I do not like coalitions. I campaigned for a Conservative majority government in 2010, and will do so again in 2015.  I have heard most of Mr Cameron’s speeches to Conservative MPs. I can assure you he always tells us his aim is a majority government next time. He does not prepare us for the idea that we might need another coalition. Recent rumours in the papers have probably been mischief put around by others when there is not so much going on.

One of the reasons I do not like coalitions is the electorate do not get what the different parties have promised in the election. The Coalition Agreement, and the subsequent brokered compromises issue by issue, determine policy. It may be quite unlike what either party to the Coalition wants or said they would deliver if granted a majority. Coalitions put politicians more in the driving seat, decisive elections put electors more in the driving seat. They also undermine public confidence in political parties, who have to reverse some of the things they promised.

An even bigger reason why I do not like coalitions is the EU. No UK government can now govern the UK as it wishes. So many things are now determined by EU legislation, regulation and controls. The other two main parties in the Commons are federalist parties. It is extremely difficult to reach a sensible agreement with parties that do not want the UK government to be in charge, and meekly accept whatever line comes from Brussels on so many topics.

A main part of the Conservative Manifesto for 2015 will be the promise of a renegotiation of our relationship with the EU followed by a referendum. All the time the other parties refuse to countenance a major change to our relationship and refuse to vote for a referendum, they are saying they could not and should not enter a coalition with the Conservatives. Conservatives cannot compromise on the EU issue. All the speculation about a further Conservative/Lib Dem coalition looks unrealistic given the big divisions between the two parties over the EU.


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  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    I am the last person in the world to have a good word for Cameron as you know but it has to be said that this particular story has been got up if ever that were the case. Of course he has to plan for the possibility of another Coalition and even more of course that has nothing to do with his aiming for or wanting a Coalition. Even I don’t think he is that daft.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      We only have a coalition now due to Cameron’s idiotic ratting and lefty, fake green agenda at the last election. The chance of him or even the Libdems being in any position to form a Coalition in 2015 is tiny. The chance that the Libdem members allowing one even then is tiny too.

      • Hope
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Cameron claimed to be a liberal conservative. A coalition seems to suite him fine. It also helps him to provide an excuse to change his party. He clearly dislikes grass roots Tories and supporters. Thankfully most of these so called swivelled eyed loons have seen through U turn and forked tongue Cameron and seek pastures new in UKIP. A conservative PM who insults his supporters and acts in contrast to their wishes, uses former Labour ministers for key policy issues/reports is not someone I would vote for- ever. The Tory party needs Cameron to cause its destruction so it can rebuild from a new foundation. Lib Dems will be history after the next election.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense: the Mods threw the election by their “conservative lite” campaign. Redwood is with them. Now doubt they have got something on him as he is their boy all the way. Better labour than Cast Iron. UKIP, best of all!

      Reply No-one reading this blog or examining my voting record could think such nonsense.

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Well, I DO like coalitions. It is the real expression of democracy, of pursuing policies which the majority of the electorate want. Too often, the UK has been ruled by minorities, whether they were called Blair of Thatcher doesn’t really matter, they only represented dictating minorities in the popular vote. I simply cannot call that real democracy. So let us agree to disagree on this one.

    Of course some consensus must be reached which requires give and take, something any voter knows in advance. The Dutch translation of “society”is “living together”. You may reduce this to “having to live together”, but ignoring it risks damaging the very fabric of a society.

    Reply We cannot broker a compromise about whether to put up with the current level of EU interference or not.A largely Eurosceptic country wants a government to change the relationship.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      A largely Eurosceptic country wants a government to change the relationship. Indeed but they will never trust Cameron to deliver it and rightly so. “Heart and soul”, “no greater Switzerland”, “we’d be MAD to leave Europe” his talk is very clear and his actions are even worse than his words.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      You say:-

      “Well, I DO like coalitions. It is the real expression of democracy, of pursuing policies which the majority of the electorate want.”

      No one rational can surely think that? It give all the power to the bureaucrats & the elite and virtually non to the electorate and the actual wealth creators.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Are you suggesting all the Dutch are non-rational? You obviously have never seen the Dutch parliament (made up of “people representatives”) in action. Average age a good ten years younger than your H.o.C. – proportionally many more women than in the H.o.C. although not 50/50, proper representatives of Dutch citizens, who don’t serve a lifetime (the nestor clockes 14 years, in the H.o.C. that is 50 years) and don’t make being an MP a career for life, much more influence on government policies through their parties, as there are at some 10 or 12 serious parties (political flavors). A pity that you don’t speak the language (I assume), because you might find it quite refreshing

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          I am not suggesting anything about the Dutch, nor their system which I know little about.

