...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 4211: The Price for Dropping Lords Reform – VINCE FOR CHANCELLOR


...and Mr David Outlaws for Business Secretary.

(Let's spell that out clearly: the Liberal Democrats to get a WHOLE EXTRA CABINET MINISTER, and one of the Great Offices of State.)

It seems quite plain that a cabal of bitter Conservatories are determined to derail ANY of the Liberal Democrats parliamentary legislation.

But it's ALSO very evident that where we have Cabinet Ministers we have made a REAL difference.

And, most obvious of all, Mr Dr Vince "the Power" Cable is the only person COMPETENT, CAPABLE and most important TRUSTED to take charge of the British Economy.

So it's WIN-WIN-WIN.

WIN #1: Mr Dr Vince gets the job he was born to do.

(And Master Gideon might even thank us for putting him out of his misery. And, er, promoting him sideways to Conservatory Chairperson would give him licence to sink his teeth into Mr Bully Balls' ankles any time he wanted.)

WIN #2: The Prime Monster gets to STAMP some much need AUTHORITY on his Premiership AND look MAGNANIMOUS to BOTH SIDES (his backbenchers get a victory and we get a Ministry), while actually we get him out of a HOLE without losing (big red) face.

(If, as looks increasingly likely, Mr Balloon has lost any vestiges of control over the Conservatory Party, it may not even be within his gift to deliver on his promise of Tory votes to back Lords Reform. Yes, like all of his other promises it's not worth the cast-iron guarantee it's not printed on. But, as Prime Monster, the appointment of Ministers remains within his gift and Mendacious Mensch and Humpty Soames can't stop him no matter how many lies they tell.)

WIN #3: The Liberal Democrats' SHARE of influence in the Coalition is RESTATED and CONFIRMED.

Suggesting a FAIR DEAL quid pro quo is much more GROWN-UP and ROSE GARDEN than throwing about sulky threats to derail the Boundary Commission. It's a trade-off, not a tit-for-tat.

Remember, we want to show that Coalition WORKS. But also remember, Mr Balloon needs to show that Coalition works EVEN MORE. Because he's out of a job (and buried in a motorway flyover pillar) the very second that it fails.

Why Mr David Outlaws? I know in the past I have pushed for a FEMALE Liberal Cabinet Minister (and in a minute I will again) but to sugar this pill a little, I suggest reinstating "the Conservatories' favourite Liberal Democrat" would be the best way forwards. (Particularly as they can and will take it as a hint that the exile of their current darling, the swivel-eyed "Fantastic" Dr Fox, need not be forever.)

On the other fluffy foot, if we ARE going to do a full reshuffle, it might (FINALLY!) be time to promote Ms Lynne Featherweight to, er, Lynne Heavyweight! The Conservatories would probably want one of their own to take over from Mr Danny as Treasury Number Two (Mr Michael Borogrove probably – which would make an appropriate opening for Lady Lynne as Education Secretary). Alternatively, Lovely Sarah Teather to be promoted within the Education Department. Or even fabulous Ms Jo Winsome to do, well, just about anything!

I realise this leaves Mr Danny out in the cold. I like Danny very much but just now I think he would benefit from some time reconnecting to the Party (or decontaminating his reputation from accusations of having gone native at the Treasury), so I'd suggest a "senior Party position" – our "Minister for Newsnight" – perhaps also taking in charge of policy development for the 2015 manifesto.

I remain COMPLETELY CONVINCED that Parliament CANNOT heal the problems of Great Britain until first we heal the problems with Parliament itself, the gaping poisonous wound that is the shortfall in our democracy in BOTH Houses. But so long as the Labour Party are going to be TOTALLY TWO-FACED on this – first voting for reform with their right fluffy feet, then promising support to the reactionary rebels with their FAR-right fluffy feet – then we need to move the Coalition forward with short-term measures instead. Breaking the Coalition rewards Hard Labour Opportunists AND their deceitful partners on the Conservatory reactionary right.

We CAN still walk away. That definitely has to still be on the table, and Mr Balloon needs to have that made PRETTY DARN CLEAR to him. He can't expect to give in to his rebels and give us nothing – that is NOT being a Prime Monster and he'd very soon find that he WASN'T a Prime Monster any more.

But neither do we need to be so set in stone over the Coalition Agreement that we cannot continuously look at what we have to offer in exchange for changing those terms.

Everyone KNOWS that Vince is the best man for the job of Chancellor. So let's give him the job and move on.

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Andrew Hickey said...

I can't agree, I'm afraid. Even though we all *know* that Vince should be Chancellor, that's too high a price to pay for it. If we give up on Lords reform, we give up on the hope that we can *ever* fix our broken system -- because we've given up on the idea that *even in government* the Lib Dems can make a substantive difference to the constitution.

That means the only way Lords reform will *EVER* happen is if we get an actual Lib Dem majority government -- which we all know will never happen under the current system.

We simply can't let them win this one, no matter what concessions we get in exchange. If we do we're as good as giving up on the party ever making a real difference.

Andrew Hickey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Millennium Dome said...

Yeah, fair enough.

Millennium Dome said...

That was a bit grudging, wasn't it.

What I should have said was that Andrew is right and I'm persuaded by what he says, and what Dave Page says here:

Reform of Parliament is TOO important to horse-trade away.

Vince shoud still be Chancellor, though :)