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Lib Dems in next week’s cabinet?

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

Gordon Brown and Sir Menzies CampbellThis morning, The Guardian reveals that Mr Brown and Sir Menzies have been having talks about Lib Dems potentially featuring in Mr Brown’s cabinet, when he announces it next Wednesday. It’s an interesting plan. It would, of course, be fantastic to see two parties working together despite their differences, for the good of the country. It would be a laudable example of rising above party politics. But I can’t see it happening, because I can’t see the advantage for the Lib Dems.

It’s clear what’s in it for Labour: A virtually guaranteed win at the next election, an appearance of true cross-party working, and some very capable ministers.

But what’s in it for the Lib Dems? They lose the power to properly attack the government, they will inevitably be blamed for blunders while Labour takes the credit for successes, and it damages any perception anyone might have had of them as a potential government in their own right. They lose the advantages of opposition, without really gaining any real influence. They would also lose a certain degree of advantage when it comes to negotiations for a coalition government following the next election, should one be necessary.

Media speculation that this might happen, however, is very clearly beneficial to both parties. It paints Mr Brown as someone willing to break with tradition and party politics in order to find the right people for the right jobs, and it paints the Lib Dems as a party taken seriously enough for it’s shadow ministers to be considered for the top jobs.

If nothing comes of the speculation, really no political damage is done to Mr Brown, but it allows the Lib Dems to harp on about turning down potential power in favour of standing up for their principles – or else, they could both deny that the talks ever took place, which would be even less damaging to Mr Brown, and of no harm or benefit to Sir Menzies – so they’d both have gained a free bit positive media coverage.

So I reckon the mutually beneficial media speculation is as far as this will go. Sir Menzies isn’t a fool, and I can’t see him agreeing to something that would move his party backwards. But he and Mr Brown are good friends, and there’s every reason to think that they might have put their heads together and hatched this plan which gives them both a bit of good PR – great for Mr Brown as he’s entering the job, and great for Sir Menzies to help quieten the mutterings about him in his own party.

I don’t see a Lib Dem in next week’s cabinet. But I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.

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