          I am just saying that coalition governments clearly reduce the democratic input to the system. They tend to give more power to the bureaucrats, parties & the elite and virtually non to the electorate and the actual wealth creators. This as the parties can make promises then break them at will due to their being in a coalition. They can then blame it (and indeed any of their failures) on the other parties in the coalition. Decisive government and keeping promises to the electorate is virtually impossible with coalitions.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: I’m sorry to have to disagree with about every sentence in this statement of yours. It is simply not the reality over here, and believe you me, I know what I’m talking about, as I have life-long actual experience with coalitions.
            Maybe a second thought on “decisive government”. You have to realise that any new government over here starts with a government program. Such a government program is not a carbon copy of a specific election manifesto, but voters of both (or all three) coalition partners will recognize their specific points in it. Such a program can still be very decisive, and the more rigorous it is, the more the coalition partners will hold on to each other because rigorous programs usely cause popularity to take a dive, especially in difficult economic times.

        • Acorn
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Now now, play nicely, you may need each-other for this EU thing. .

          “The Hague has received support for its subsidiarity review from Germany, Sweden, Finland and Austria, some of whom are considering similar exercises. Even the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has said subsidiarity should be strengthened. David Cameron should make common cause with the Dutch and other reform minded member-states to toughen the enforcement of subsidiarity, which will not require major treaty change. But if the British prime minister misreads his potential allies and pushes for opt-outs or a large-scale repatriation of powers, he is certain to find himself isolated.”

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            @Acorn: Hm, it seems you’re suggesting a British-Dutch coalition. 🙂

        • Acorn
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          Peter, you are fortunate that you have ten to a dozen “political flavors”. In the UK, a similar number of flavors have been blended down to three, such that they all basically taste the same in reality. The labels on the tins are irrelevant nowadays.

          The unfortunate part is that you get some nasty ingredients hidden inside. The coalition front bench has a nasty dose of neo-cons called Osborne and Gove and some lesser affiliated contaminates from the Henry Jackson Society. If O & G were running the show, we would already be bombing Syria. Gove desperately wants the crown and considers himself the true “heir to Blair”. Gove maintained Blair was a true Thatcherite indeed, for many Tories , Blair is neocon rex.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I’ll be watching (from the sidelines) with interest how Eurosceptic your country will prove at the 2015 elections

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Well, they will be voting on a large basket of issues and mainly against the the failed pro EU coalition, so you will not be able to ascertain their views on the EU issue or any other particular issue.

        For those on the EU issue you perhaps need to look more to the MEP elections in May 2014. Though even that election has the basket of issues problem.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      What you even like having Geert Wilders, (words left out ed) as part of a government?

      I do not like coalitions because as a hardline conservative, I am not getting anything out of this one. There is no consideration for law and order, just 6000 fewer policemen or hard money, just more of it being printed or family values, just gay marriage . Now ‘heir to Blair” thinks interfering in Syria is a vote winner.

      JR back to yesterday, as Sec of State Kerry says he knows Assad used the CW because of what he has seen on Youtube and Facebook. If it comes to a debate can you ask the chickenhawks what actual hard evidence they have. Has the monitoring station in Cyprus got any sigint on Assad instructing its use, which they could actually pay at the UN? If not why are we spending billions on MI6, GCHQ etc if decisions of national importance are being made on what they can find on social media sites?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        @Nina Andreeva: You may have guessed that I’m not happy with someone like Geert Wilders. But when his party received 16% of the vote, as a democrate I have to respect this choice of some 1,5 million voters. Having unbridgeable differences (on Islam, Europe) with other parties, they didn’t make it as a coalition party but they did have a kind of contract to support the then government coalition on most national policies (and they never cheated on this). Although I hardly enjoyed the government policies at the time, as a democrat I had to respect that it followed the wishes of the majority of the Dutch electorate.
        Mr Redwood, for his party, cites unbridgeable differences with the other two large parties on Europe and I respect that.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Peter, coalitions is exactly why Belgium is such a mess – no clear government. As long as French-speaking Belgians vote for French- speakers and Flemish-speakers vote Flemish Belgium will never go forward, sideways is the only way.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Unless you want Belgium to split into two countries a coalition of French and Flemish speaking Belgians is the only way forwards.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        @lojolondon: Like you actually state yourself, it is the language battle (and 3 regional governments with highly devolved powers) which makes the political landscape in Begium so complicated. I cannot see however, how Belgium could be governed without a coalition, as it would mean being governed by either a French or a Flemish party.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      French and Dutch voters rejected the “European Constitution in 2005. Their parliaments ignored them and accepted the Lisbon Treaty in 2007. This so called treaty was the same old European constitution. So where was the democracy in that. Your so called coalition failed to respond to the wishes of the people. The Irish held out until 2009 after referendum overload. Where has this duplicity got you; a flat European economy with massive unemployment in all the olive line members who are now beginning to queue for their next hand outs. A Europe that traded together was a good idea until lots of politicians developed dreams of grandeur and screwed everyone in Europe. Well now you are reaping the benefit of their ambition.
      We in the UK can see through all their none sense, and the majority want out. Our coalition cannot give us the democracy we demand so many see the need for a dramatic change following our next election in 2015.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        @Roger Farmer: In order to comprehend the democracy in that, you would have to know the real version instead of the tabloid version of events, which I’ve already tried to explain a million times. Mind you, referendums are no substitute for democracy, even some of your leaders called them a nice tool for dictators and demagogues. Take Germany 1934 and 1936 referendums as a warning, that referendums only seem democratic.

