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The obvious tactic for Mr Clegg is to try to cut a deal with the Labour leadership, over the terms of the programme motion to limit the times of debate. If that can be done then the right wing of the Conservative Party becomes irrelevant on the issue. The question is do the Labour leadership care more about implementing their own constitutional reform agenda or undermining the coalition by playing partisan games?
In 1922 the Lloyd George coalition, of Liberals and Conservatives, broke up because Conservative backbenchers and junior ministers had had enough of the Welsh wizard. The Tories repudiated the pro-coalition leadership of Austen Chamberlain, at the famous meeting at the Carlton Club (commemorated in the name of the 1922 Committee, the caucus of Tory MPs).
During the 1930s the Conservative right wing resented being marginalised by the need for the National government. However Stanley Baldwin had the political skill and popularity to manage his party, so as to avoid the government being blown up by a Tory rebellion.
The question is, will Cameron be more like Austen Chamberlain or Stanley Baldwin? I suspect the answer is Chamberlain, but we will see.
I think Labour want Lords Reform in principle, but not this reform and especially not at that price
keep to the Fen Causeway
The proposed Lords reform doesn't reflect the details of the reform proposed in the Labour manifesto. There's no reason for them to vote for it.
Further, stopping the Conservatives gerrymandering has to be a priority if we want to remain a democratic country.
The most likely outcome is that Labour will move the goalposts, as much as they need, to avoid reaching a Lords compromise.
We will then have to see if the Liberal Democrats are bluffing, on voting down the Commons boundary changes. I think, given the timescale, that they probably are but trying to play hardball politics and not going through with a threat is going to look appallingly weak.
This is one of the many evils of the UK electoral system. Another, minor, evil is the endless bickering over gerrymandering. A much greater issue is that the system no doubt favours economic disparities between territories.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
At that point the LibDem Orange bookers may join the liberal rump of the Tory party and the rest may either join labour or re-form the original Liberal Party. But that's at least 5 years off.
keep to the Fen Causeway
Of course the question is: Do the Tories really know this?
Lords reform will be irrelevant if we allow the Tories to gerrymander their way into power. If they win a majority in the next election we will see further boundary changes - Britain will become a one party state.
An issue exists of whether it would be better to base constituencies on census population rather than registered electorate. Most countries seem to use population rather than registered electorate. Tweaking the system in that way would answer concern about under registration of qualified voters, particularly in large cities.
The changes in constituency distribution will reduce, although not eliminate, the pro-Labour bias which has existed in the electoral system in recent decades but it does not create an unfair pro-Conservate bias. Unfortunately it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of some systematic bias developing, without replacing single member constituencies and first past the post voting with multi member proportional vote elections.
The rules, both old and new, prevent the political consequences of proposed boundaries being taken into account. A party will obviously consider political consequences, in deciding what boundaries it would prefer, but its submissions to the boundary commission have to be expressed in terms of factors permitted by the rules such as community ties
I would call it "non-dictatorship" or something like that.
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