Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra

Friday, 7 May 2010

Gordon Brown - Every inch the Prime Minister this morning

I guess I'm not the only one still gripped by the election this morning. Sitting in my kitchen waiting for final results to come through and listening to Radio 5 live, I just heard Gordon Brown speak from Downing Street. Seems to me that Nick Clegg has got himself into a very awkward position, with his leverage quite damaged by seeing an overall loss of Liberal Democrat seats, including some of his best known names. I've always thought Labour and Lib Dems have a lot in common and should be closer. Unfortunately though they have been like a franchise party, with local parties using Lib Dem branding but standing for something very different from each other. Had Nick Clegg been given the chance of forming a Government, I believe we would have seen the imploding of the Lib Dems very quickly as the divisions behind the surface became more apparent under scrutiny. At this stage we're going to find out what Nick Clegg really stands for, and really believes in. Having played a slightly confusing campaign too, with Nick appealing to Tory voters whilst Vince Clegg set out an appeal to Labour voters, we were presented with two faces of a Lib Dem party that they are now going to have to choose between. What is pretty clear though, is that if the Tories and Lib Dems form a coalition, we will see a goodbye to the best chance of electoral reform we've had, and ironically the potential end to the Lib Dem surge as a new "third force". Nick has to work through a short, medium and long term strategy in one day. The right answer for Britain will absolutely be a progressive coalition; fingers cross Nick has the courage to do it.