Friday, August 10, 2012

Coalition Sunday Morning Health Check.

Agreed to enter into discussion with Lord (Mike) German about the current state and prospects of the Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition - Sunday Supplement on BBC RadioWales (8.10am). Anticipate quite a bit of common ground between us - though I expect Mike will try to spin things a bit (as I of course never would!). In general, I reckon we'll agree the Coalition will survive the current flurry of turbulence, as both parties focus on the main reason we came together in the first place - coping with the economic storm breaking around the UK economy. But don't suppose this will be what Vaughan Roderick will be interested in. It'll be the turbulence for him.

Basic position is that Lords reform is dead - and Nick Clegg has said he's going to instruct his MPs to vote against the new Parliamentary constituency boundaries. Two big issues. Personally, I cannot see why they should be linked. But the Deputy Prime Minister thinks otherwise. Don't agree with him, but I'm not as critical as many. I understand why the Lib Dems feel so let down. They have always been obsessed with constitutional change - and all their hopes in this policy area seem to have bitten the dust. They feel very let down. So why should they agree to something that damages their cause and helps that of the Conservatives. Bitterness can be an illogical force, even when it is understandable. But the consequences of this have certainly left me scratching my head.

The proposed new boundaries obliterate my constituency of Montgomeryshire. They leave me with no seat to defend in 2015 - and after all the work I've put in. I've been proceeding on the understanding that to continue as an MP after 2015, I'd have to seek selection for somewhere else. Despite Nick Clegg's statement, (which on the face of it seems to knock new boundaries on the head) it seems my party is continuing to prepare on this basis. But it may be that both Labour and Lib Dems will immediately begin preparing to fight Montgomeryshire again. Already we've seen a letter that the London region Lib Dems have sent out, giving formal notice to all their candidates (after a meeting with their Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael)  informing them that the party will be selecting on existing boundaries. Yesterday, I heard that Labour in the London area is doing the same thing. No doubt my Lib Dem local party will soon begin campaigning on a Montgomeryshire basis. Hope I'm not left scratching my head for too long.

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