        • Roger Farmer
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Democracy ( Greek Demokratia ) is rule by the people ie. referendums, popular in Switzerland, or elections. All are open to corruption but you must be desperate to drag Adolphe Hitler into your argument.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

            Very popular in Russia too..

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      But, JR, what Cameron says he wants amounts to getting out of some parts of the consolidated EU treaties while remaining in the rest; which is just what would have happened if he had had the patriotism and the courage to hold a retrospective referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, and it had been rejected by the people; which Cameron pretended would be impossible, falsely claiming that the Lisbon Treaty no longer existed as a treaty; when it obviously does continue to exist as a treaty, and indeed is here at the top of the list of treaties on the EU’s website:

      for anyone to read in a variety of formats.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Why would we want to allow ourselves to be homogenised with people who like coalitions (with different tastes in food, different cultures and languages-ed) ,( drive on the wrong side and have a different legal system and history etc) and furthermore who, right left and centre, as this post evidences are constantly trying to tell us what to do and change when we really don’t want to? Is Belgium so wonderful?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink

        Postscript–And while you love most of the time to pour oil it is no good saying that Boris doesn’t want Out. If he meant what he said (He is not an MP so it is at least possible), changing things so that Australians can come in and the French etc cannot, would amount to the same thing–and the sooner the better.

        Reply Boris does not campaign to get us out of the EU

  3. matthu
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The promise of a renegotiation will carry no weight at all unless we know what is being renegotiated.

    In 2015 Cameron will have to seek a mandate to renegotiate and for there to be a mandate the electorate must know what it is he is renegotiating, what he will not be renegotiating and what he will be conceding.

    He will not be given a blank sheet of paper.

    What must remain an EU competence and why?

    Reply They are working on that in time for the election

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      To reply: Which people are working on working on that? Pro EU Cameron types one assumes.

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, I am sure you are correct, they will be pro-EU types, but of course they will have to impress all us UKIP-voters, so expect some dodgy wording that looks good to sceptics and doesn’t deliver, like ‘cast-iron’.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Indeed I assume they will be rather like Lord Patten who Cameron put at the head of the BBC trust!

      • Bazman
        Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Pro right wing stupidity being the way forward from two individuals unable to justify their extreme views on any subject?

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    “A main part of the Conservative Manifesto for 2015 will be the promise of a renegotiation of our relationship with the EU followed by a referendum.”

    Negotiation takes two. You cannot do it yourself if the other side doesn’t want to negotiate!
    We know from the blogs of MEPs that this is the case in Europe. They want more Europe. That comes actually from the President of the Commission in his State of the Union Speech.I was going to give all sorts of clever references to speeches made by Mr Barroso. I will not bother. People who have been following events cannot doubt that more Europe is his sincere belief. At the moment, he seems to be concentrating on a European Defence capability.

    We also know that the Mandarins (UKREP) want to keep their positions within Europe and that they wield enormous power in Whitehall. Just sift through these: We also watch the BBC regularly.

    So when people assume that Mr Cameron wants us to negotiate our position within the EU…
    Reply. If they will not negotiate then we get to vote on the current totally unsatisfactory relationship, so presumably enough of us would vote for out.

