Today’s Guardian notes that Conservative leader David Cameron has left the door open to a possible post-election deal with the Liberal Democrats.
This must have been quite hard for Cameron to swallow, as daily he warns of grave danger from a parliament with no majority party. But the reality is that his party’s fortunes will have to turn substantially in the less than two weeks that remain of this campaign if he is to govern at the head of a majority.
Cameron did not rule out including electoral reform as part of any such inter-party deal, although he reiterated his preference for FPTP:
I want us to keep the current system that enables you to throw a government out of office. That is my view.
That’s a view that is well past its sell-by date, given that this campaign has developed into one in which Labour might well retain a share of power due to the electoral system’s failure to replace a “defeated” incumbent, even if it drops 6-8 percentage points in the polls from where it was in 2005. Sometimes FPTP simply fails on its own terms, and this election looks set to become an iconic case of systemic failure: the second largest party in votes could be a distant third in seats, while it is still very possible that Labour could be a fairly poor third in votes yet have the most seats.
Cameron’s preferred institutional reform of late is one that would mandate an election within six months of any PM change that resulted from something other than an election.