A Coalition Electoral Pact?
There was some agreement at yesterday's Hansard Society meeting that the Conservatives were still drawing the poison of the Thatcher years in terms of their electoral appeal. No-one doubts that the Coalition has the happy effect of moderating some Conservative positions, and there is the persistent rumour that David Cameron prefers being in coalition to governing alone, when he would be even more subject to the raucous calls of his right-wing without the defensive buffer provided by the Lib Dems. Inevitably, there is going to be talk of whether it might help for the Conservatives to enter a formal electoral pact with the Liberals as well. This issue has received a little more attention as the result of an article by influential Tory MP Nick Boles in the Times. One moderate Tory reaction, very much favouring Boles' proposal, is here. However, as we were also reminded by yesterday's assembled academics, the round of party conferences is going to show us both Lib Dem and Conservative activists in tooth and claw, and they're unlikely to be welcoming the prospect of stronger ties with each other, whatever their leaders may want.