    • matthu
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that if the negotiations are not open and transparent, and if there is insufficient time (or will) to understand what has been negotiated and what new terms have been added, then the electorate will be taken for another expensive – and possibly terminal – ride.

      All we need is another case of collective madness. A la Lisbon treaty. A la Climate act.

      Why should we believe that Cameron will choose to be open and transparent to his electorate this time around when he has every motivation to be exactly the opposite? Why should we believe that MPs will be any different this time around?

  5. lifelogic
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Well a coalition with the Libdems is pretty unlikely at the next election Libdems and Tories with rightly do very badly and the Libdem membership will go with Labour not the Tories. They probably would have done at the last election had Cameron managed to lose a few more seats with his lefty, pro EU, quack green agenda.

    You say:-

    “The other two main parties in the Commons are federalist parties. It is extremely difficult to reach a sensible agreement with parties that do not want the UK government to be in charge, and meekly accept whatever line comes from Brussels on so many topics.”

    Alas the Tories under Cameron are little different they occasionally make the right noises but all the action is meek acceptance. Cameron will simply not be trusted at the next election on the EU nor on the economy and rightly so. Why for example has he ruled out the IHT threshold promise even in the next term in the (hugely unlikely) event that he wins? Ratters and say one thing do the opposite leaders simply cannot and should not be trusted.

    In Cameron’s own words:

    The final reason we must have a vote (on the EU) is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new” politics. But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public. It’s classic Labour . . . Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

    Off topic:

    I am glad to hear the IOD has come out against HS2, is this daft project now finally dead? If so can Cameron please now lift all the huge blight they have caused and stop pissing more tax payers money down the drain in the process.

    I learn, amazingly, that one in ten prosecutions are for BBC licence offences. So not only does the BBC drip the nation in lefty, big state, fake green science, anti democratic, Guardian reading second rate art graduate, pro EU propaganda, but it also clogs up the criminal justice system. This trying to collect a hugely inefficient and daft tax.

    Just do not pay it and watch TV when it is not live on computer or a smart TV, seems to be the best solution.

    Reply HS2 spending carries on with the support of the leaderships of all 3 main parties. Mr Cameron did veto the Fiscal Treaty and cut the planned EU budget.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      To reply. When all three parties are in favour of something it is usually complete madness as with HS2, the Climate change act, the ERM, the Common Market, Millennium Dome ……. I assume the huge damage HS2 is already doing will thus continue at least until 2015 then.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Should they be in favour of you baseless madness? Not even you can defend most of it can you? No reply as you cannot understand? Who can then?

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      You state that Cameron vetoed a Fiscal Treaty yet surely there was no such treaty on the table. If there was I have never seen it published on EurActiv or elsewhere

      Reply There was, and the others signed up to it as a non EU Treaty without the UK.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Have a look at your record on righty, small state, fake anti science, anti democratic, Telegraph reading second rate accountancy graduate, anti EU propaganda. It is not good. Spouting right wing nonsense with no basis is as bad if not worse than what you say. Your lack of sensible replies to your own ‘absurd’ statements is disgusting thick and offensive to anyone with any sense or intellect.

  6. MickC
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Regrettably most voters believe Mr. Cameron will be campaigning only to remain Prime Minister, by whatever way that can be achieved.

    A Conservative government is impossible with the current boundaries, and the damage Cameron has inflicted on the party’s natural supporters, many of whom will either vote for UKIP or not all.

    Whilst Ed Milliband has had a bad press recently, Labour has not yet formulated its policies-and they are unlikely to be as unattractive as many believe.

    John Cruddas is no fool, and seems more in touch with the views of ordinary people than most in frontline politics-a sound man who should be feared by the Conservatives.

  7. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Surely we are in a different scenario these days. For the sake of discussion, let us suppose there are 3 main political parties. (I would say there are now 4).

    As we approach the 2015 election we need them all to spell out in their manifestos:

    1) What they would do if they win the election.
    2) What their red lines are if they have to consider coalition

    At least that way we will have some idea of what we might get if there is another hung parliament.

    Our host here says ‘I do not like coalitions’. Fair enough. He likes the current first past the post system because it has regularly allowed his party to gain power. But I think many people can see shortcomings with our current political system. I do wish that politicians in general would try to improve the system.

    Unfortunately we have two main political parties who, under the present system, have had a stranglehold on power for generations. A reduction in the number of MPs and the changes proposed to make constituency sizes etc. fairer would have been a small step towards a fairer system – and I will never forgive the Liberal Democrats for blocking that. I have voted Liberal in the past. That won’t happen again.

