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Signs that it may soon all be over

Nick Robinson | 15:13 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

• A senior Lib Dem who's sympathetic to Labour who just told me the deal couldn't be done.

• News that, at last night's Liberal Democrat parliamentary meeting, not one but all four party negotiators reported back their fear that Labour was not serious about negotiations and was, instead, turning its minds to the forthcoming leadership contest.

• The fact that Vince Cable, who's so far kept his counsel, told the same meeting that though he had roots in the Labour Party he too feared that there might be only one serious offer.

• Andy Burnham apparently joining David Blunkett, John Reid, Tom Harris et al in telling his party that they should accept they have lost.

• The resumption of talks between the Tories and the Lib Dems.

• The sight of Gordon Brown's allies heading to Downing Street perhaps for one last farewell.

• The clincher for many, though, will be the sight of John Prescott calling for something he spent years fighting against - an alliance with the Liberals.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Lifelong labour supporter; we should avoid thios coalition. It feels bad, and that's from a tory hater.

  • Comment number 2.

    There has been a lot of criticism of Nick Clegg announcing formal talks with Labour, and it seems likely nothing will come of it. But surely it was a good move tactically? By raising the possibility of Lib-Lab deal Clegg's announcement produced an almost immediate offer from the Conservatives of a referendum on electoral reform, thereby removing the major barrier to Conservative-Liberal coalition.

  • Comment number 3.

    Perhaps the time has come, for the good of the country, for a Con-Lab alliance. They seem closer on policies than either to the Libs, with just a minor tweaking on when to fix the deficit and how friendly to be with Europe. You could have Cameron as PM, Darling as Chancellor, no reform and a stable government.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    The most important thing is a stable government to tackle the critically appalling economic situation in both the public and private sectors.

    The ONLY way to do that is by combining the Conservatives and Labour. The Lib Dems. numbers do not make it certain as there will always be the extremes of both parties that will vote against critical matters.

    A Lib Dem /Tory coalition will collapse is a few months and destroy the Lib Dems as they will not get voting reform before the collapse of the coalition.

    Then as the Tories have the most money that will call an election - and win /or not.

    But the critical thing that will be left undone will be tackling the dire National financial position.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is the fat lady finally getting ready to sing for Brown.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Labour hierarchy keep referring to the fact that 15 million people did not want a Conservative government. If you apply the same principal and add Tory and Lib Dem votes together you have a massive 17.5 million people who did NOT want to see a returning Labour Government. It is being stated that the result is what the British people wanted! I think not. I for one did not give my valuable vote for it to be manipulated in this way by Labour. Cathryn Leeds W.Yorks

  • Comment number 8.

    Unless the Tories are offering PR and fair votes for all and a decision to finally have a real democracy, Nick Clegg will have got nothing.

    The Tory Party has always opposed and tried to prevent democracy and the advance of the ordinary man and woman, so it is in their DNA to oppose democracy and votes for all and now fair votes for all.

    Time on moral grounds to finally become a democracy and for our politicians to engage in a mature intelligent debate before the electorate, not the terrible yah-boo politics of tories then Labour, tories then Labour...

    Democracy and fair votes for all! Our forefathers fought for it and were promised it in 1914 and still we don't have it!

  • Comment number 9.

    Common sense at last ... (I hope!)

  • Comment number 10.

    It's time for Conservatives to go it alone, the Lib. Dems. cannot now be trusted. They have been talking for too long to Labour as well.
    Not only do we have an unelected Prime Minister in Brown but we have Mandelson pulling all the strings trying to secure himself a job, would some one tell me why he appears to have so much say in our country when he is not elected. As things stand I'm not elected but could do a better job than him, all I have to do is line my pockets and walk into another job, no one gives a damn.
    Cameron had the majority vote he should go for it, it's no more of a risk than working with two faced Clegg.

  • Comment number 11.

    You can dress it up any which way you like Nick, I notice your tone appears to be more a labour lament than anything else... but its not all over yet.

    Plenty of damage can still be done and I still think that we will end up going through this whole charade in another 7 months or so... The only positive thing about it being that the Labour party will hopefully start eating itself over the next few months and end up back in electoral oblivion where it rightly belongs..

  • Comment number 12.

    These so called 'new politics' take far too long... Bring back decisive government and a firm ministerial hand.

  • Comment number 13.

