>The BBC is reporting that our negotiations with the Labour Party are on the road to nowhere.
It sounds therefore that some sort of deal, whether it’s confidence and supply, or a full coalition, is likely with the Tories. Some might say that we’re on the road to hell.
I know that if this actually happens, it’s really going to upset a fair few party members. Good people whose feet still bear the battle blisters and who are still suffering the pain of defeat will feel betrayed. Membership cards will be ripped up. Folk will be angry. They will say that they’ll never vote for us again and no doubt YouGov will do a poll in a couple of days which will show us tanking. There’s no doubt about that. Whatever the outcome, to be honest, though, it would have been the same.
Whatever happens, I’ll stick around. Believe me, the reason I know people are going to hurt is because I hurt. I come from Scotland where the Tories are about as welcome as the Bubonic Plague so dealing with them at Westminster is not without its risks to say the least. I lived through the 80s and 90s and I don’t want my daughter to spend her formative years under a Tory Government. That said, I still have faith in our people who have been negotiating, though. They are good, principled men and they will have done all that they could to secure the principles on which we fought the election: fair taxes, cleaning up politics, building a green, sustainable economy and ensuring a fair start for every child.
Labour will go into hysterical overdrive, and I’m sure they’ll conveniently forget in the process that they run a Council administration with the Tories in East Dunbartonshire. They can also reflect on the fact that by the sounds of it they were not prepared to offer anything other than their manifesto. You don’t go into negotiations in that spirit. Their attitude has been all wrong from the start of this, expecting us to meekly fall into line behind them because they weren’t the Tories, using the same bullying tactics on the SNP to dare them not to vote with the Conservatives. And don’t take any nonsense from the SNP either – they’ve relied on Tory support more than once to get their measures through Holyrood.
The reason that the Tories were so vile in my teenage years is that they had unchecked power, stonking majorities in both Houses of Parliament. They could do what they wanted. Now, our challenge is to show that we can take the sting out of the Tories. If we can do that, then maybe politics can become healthier at Westminster level in Scotland and maybe people will realise that coalition government is actually a good thing. So, if we can’t get STV by negotiation, maybe we can build the case for it by giving a good account of ourselves in Government.
It’s important to note as well that we are a democratic party and the deal has to be approved by 75% of the MPs and 75% of the Federal Executive, who are accountable to the Federal Conference.
Of course the negotiations with the Tories could fall apart and no deal reached and we could do what I would prefer, make a deal with nobody and vote issue by issue in the Parliament but that’s looking increasingly unlikely.
So, I have chocolate and red wine on standby to help with the pain, but I guess we have to focus on the fact that we may well be about to see the first Government with Liberal Democrats in it ever. Surely that alone is a reason for hope.