Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Liberals resist headless chicken hysteria at "bums on seats" story

Nick Clegg was very robust on Radio Four's PM concerning the possibility of LibDems in a Brown cabinet - "It's not going to happen" is what he and Ming said. It is very difficult to think of any greater level of denial. This is confirmed by the Guardian story of this afternoon:

Sir Menzies Campbell today confirmed that he had had private discussions with Gordon Brown, but ruled out the prospect of any Liberal Democrats serving in the new prime minister's first cabinet.

The Telegraph confirms this with a quote:

Sir Menzies sought to scotch that rumour today by saying: "There is no prospect of any Liberal Democrat joining the Government."

Labour's defence is that co-operation was discussed on Monday between Campbell and Brown. But This is London sums up the long and the short of it:

A senior foreign policy role for Lord Ashdown was discussed, but the proposal stalled when Sir Menzies said he could not allow anyone in his party to formally take jobs in a Labour administration.

But Sir Menzies did agree that the two parties could work on an all-party convention to discuss Britain's constitution.

So, big deal. Nick Robinson made a good point:

It's always worth asking in whose interests this story was? The answer's clear, I think - Gordon Brown's. He wants to signal "a new politics" and what better way for this most tribal of Labour figures than to invite his political opponents into the Brown-ite version of the Big Tent.

The other thing is: if you want to send us good old Liberals into a fit of discombobulated headless-chicken-like mouth-foaming membership-card tearing-up-threatening hysteria; start talking about a LibLab pact and "Bums on seats". Fortunately, this time we seem to have kept our heads on. Well done, Team!


  1. If the story is in Brown's interests, why is it that it has been the Tory blogosphere that has been trying to make something of this non-story for the last few weeks?

    I suspect Robinson is too close to the Tories to finger the real manufacturers of this one.

  2. I suspect the Tories are making big of it because he hurts us to repeat "Vote LibDem get Labour" five thousand times, even if it isn't true.

  3. What an opportunity for us to have a really good old go!

    We should of said -'Thanks but no thanks - very flattering - but we think Labour (G Brown) should really be asking the Conservatives to join the Labour Govt as they have much more in common than with us.'