    With lots of Labour people saying that a lib Lab government wouldn't be stable the Lib Con pact is the only viable one. Even if with a minority Tory government a united opposition forced through a referendum on changing the voting - it would only go as far as an AV system so the LibDems are not going to get anything more. They are not going to get anymore so they should take it. They will have established that the voting system can be changed and they may get more if we have an elected upper house.

    The LibDems have said that coalitions do work, so they now have to prove it. The other thought is that if Labour goes into meltdown the Liberals stand a better chance of being the effective opposition from within the government and we do need an effective opposition

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    There is hot air and horse trading but anyone can see that an illegitimate Labour / Liberal Democrat government would be political suicide for both parties.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hold all bags being loaded round the back of Downing St - papers off for mass shredding or personal belongings?

    Mmmmm! How interesting! Gordon Brown doing a runner?!

  • Comment number 17.

    I find it quite astonishing that we now seem to be heading towards a Con/Lib Dem government. Where I live these two parties absolutely hate each other. It will all end in tears.

  • Comment number 18.

    Although I suspect it is tongue in cheek, Mahros is maybe more than half-right.

    In 1992 in the Rep of Ireland, the Labour party (the 3rd "progressive" party in the Republic) made an electoral breakthrough and was kingmaker, much as the Lib Dems are now. They had to decide between going into coalition or forcing a grand coalition between the 2 largest parties.

    Against their better judgement, they went into government. They were destroyed by the larger coalition partner and have never really recovered electorally.

    So, Lib Dems, beware! Opposition maybe the best road to take.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick Clegg and the LibDems will still come out of this smelling of roses if they go with the Tories. Their defense will be that we simply couldn't just dismiss talks with Labour, they had to take place even if it was simply a case of "going through the motions".

  • Comment number 20.

    Signs that it may soon be over? Still no white smoke but credit where credit is due here.

    The Con-Lib deal is being rescued by the common sense of the decent folk in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Forced to sit by while unelected Mandelson, Campbell and Adonis called the shots was too much to stomach.

    LibDems faced the wrath and ridicule of the electorate. Leaving in its wake Clegg's naked ambition and Mandelson's naked grab for power. It's been like watching the Wizard of Oz. But will it have a happy ending?

  • Comment number 21.

    Nick Robinson, I thought you were absolutely brilliant specially yesterday in your reporting, as finally a great reporter reporting the truth about the election results in the middle of the haggling for power. The fact is that the conservatives won the election, short of 17 votes for a majority but still won, voted by a majority. Therefore the majority of the country voted to have the deficit of the country cut rapidly, for the benefit of the finances of the country, unlike what the labour MPs have been saying. Thank you Mr Robinson for having such an insight, remaining neutral yet having the courage of saying the truth!! Where are you today that we have not seen you on TV broadcasting.

  • Comment number 22.

    Time for Cameron to deliver the sucker-punch to Clegg and his capricious rabble?

  • Comment number 23.

    Well let's hope this is true. I believe the deal will be good for the Conservatives (able to show a softer side than they did in previous regimes) and good for the Lib Dems (able to show how they have helped run the country and have matured), provided that they work well together and stick together for the whole 5 years.

    Labour may become increasingly irrelevant if the Lib Dems can show they make a good, constructive, opposition to the Tories putting national interest ahead of party politics (which Labour have been unable to do for the last 5 years).

    It is a shame that we can't have some sort of amnesty allowing politicians to realign themselves to the party they feel most comfortable in now, rather than the party they joined as youths.

    As a one nation Tory, I like Cameron and find much appealing about Clegg. The far right of the Tory party is extremely offputting and is the reason why the Conservatives struggle to pick up votes. Let the Tory extremists join UKIP, the Blairites join the Tories and the 'progressives' join the Lib Dems and the socialists keep Labour.

  • Comment number 24.

    Who would rush to inherit this mess. None have answers and all do the bidding of the bankers. Political unstability is the future as none have answers and the bankers are only interested in extortion. Until the political-business-banking collusion process is cleaned up nothing of importance can happen. The bill for all this has yet to be laid at the publics feet and that is when things will get interesting. Printing money is the easy part, giving it some value takes some work.

  • Comment number 25.

    Of course a deal can't be done by a party that has failed us four thirteen years who seriously believed they could slum it with the LibDems and Gordon Brown as PM.

    He would never have gone.

