are the remnant and true heirs to the Liberal Party of old. Should a Lib Dem defect to the Liberals, other than providing their first (or first in a long time) seat in the Commons, could be a huge problem as the Liberal can argue to embody what the Lib Dems gave up going into government with the Conservatives.

SNP/Plaid - Any Scottish or Welsh Lib Dems always have the option to catch the nationalist bug and the Celtic Bloc would love to be in a better position to criticise the cuts the Coalition will be sending to their respective Devolved bodies.

English Democrats/Mebyon Kernow - the Nationalists that aren't so fortunate when it comes to the polls would likely relish the chance to get some representation, even if it is just for one parliament. The advertisement it would be for their parties could help them build their support bases by making their parties seem like a credible option in the eyes of the voter who believes that a vote outside the Big Three is wasted.

Labour - Joining Labour is always the option for rebels seeking safety in numbers and with Labour standing to benefit from the Coalition Financial hatchet-men, it make sense to jump ship to those who are likely to reap the benefits come the next elections.

In the end it all really comes down to where any rebels fall in terms of policies and who they feel they can retain their seat with. I focused this post on the lib dems defecting because with the current situation the Lib dems seem the most disillusioned with their place in the political narrative and the idea of creating a big splash by defecting to a previously non-existant political power could put them high up in any small party's heirarchy.

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