    Politicians in general should be far more exercised by the fact that only 60% of us bother to vote in a general election. 4 out of 10 can’t be bothered. How many can’t be bothered because they know it will make no difference if they vote. Where I live a vote for anyone other than Conservative is not worth casting. It’s only virtue is that if, for example, 60% of those that bother to vote, vote Conservative – and 40% vote Labour – at least the party that wins knows they haven’t got the support of everyone.

    Labour wins a massive commons majority if they get 40% of the votes of the 60% of people that bother to vote. So, with the support of just 24% of the people they gain a crushing victory and can claim a mandate for whatever their policies are.

    This is so clearly undemocratic and unfair that I can’t understand why all politicians can’t do the right thing and reform the system.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      I really like the Australian system, where it is not just your right to vote, it is your duty to vote. If you don’t like the candidates, spoil your paper which is much more effective than just not turning up.

      Vote or pay £1,000 spot fine.

      • Bob
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        From my experience most reasonably intelligent people do vote.
        Voter apathy is most prevalent among the less intelligent.

        So that’s probably just as well.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          And perhaps some of the more intelligent who have worked out that it will clearly make no difference at all in most constituencies.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          This resulting in a Conservative majority? Less apathy is the Tories enemy by your reasoning? What does this tell us of the Tory voter?

      • MickC
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Do you seriously think the state should have the right to make the citizen vote, upon pain of a fine?

        To actually endorse a candidate the citizen does not want to elect?

        The only way that would have any logic would be if there was a “none of the above” option, with a fresh election if that option got more than 50% of the votes cast. Obviously the losing candidates would have to be barred from the new election as having already been rejected.

        Naturally it won’t happen because it would reveal just how little support there is for the current establishment.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          The way to get people to vote is to give the vote some real value and influence, not by forcing people to vote.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        “Vote or pay £1,000 spot fine.”

        That sounds like a bloody dictatorship to me.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          Indeed they want to pretend that the elected politicians have some popular support by forcing people to vote, even though most have worked out it will make little or no difference.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Depends i f you pay the bedroom tax or a live in a multimillion pound mansion. Make a difference then.

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Lojo ,

        Compulsion to vote doesn’t seem to have delivered Aussie’s any better choice than we got here in the UK or they got in America .

        On 7th September they will have to choose between the Australian Labour party lead by Kevin Rudd (thankfully minus Julia Gillard) or the LNP lead by Oxford PPE graduate Tony Abbott .

        Abbott like Cameron will say anything a focus group tells him will be popular no matter how gutless .

        Whoever wins it’s bound to mean even more ex-Goldman characters in the top jobs like it does everywhere else in the world .

      • Bazman
        Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Vote or pay a £1000 fine would be a great help to Labour as apathy is the Conservatives friend and maybe this could win a election. Different view now Lojo?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, parties which could be expected to be involved in one coalition government or another should spell out which parts of their party manifestos would be negotiable after the election and which parts would be non-negotiable. Or in the case of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats it might be better if they formalised an alliance before the next election and put up a single joint candidate in each constituency, standing on a joint manifesto. No doubt many members of both parties would object to Cameron and Clegg agreeing to an electoral alliance, but the interests of the electors should come before those of party members; it is only fair that people should be able to know what collection of policies they are voting for at the time of the election, rather than having to wait to find out afterwards when the two parties have stitched up a coalition deal. I think it is already clear, for example, that while the separate Tory manifesto may well include a commitment to renegotiation of the terms of our EU membership followed by a referendum, no such proposal would figure in any coalition agreement made with the Liberal Democrats.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      So Mike Wilson you consider it wrong for the Lib Dems to block reducing the number of MPs and making constituency sizes fairer but you consider if fine for the Conservatives to block the House of Lords being reduced in sized and its members elected by the public. Odd set of standards you have.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Why assume that? Both wrong – Tories and liberals.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        @uanime5 ‘So Mike Wilson you consider it wrong for the Lib Dems to block reducing the number of MPs and making constituency sizes fairer but you consider if fine for the Conservatives to block the House of Lords being reduced in sized and its members elected by the public.’

        So, Mike Wilson, you say you like blue cars so you must be against red cars eh?

        Very strange reasoning. You assume that because I criticise the Lib Dems for blocking boundary reform that I am not in favour of Lords reform and that I was happy with the Conservative relics who blocked it. How you get from one to the other baffles me.

        For the record – the Conservatives blocking House of Lords reform simply proves to me they have no interest in democracy. The recent appointment of a variety of (friends of the parties ed) and donors provides further proof. The whole edifice is rotten to the core.