    Gordon Brown would have reneged on every agreement and just stayed in Downing Street forever declaring it 'the rigth thing to do'.

    They are dead.

    Taxi for Brown!

    Saucer of milk for Cleggy.

    Lions led by donkeys.

  • Comment number 26.

    3. At 3:44pm on 11 May 2010, Mahros wrote:

    Perhaps the time has come, for the good of the country, for a Con-Lab alliance. They seem closer on policies than either to the Libs, with just a minor tweaking on when to fix the deficit and how friendly to be with Europe. You could have Cameron as PM, Darling as Chancellor, no reform and a stable government.

    Bloody hell the Labour supporters ARE getting desperate. Even thinking about a coalition with the Tories if they can somehow hang on to some power.

    Why not a coalition with the Devil? Oh, hang on a minute, they've tried that already: Peter Mandleson.

  • Comment number 27.

    I voted Lib Dem in a West Country constituency that is a very tight Lib Dem/Conservative marginal (the sitting Lib Dem MP won, hooray!) and personally I would support a coalition between the two parties providing there was at least some move towards voting reform (our present first-past-the-post system is blatantly unfair and leads to absurd regional results) and there was NO government bill introduced to repeal the Hunting Act. One of the reasons I voted for the Lib Dems (and against the Conservatives) in the first place was because I am opposed to the cruelty of foxhunting and hare coursing and, therefore, strongly support the ban on these barbaric anachronisms.

  • Comment number 28.

    No. 8: Nick Robinson's got that Tory-loving smile on his face.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi Nick, do you not think, any deal Clegg makes could kill the Liberal Democrats - literally. Far from being in a great position to pick and choose the Liberals are dicing with a slow death. Going with Labour will only lead to a strained coalition, which will lead to an early election and with everyone more likely to vote either for Labour or Conservative depending on which side they choose - not wanting to waste their vote again. The Liberal share would drop giving them less seats. Remember the events after 1974, and that October election? Kingmaker Clegg could be gambling with the lib party’s political life. In some respects he is lucky to be talking to the Conservatives....

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm a Labour supporter and voter and I'm glad the negotiations are over. The party will be better off regrouping in opposition and without the added pressure of taking criticism for government mistakes. It will give them the chance to refocus and get rid of some of the dead wood policies and politicians.

  • Comment number 31.

    Nick, if you are right that the Lib-Lab deal couldn't be done, David Cameron must now drive a MUCH tougher bargain and make no more concessions. After all, the Tories are the only show in town.

    The Lib-Dems have made themselves look very foolish and shown themselves totally unprepared for working in the real world. It's also a warning of how things might look under PR, when Hung Parliaments are the norm.

    Cameron should remind them that that page 67 of the Conservative 2010 Manifesto clearly states:

    "We support the first-past-the-post system for Westminster elections because it gives voters the chance to kick out a government they are fed up with."

    The Tories won the largest vote on that manifesto - and have no mandate for messing around with the voting system to suit a minor party.

    Clegg has made himself look ridiculous and should be sent to the naughty corner.

  • Comment number 32.

    As someone who would like to see a Lib-Lab pact on policy terms, I think a Lib-Lab pact would be a disaster now. If they do this, I think both Lib Dems and Labour would be smashed at the next election, and see the Tories in for a generation. Whereas if it's a Con-Lib pact, Labour can re-group in opposition and re-build from there - after all they wouldn't need much of a swing to get back into office. Let's hope the Lib Dems can keep Letwin, Hague, Osborne et al in check for the next couple of years.

  • Comment number 33.

    The conservatives cannot go it alone as has been commented. As night follows day I am now certain we will have a conservative/lib dem coalition. The real hard work is yet to come!!

  • Comment number 34.

    "The sight of Gordon Brown's allies heading to Downing Street perhaps for one last farewell."

    I imagine the scene being rather like the scene of Hitler's last birthday in the film 'Downfall'.

  • Comment number 35.

    Look at the post-election map of England - it's completely blue. All the Libs and Labs are in Scotland and Wales. It would fly in the face of the electors if the Lib Dems joined Labour to make a government, especially at a time when Scotland and Wales are screaming for their independence!

  • Comment number 36.

