The country nobody wants to govern?

10May10

Nick Robinson writes:

The Tories are surprised by Labour’s electoral resilience and do not fancy getting to grips with the deficit whilst constantly looking over their shoulders at the electorate.

(via Giles)

Similarly the successors to Gordon in the labour party would probably rather spend the next 4 years re-thinking the future policy direction of the party in opposition, without the pressure of daily attacks from the Tory press, but with a decent base that offers the opportunity of winning the next election.

This is largely because the next 3-4 years are something of a poisoned challice, given the need for both revenue raising measures (the T word – taxes) and spending cuts that will inevitably lead to frontline services being reduced, and the inevitable subsequent Daily Mail headlines about patients dying on hospital trolleys due to staff shortages.

Furthermore, by only being able to govern with agreements with other parties, both Labour and the Conservatives are going to be resigned to not being able to do things that please their core supporters such as strengthening Trade Unions in the case of Labour (although the leadership probably wouldn’t want to do this anyway) or section 28 style homophobic policy in the case of the conservatives.

The conservatives will also face additional difficulties; they are essentially a minority opposition party in  Scotland and to a lesser extent in Wales – this makes a collision with the devolved governments likely, the possibility of a continued rise in energy prices provoking social unrest, and the loss of motivation of their activists (opposition is always sexier). Furthermore, Europe will also prove difficult as they’ll have the euro-sceptic backbenchers to deal with (no doubt egged on by UKIP) in the event of changes in the EU.

The lib dems also face the difficulty that, on the one hand a coalition with the conservatives will lose them anti-tory tactical votes, and on the other, a coalition with labour isn’t going to be able to secure a majority and will also be seen as lacking democratic legitimacy.

So who wants the prize?

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