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.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Shadow Labour Cabinet Tactical Assessment

With the Labour Conference drawing nearer, Labour will soon have it's new leader but also the Parliamentary Labour Party will choose which MPs the New Leader will get to form their Shadow Cabinet.

Obviously with a Leadership contest on, this could mean that whoever wins will have to form a Cabinet including all 4 of their defeated Rivals. But would these Leadership contenders be an asset or a hindrance to the Leader of the Opposition.

Andy Burnham - When it comes to the Former Health Secretary let's be honest, he hasn't a hope of becoming Leader and I think he knows it, He will hope to use his participation in the Leadership contest to ensure his place in the Shadow Cabinet, though he may find himself with a low profile portfolio. Asset to the New leader as the Leadership contest has raised his profile making him more recognisable to the Public.

Ed Miliband - The Former Energy Secretary, though one of the more likely winners of the Leadership contest he is almost guaranteed a place in the shadow cabinet with his popularity among Labour supporters. For anyone but David Miliband, Ed will probably be cast a very long shadow over the leader with his High Profile, If David wins the Leadership however expect to see Ed with a High Profile Portfolio, possibly even the foreign brief.

Diane Abbott - Unlikely to win the leadership but may place well due to the voting system in place, if she can parley her popularity into a Shadow Cabinet seat it would be a create win for the Labour Left. Her Career and leadership bid are based around her being outside the established Labour, being part of the Shadow Cabinet she could be a problem for any Leader due to her more maverick nature. Likely to be given the Equality brief depending on if Yvette Cooper is still in the Shadow Cabinet if Ed Balls wins, whether her would move his wife. On the plus side she has a very high profile with the public thanks to her numerous television appearances.

Ed Balls - Ed Balls looks likely to become the next economics powerhouse of the Labour Party, it has already been suggested that he a David Miliband have an agreement which would install Mr Balls in the Shadow Chancellorship though he would also be useful in education where he already crippled Education Gove in the first weeks of the Coalition government over the School's list with battering attacks. Likely to be an Asset to any Leader in regards to his combative ability which he has maintained even while running a leadership Campaign. Though he will is likely yo be a stubborn force within the Shadow Cabinet much like Brown was for Blair in government.

David Miliband - If neither Miliband win expect David to considered a serious threat to whosoever occupies the Leadership, He was the one pushed to topple Brown and any leader will face huge difficulties in trying to give David a portfolio which is not Frontline. David would most likely wish to hold onto his foreign brief where he already has experience and a good reputation on the International Stage. Though a potential threat his High Profile is an asset to the opposition and the threat of him may act as encouragement for the New Leader to work harder.

The Shadow Cabinet will be without Jack Straw and Alistair Campbell who have both decided to withdraw to the back Benches, and the Labour Party have guaranteed that at least six women will be in the shadow Cabinet. Harriet Harman will remain as Deputy leader obviously, but will Ed Balls' wife Yvette Cooper make the cut?