    Do people really think Peter Mandelson was making a serious offer? It seems far more likely that he is playing the long game. He had not even spoken to the SNP who would have had to be part of the lib/lab/other coalition. It seems he was simply undermining the bargaining position of the Conservatives with the hope of more left wing concessions and fracturing the right wing from the modernising elements of Tory Central Office. This worked for the Lib Dems as it strengthened their bargaining power and allowed Clegg to placate the majority of the labour leaning liberals with claims that he tried, but the labour party was not capable of governance. It seems plausible that mandelson agreed to this bluff because he is hoping for a fractured minority government with the hope of undermining a Con/Lib alliance. This would allow a back-biting unstable minority government to fall after making unpopular spending cuts, just when labour can present a nice new shiny leader for a general election.

  • Comment number 37.

    Tory / Lib Dem Government for 6 months then another election. Lib Dems squeezed out and Tory landslide. No referendum, no PR. Labour too busy fighting itself over leadership.

  • Comment number 38.

    If Labour's out of the picture let's hear more about the policy content of the Tory-LibDem deal that Nick and others have told us is the only viable option. Come on, Nick, there has to be more to this than AV vs PR and a few middling Cabinet seats! I don't believe LibDems are so opportunistic as to just leave it at that. So just what are we in for?

  • Comment number 39.

    Not what I wanted to see - the end of Lib-Lab talks. Now though, I would like to see the Tories go it alone.

    The Lib Dems should stand back from both and focus on growing support, where promised votes come to fruition at the next general election, which will hopefully be in a few months.

  • Comment number 40.

    Mahros - are you suggesting an experimental Labor-a-Tory?

  • Comment number 41.

    "#10 - says Cameron had the majority vote he should go for it, it's no more of a risk than working with two faced Clegg."

    My arithmatic might be out but I'm afraid less than 40% does not give you the majority vote!

    As even the conservatives have said - no party has a clear mandate, but it does now look like we are going to be subject to the horror of a tory govt.

  • Comment number 42.

    The longer this horse-trading goes on the more the public turns against the idea of a 'balanced parliament' and the less likely the Liberals will have of winning a referendum on PR.

  • Comment number 43.

    It was not the steps that Nick Clegg took in the process, this was entirely logical and expected, however the nature of how the process was conducted has done damage to both his personal image and that of the whole thought of PR and the nasty climate it creates.

  • Comment number 44.

    So now you point out how unstable the Lib-Con coalition is, Nick. Yes? Or isn't that worth getting as excited about?

  • Comment number 45.

    **My Head Says**

    Gutted, as I've been hoping for a shambles of a Lib/Lab deal and the country dishes out their feelings of such a move in a future election.

    **My Heart Says**

    I'm tired of a Labour run country. Despite the problems the Tories will undoubtedly endure, its time to redress the balance. Being in No.10 will be the only chance of giving Cameron the chance to install some pride back into our nation. Given the likely influence from the Lib Dems on policy, at least there is a chance Vince Cable can row back some of the deep cuts promised by the Tories. I hope he's involved in some way. His experience and knowledge could be vital over the next 6 + Months.

  • Comment number 46.

    I don't have any sympathies towards the Tories either, but with a Lib-Lab pact, sadly the numbers just don't add up. And the Tories did get more votes than anyone else. On the other hand, the Conservatives need to face that fact that the voting system needs to be changed! And the Lib Dems should not enter into any deals with the Cons that shoves this onto the backburner! The current systems is blindingly unfair - we can't have this system where often two third of the votes are just thrown into the bin! Clearly.

  • Comment number 47.

    Could the Lib dem and labour talks are a ploy by the Lib Dems to make the tories concede more to the lib dem position? I doubt that the Lib dems ever seriously considered going into coalition with Labour but used the talks as a bargaining tool with the Conservatives

  • Comment number 48.

    "Mur456 wrote:

    ........Not only do we have an unelected Prime Minister in Brown......"

    I'm sorry, but we don't elect Prime Ministers. That is not how our electoral system works. You elect a parliament (i.e. you vote for who your MP will be), and it that parliament who then elects its PM. The only person you get to elect is your MP.

    It's alarming how many people don't know how the system works!

  • Comment number 49.

    Lib/tory deal is a marriage made in Hell. Labour are well out of it. There will be a referendum on AV and the next election will be fought on those terms and the electorate will take their revenge on the Tories and Liberals.

  • Comment number 50.

    Stable government be blowed, the lot of them ( BROWN. CLEGG .CAMERON ) only want what is best for them and their parties, sod the electorate.

