January 2, 2015


A Tory-Labour unity coalition may be the only way forward after 7 May (Ian Birrell, 1/02/15, The Guardian)

A government of national unity between Labour and the Conservatives may sound far-fetched, especially amid the froth and fury of a nascent election campaign. It would certainly be tricky, exacerbating internal divisions and leading to more defections. Yet, while there are serious disagreements, the two parties have more in common with each other than with the insurgents on many key issues - especially if David Cameron survived and Miliband was replaced by someone such as Chuka Umunna.

Elections are a form of crowdsourcing, the wisdom of crowds ensuring the result reflects national desire. Britain did not trust Neil Kinnock in 1992, then was desperate to kick out the Tories five years later. By 2010, the nation wanted Gordon Brown out and Cameron in, but was wary of claims of Tory modernisation - rightly, as it turned out. Yet now, a sceptical electorate does not want to hand either party untrammelled control of the country.

In keeping with the current mood, a national government would see Cameron remain prime minister and the Tories retain control of the Treasury (replicating how Labour held both posts in 1931). Labour's leader would be deputy prime minister, with the party overseeing education and health, although presumably it would need to revert to its previous stance on private sector involvement.

Regardless of the personalities and positions, however, the two parties could start to hammer out those huge issues confronting the nation that conventional politics seems incapable of solving. These include the creation of a modern political system, the resolution of Britain's haphazard drift into federalism and a workable funding solution to save the creaking NHS.

They should just run together on a platform of accelerating Third Way reforms.

Posted by at January 2, 2015 1:22 PM

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