        The Liberal Democrats tit for tat blocking of boundary reform proves they are no better.

        None of our 3 main political parties are very interested in real democracy.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink


        I think we have seen that if two Parties have policies which are too far apart, a coalition government simply does not work ,as there is not enough common ground on enough policy subjects.

        Thus the Government simply drifts, whilst both sides blame each other for non action.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    JR: “Conservatives cannot compromise on the EU issue. All the speculation about a further Conservative/Lib Dem coalition looks unrealistic given the big divisions between the two parties over the EU.”
    I’m sorry but I don’t find these statements credible. Cameron will do anything to stay in No.10 and keep the UK in the EU.

  9. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It must be frustrating not be in total control and I can understand any party who wants its own policies to be enacted.
    The EU point may be a good election winner, yet I have my reservations about who is eventually going to take over our resources and businesses and it may not be the EU. We may be more isolated and unable to protect ourselves without the EU.
    I have not listened to the news this am , but I believe that parliament may be recalled over Syria. Rue the day that the UK is ever in a similar position.

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Feedback from the real world:

    You cannot win. The people are cheesed off with the ongoing mass immigration happening in practise despite the hype they are being given.

    I had a walk around a heavily immigrant community the other day, and was amazed at the numbers of British laws being openly disregarded all the way along all of their streets. From job vacancies in the windows open to one race only to so much more.

    The people are cheesed off with all of the political parties.

    They will backlash in any way open to them.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Just attended a discussion on the Future of Immigration in Scotland at the Scotish Parliament. It was entirely predictable. No mention of the impact of immigration on the people of the UK, only talk of the needs of immigrants and the old lies about the requirement to import more ‘workers’ due to an ageing population and ‘growing’ the economy.
      The panel consisted of two professors, the chief executive of the refugee council and a lay person. The only sane individual was the lay person who countered the extremism of the professors to a small degree.
      Much of the ideological drive for Marxist-multiculturalism comes from the universities unsurprisingly.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I put a comment on Richard Murphy’s blog the other day pointing out that Briton’s in low wage jobs have suffered most from the influx of cheap labour from abroad .

      Got me a ban for “racism” .

      If as it seems that is indicative of the authenticity of his commitment to free speech then it would be naive to assume his commitment to democracy or legal protection of citizens against abuses of the state would be any better .

      Whilst I disagree with John Redwood quite a bit of the time his commitment to free speech and liberty is unquestionable and evidenced by one of the best blog censorship policies on the net .

  11. Atlas
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I think Boris’s recent comments in Australia on the EU carry much weight with the British People. Cameron’s problem is that he and his UKREP are on the wrong side of the argument.

    Since nothing political is ever set in stone (just read the history books) then Cameron has to explain in detail exactly why his continued stance of being run by the EU is worth a candle in the face of the evident disadvantages to a free people.

  12. John Bracewell
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I wish there were more Conservatives like Mr Redwood in Parliament. This topic is written clearly and concisely and I agree with every word of it. Because of Cameron as leader and the influence of the LibDems, we have in this coalition a government that fights openly on many issues, does not represent fully either Conservative or Libdem election promises and feels little different from the preceding 13 years of Labour government. Since Mr Cameron’s stated aim is to remain in the EU even after renegotiation, he personally will find no difficulty in forming another coalition with EUphile leaders of other parties, providing he remains as PM.

    Reply He will be leading a party of Conservative MPs recently elected on a ticket of renegotiation and referendum. We will want to do just that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      But, JR, at the time of the Eastleigh by-election it was reported in the FT that Cameron would not allow the EU issue to scupper another coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats. Therefore it would not be enough that Cameron continued as Prime Minister, he would have to be the Prime Minister of a Tory government free from any contamination by Liberal Democrats, or all his manifesto pledges about repatriating powers from the EU and holding an “in-out” referendum would be cancelled through the coalition agreement. I have no doubt that you and some other Tory MPs would stand your ground and vote against accepting that coalition deal, but in all likelihood you would be in a small minority and you would be outvoted by your colleagues who were willing to go along with it for the sake of remaining in government. Of course I may be wrong about that, and one way I could be partly persuaded to change my view would be if all Tory candidates personally pledged that they would not do that.

      Reply I expect Conservative candidates will be asked about that in the run up to the election. I am quite clear. I intend to stand on a ticket of negotiate and decide, and do not support any coalition without that policy at its heart.

