08 March 2010
Labour - Respect coalition talks
The Labour Party seems to be planning for a hung parliament as "very senior Labour figures have approached George Galloway to find out" what the Respect Party's price would be to support a minority Labour ministry in office. The interesting thing about this is the fact that Labour accepts that Respect will hold one and possibly two seats in the Tower Hamlets borough of London, otherwise they would not have bothered making the approach. With Salma Yaqoob also being tipped to take a seat in Birmingham a Labour-Respect coalition is not all that unlikely.
The Respect Party has put forward three conditions that Labour would have to agree to:
1. A massive council house building programme.
2. Withdrawal of all British forces from America's wars.
3. Democratisation of Parliament, with the introduction of proportional representation, ending of the right of hereditary peers to sit in the upper chamber and an end to the expenses scandals.
Labour could agree to the second and third conditions quite easily. America wants to withdraw its forces starting next year, and the British are highly unlikely to remain in the country alone. The government has already put forward its PR proposals, so that should not be a sticking point.
The problem is the campaign to build houses because that means taxing Labour's precious middle England voters. It really all depends on how much Gordon Brown wants to stay in office. The Exile's bet is that he wants to stick around for as long as possible, so tax rises for the middle class cannot be ruled out.