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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Dark Lord is still spinning

Lord Mandelson appears to have pulled off at least the half-chance of continuing the nu-Labour regime that little bit longer.

Perhaps this is not the wisest move for Labour. Whoever comes in must make cuts, deep and severe cuts.

And they'd have to do so propped up by at least one other party in the Lib Dems, who could walk at any time. And in Labour's case, a few assorted other fellow travellers too.

Such an arrangement would give the Liberals the PR they want (like our presidential electoral system) but would be exceedingly fragile. This appears to be the main reason why the Liberals have permitted Westminster posh boy Clegg his flirtation with the Tories.

While Brown remained in charge of Labour, he remained a block on such a Lib-Lab pact. Mandelson now appears to have unblocked that in dramatic fashion tonight. Or was it perhaps a last throw of the dice by Brown himself, putting party and country first?

Either way, it's now a live option. The Liberals need only swallow hard, suck up the approprium of the Tory press, and cut the deal.

The alternative is now to prop up a minority Tory government, as coalition was never likely there, on the basis of a slender promise to examine electoral reform.

Not an easy choice, and getting harder for Clegg by the minute. Walking away from the Tories would please his party but not the press or many of the people.

This election has made life very difficult for all three parties. And all the available options provide concern for each of those parties.

But from an Irish point of view, there's little doubt that a coalition of Labour and the Liberals which included nationalists from the Celtic fringes is a wet dream for most Irish people.

And the alternative, Tories propped up by the DUP, doesn't bear thinking about.

This will likely result in bitter recriminations one way or the other. But if those recriminations are heard loudest from the Tory press and the Cameroons, then likely Gordon Brown and his dark Lord will consider today's stunning events to be a political masterstroke.

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