  13. lojolondon
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Most English (if not British) voters agree with you, John. We want a Tony Abbott for PM – not a media-friendly liberal ‘Conservative’, but a Conservative with conservative values.

  14. Alte Fritz
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    So long as politics is based on panem et circenses, the closest we will get to a free market leaning government is a coalition. Far too many people, working or not, have a stake in the dependency culture.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Coalitions are a great mistake . In practice it means that the minority interests often have the sway ; as such the will of the majority is disregarded . Cameron made a great mistake ( he’s made many ! ) by not going to the country again after the last election . Max Hastings makes many interesting valid observations on his leadership in today’s Daily Mail pointing to the immaturity of many of his team of advisers ; although the topic is “Syria” , the message really is he should not surround himself with individuals who will go along with his views . A balanced and more objective view is more often obtained when the composition of the team contains individuals of differing opinions . Good and successful Chief Execs. have put this arrangement together in the composition of their Boards creating strategies and decisions reflecting the interests of their shareholders , employees and customers .

  16. Kenneth
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    This blog entry is a big news story and I am disappointed but not surprised that the BBC has ignored it.

    It’s simple enough: no coalition is possible with a party that does not support a referendum.

    Because the BBC has ignored it the anti referendum parties will ignore it too.

    A great pity as the lack of public debate is another nail in the coffin of democracy.

  17. forthurst
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Time and again the libdems have exercised a veto over conservative policy; the result has been that the conservative party has been implementing the policies of the libdems which are indestinguishable from labour policy. Now Cameron is determined to outdo Blair in the odiousness stakes by cynically implementing ME policy which accords with that of his financial backers, like Blair, and not with the mad swivel-eyed loons who voted for him.

    There’s been a lot of shock and awe from Gove but his reforms have been delayed until after the election, presumably so they can be cancelled by the next government. Looking at a comparison in the DT between the O level and the GCSE maths, it was noteworthy that the purported O level questions included neither geometry, trigonometry nor calculus, as such they were not O level questions; therefore the 16+ exams have been horribly dumbed down: Why? By whom? Meanwhile the DM revealed that whereas the NHS needs to recruit 13,000 doctors per year, restrictions are still in place blocking more than 6,000 training places in medical schools here. Why? By whom? There’s clearly been a long standing conspiracy preventing many English people achieving their full potential in life in order to replace them by better trained foreigners. Why? By whom?

  18. peter davies
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    As I mentioned before your natural bedfellows are UKIP – so if you do get enough votes to be the biggest party though not win outright and UKIP do pickup 20-30 seats which they may well do that is the logical answer.

    The current situation though is unacceptable – the Lib Dems in many respects are worse than Labour, totally bonkers and contradictory. One minute they want a fully representative democracy at all levels including HOL – on the other hand they would turn the UK into a fully integrated satellite of the EU – my guess is half their support will switch to Labour and some to the Coservatives in 2015.

  19. uanime5
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Given that politicians of all parties have a habit of promising one thing at elections and then doing something else once they get elected I wouldn’t say that coalitions give politicians more power, especially when the electorate can’t recall MPs. Though decisive elections do make it clearer which party is responsible when things go right or wrong.

  20. John Wrake
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Your desires regarding coalitions and our relations with the EU are, by your own reckoning, entirely pointless. You belong to a Party with a Leader who has clearly demonstrated that he is unreliable, your Party is in disarray, and committed to follow your Leader’s policies, and as you constantly repeat, you are in a minority in your own Party, let alone within the House of Commons and have no hope of changing anything outside of your Leader’s dodgy promises.

    Attempts to put off the evil day when this government will fall are no longer an option. If nothing is done to prevent (further increases in ed) immigrants due in less than six months, you and your fellow M.P.s will be held responsible for the consequences. The promise of Jam Tomorrow is no longer acceptable to a hungry population.

    John Wrake.

    Reply I and my colleagues have influence – we helped secure a lower EU budget, and the veto fo the Fiscal Treaty. The government is pledged to curb net migration substantially this Parliament.

  21. Chris S
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with the premise that another coalition with the LibDems is impossible :

    Clegg is said to be relaxed about a referendum as he thinks it can be won. Without substantial renegotiation I very much doubt it : It will be hard for any politician to convince the British people to sign up for an openly-declared policy of “Ever Closer Union” We had to be conned on the subject to sign up for membership on the previous occasion.

    Similarly, Clegg can’t be afraid of renegotiation because he has previously said the relationship needs to change and any concessions made by Brussels will make it easier for him to win the argument.

