Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Con/Lab coalition may seem unlikely, but soon it will be the only sensible option

We live in unusual times and unusual times require unusual resolutions. 

With the Lib Dems clear they weren't interested the DUP were the only small party Theresa May could turn to for a deal. Teaming up with their 10 MPs may make parliamentary logic, but are unlikely to please the country at large. The party are mired in financial scandal and appointed a climate change denier to the environment post at Stormont. That’s not to mention May’s need to be an honest broker in a peace process that’s on the rocks.

However, at the moment the DUP are the only show in town and they know it. This gives them a huge amount of influence and power over a stuttering May government. They could demand all kinds of unusual tunes and make her position untenable. Alternatively the DUP will realise that they are shackled to an unpopular government and will stop singing along at a time of their choosing.

Another election might seem inevitable at this point, but there’s no appetite for this in parliament or just as importantly the country as a whole.

A Conservative - Labour coalition

But there is another option.

A Conservative – Labour coalition could deliver a sensible Brexit as well a commitment to good public services combined with stable finances. There is a clear majority across the two parties for this approach giving a national government the votes in parliament it needs to negotiate resolutely with our European colleagues. Both major parties agree a negotiating approach would give the EU27 confidence that it was worth sitting round the table.

This is also a deal the country as a whole would be happy and relieved to see. The public didn’t pick a winner in the election – no party measured up to govern.  A small number of die-hards may love the opportunity for another campaign, but most people in the country are tired of the instability and want to see politicians work together to come up with positive, practical solutions to the problems our nations face.

The only sensible option

A Conservative – Labour coalition may seem unlikely, but it soon may be the only sensible option left. Some will claim it’s politically impossible, but most things are until they happen. In my own county of Warwickshire the two parties cooperated in February to agree a budget deal where no one party had a majority. Parliamentarians in practice consistently work cross- party much of time already. It can be done. 

Some in Labour want to stand back and cross their fingers that the Conservatives implode. Some on the right will baulk at working with Jeremy Corbyn. I say get on with it. It’s time to put tribalism aside to deliver what’s in the best interest of the UK.

People in this country do not want to be subject to years of infighting and instability when we face the biggest political decisions in our lifetimes. Politicians claim that they serve the people and the UK as a whole. Now is their chance to prove it.