This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
In reply to JMW, on the subject of Cameron being keener on Coalition governments with the Lib Dems than in actually winning elections, I noticed this interesting article by Paul Goodman (editor of the 'ConservativeHome' poltical website):
In the article Goodman claims that Cameron is secretly intending to have a second period of Coalition government with the Lib Dems from 2015 to 2020, but defends Cameron on the basis that the Conservatives have not achieved the important constituency boundary changes and reduced number of constituencies that he thinks are necessary for a Conservative victory.
My advice to Conservative MPs would be that they have to try to get rid of Cameron as party leader next year. (One of the new features of the Coalition government is that there are now fixed term parliaments of five years, which is a more helpful arrangement for the less well-funded smaller political parties like the Lib Dems, but the fixed term also now makes it easier for anybody plotting to depose the party leader). If for some reason Cameron is still seen as the best compromise leader they've got (a bit like Jim Hacker in 'Yes Prime Minister'), they would need to introduce some party rule where a Coalition can only be formed if a majority of Conservative MPs agree to it.
Oh the f***** Fixed Term Act.
A travesty of democracy.
A confidence trick. So totally undemocratic my blood boils when I think on it.
The pretended problem: Governments that outstay their welcome e.g. Gordon Brown's.
The situation is where the government, when elected, had a significant majority. It is strong and stable.
Such governments have no problem going to the people if they are still popular, though they may mess about a bit as to he precise timing but the timing really doesn't matter in such cases.
The only problem is when a strong and stable government has become loathed by the people. This is where they tend to hang on for grim death and where they can rely on their MPs wanting to remain on the gravy train as long as possible.
The problem is to force this government to go to the people.
This doesn't require a fixed term, just a limited term.
This problem would have been resolved by an act that said "on or before the fifth anniversary".
But when Cameron and Clegg got together, this was the excuse and not the purpose.
2010 delivered a "none of the above" result.
What we got was a Tory party with a majority but not a clear majority. Cameron claims we voted for a coalition, that it is what we wanted (he really is a moron).
But, such governments are weak and unstable.
The fixed term act was designed to make them strong and stable (even to including a 70% margin rule which surely ought to have been the tip off to the undemocratic nature of this act).
The point Cameron didn't want to accept is that such governments are meant to be weak and unstable. They are meant to fall to any party which can summon up a working majority because to do so they have to become more popular (and thus more representative) with the electorate.
It is only as 2015 looms that Cameron (and/or his new foreign political advisor) has realised that he really needs to be a bit more popular with the voters. Something that, without the fixed term act, he would have been forced to confront by June or July 2010.
It really needs to be carved in stone somewhere: Coalitions and minority governments are meant to be weak and unstable.
Write out 1000 times please.
Yes, this really upsets me.
Sorry gentle readers for the "f*******", I wasn't sure if I could say "flipping".
I have had lesser oaths censured on other sites before now.