    Our best hope for 2015 is that voters look at Miliband and decide that he really isn’t Prime Ministerial material. If Balls is still Shadow Chancellor all the better.

    Otherwise, without the lost boundary changes, the prospects for any government including the Conservatives look bleak.

  22. ian wragg
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    John, You must know as well as anyone what a duplicitous lying so and so Cameroon is. He does not want a referendum and I’m sure he’s willing to lose the election to bolster this position.
    I wouldn’t put it past him to have agreed with Millipede for him not to offer a referendum and Roon will give him the baton. he is capable of anything.

    Reply Nonsense. Mr Cameron wants to win an outright majority, and kn ows to do so he has to keep his EU promise.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.
      Maybe I’m getting too old but it seems to me that Cameroon is doing all that is possible to prevent him getting a majority.
      Even if you all vote not to intervene in Syria I doubt he will take note and then encourage thousands of Syrian refugees to settle here.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      He will not be able to keep his new EU promise any more than he kept his last cast iron one, he knows he will not be re-elected, and that is why he has promised it well after he will have left office. He will not be elected because he simply cannot be trusted on this issue whatever he promises. What can he say this time, cast jelly perhaps? Not only that but he has failed on energy, the economy and so many other areas.

  23. MajorFrustration
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Unless DC is very very clear – no more of the weasel words and expression much loved by politicians- on the EU and immigration he is dead in the water.
    Syria is not our problem – let the Arabs and Muslims sort it out assuming they have the balls.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Let us assume that we will have a Conservative Prime Minister after the 2015 election, whether he leads a Conservative government or a ConLibDem Coalition. Let us also assume that the Referendum Bill becomes an Act (although people like Douglas Alexander would be happy if it was talked out). The crunch will come when the PM sets out his stall for renegotiation and at least half of the EU Member States blow a raspberry. That is when the PM will need to put a pistol at their head and say: “Here is a list of items that are not acceptable to the UK, and we will implement them unilaterally if necessary.” At that moment, a LibDem Coalition partner is unlikely to be of use. And that is why the ‘red lines’ of renegotiation might as well be specified in the Conservative Party manifesto.

  25. Bazman
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    An old joke. Have you a copy of the liberal Manifesto. No. We have sold out. “It’s the way ay tell um”. To quote the late and great Frank Carson.

  26. JoolsB
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink


    If the Tories want to win a majority, it’s simple, address the English Question. Cameron won a 62 seat majority in England in 2010 and yet England’s choice of Government means nothing without the backing of the rest of the UK despite them having their own self determining parliament/assemblies. The SNP do not need a UK majority to govern Scotland and Labour do not need a UK majority to govern Wales so when will England too be allowed the Government of it’s choosing and not the one chosen for it by the rest of the UK after they have chosen a quite different government for themselves. The UK Government predominately only governs England nowadays and England did not vote for this pathetic and useless coalition. If Brown had got his way, England would now be governed by a rainbow coalition of Labour, Lib Dems and Scots and Welsh Nats to make up the numbers, every party except the one England voted for. What happens if despite Cameron, the Tories win a majority in England again in 2015 but ends up being governed by a Labour Government or a Lab/Lib coalition with Scottish & Welsh constituency MPs/Ministers having far more say over English only matters than they do over matters for their own consituents? When are any of our supine politicians with English seats going to demand an end to this gross affront to democracy and instead demand equality for England and that means an English Parliament, not EVEL.

    I too campaigned for a Tory Government in 2010 in the belief that The Tories who only exist thanks to England would do something to end the blatant discrimination against England both politically and financially post devolution. Like many others, I have now come to the conclusion that the party calling themselves Conservative care no more about England and the rotten deal it is getting any more than Labour and the Lib Dems. All three parties have proved to be equal in their contempt for England. The only difference is outside of England the Tories are dead and yet they still can’t bring themselves to stand up for it.

    If the Tories had the guts to address the English Question, it would be a win win situation. More chance of Tory Governments and long overdue democracy for England. They are either stupid or just plain anti- English or both!!

  27. John Wrexham
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    As no one party is the source of all wisdom and as the party whips discourage independence of thought and action among MPs, coalition for all its faults you have listed forces politicians to listen to people who don’t necessarily agree with them and actually make some effort to win them over to their policies. (Minority rule which has been the norm since 1945 doesn’t have a great track record since the early 1970s.) Arguing policies out in public and improving them can only be a good thing. I remain to be convinced that any one political party would have governed Britain much better since 2010 than the coalition have, despite the many missed opportunities.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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