    Brown at the palace by 5pm.?

  • Comment number 51.

    10 Mur456 - "two faced Clegg" Wow, some sheep will simply lap up whatever the Daily Fail tells them, won't they? :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    1. At 3:39pm on 11 May 2010, Bryn The Cat wrote:
    Lifelong labour supporter; we should avoid thios coalition. It feels bad, and that's from a tory hater.

    Too late, I think they kicked you out...

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about re. the Lib Dems talking to both sides - it is politically pragmatic and sensible to assess fully all of the options and weigh up the possibilities. This is in the best interests of the country. To deny a Labour deal outright would have been myopic - however, to have entered into talks with Labour and decided, on balance, that the deal would have been wrong, is a much more sensible approach than ignored the option entirely. This strengthens the credibility of the Liberal Democrats, rather than undermining it.

    I think the most interesting things we've learned over the last 24 hours have been about Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton...

  • Comment number 54.

    Moderation going a bit wonky I think!

    Some comments moderated before others.

    One of mine bounced - probably because I was wondering what was in the bags going in the back of the vehicles at the back of No 10!

  • Comment number 55.

    As I have previously stated the idea of a Coalition Government between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives is unthinkable and destined to collapse. As a Liberal Democratic supporter I am appalled that Nick Clegg has even talked to Cameron and his team let alone enter into some unholy Alliance. If Nick Clegg wants to enter into a coalition with the Conservatives he only has to learn from history with what happend to the National Liberals and their pact with the Conservatives - they were effectively wiped out by the 1970's! And it would badly split the Party with Liberal Democrats supporters like me determined to bring it down at the first opportunity and given the make up of the new House of Commons there will be many opportunities to defeat any Administration and there will even be calls for Nick Clegg's resignation at the Party Conference.

    A Cameron led minority Conservative Government would be too weak and a disaster for the United Kingdom and have no mandate in most of the Union as he was rejected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The only solution is for a Rainbow Alliance of the Left which would fairly reflect the United Kingdom with a guaranteed 4-5 years Government. This would sure up the markets.

  • Comment number 56.

    And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain!
    My friends I'll say clear, I'll state my case of which I'm certain...

    I've never voted Tory before and, thanks to Nick, I didn't have to!

    Tory-Lib coalition who'd've thunk it!

    Election number two by October, it's 1974 all over again, eesh!

  • Comment number 57.

    The Lib Dems have held talks with Labour in secret, which proves that they cannot be trusted. Time for Cameron to form a minority government and call for another general election in 6 months time.

  • Comment number 58.

    The undoing of history

    ** Not Transparent
    I object to deals behind doors, driven by the least voted for UK party. This is not democracy. Lets remember how MPs need accountability (expenses)

    **Not Democratic
    It shows that a 'non first past the post' system will just bring appeasing gifts unto the minor party to be wooed - PR was not on the agenda, and has highjacked democracy. Electoral change was not an election issue.

    **Not Constitutional
    How dare Gordon give away a constitutional change(voting) on his deathbed. Lets have a straight 2 way race, the Lib Dem's can't oscillate the country like this - unprincipled! I would never vote for them again.

  • Comment number 59.

    Maybe after this is over you'll be able to get some sleep! No offense Nick but you look shattered mate!

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm sick of hearing about "unelected Prime Ministers". No Prime Minister has ever been elected by the British people and it is about time that the BBC stopped pretending that they have. We have a PARLIAMENTARY democratic system not a presidential one, and people vote for a candidate in their constituency from a PARTY which might form a government: they do not vote for a Prime Minister. The only people who voted for Brown, Cameron or Clegg live Kircaldy, Witney and Sheffield Hallam respectively, and in my constituency the choice was between five fairly unknown candidates, each representing their particular parties. Until we change to a presidential system it is totally irrelevant whether or not the Prime Minister was leader of a winning party at the time of an election.

  • Comment number 61.

    2. At 3:42pm on 11 May 2010, Julian wrote:

    There has been a lot of criticism of Nick Clegg announcing formal talks with Labour, and it seems likely nothing will come of it. But surely it was a good move tactically? By raising the possibility of Lib-Lab deal Clegg's announcement produced an almost immediate offer from the Conservatives of a referendum on electoral reform, thereby removing the major barrier to Conservative-Liberal coalition.

    This looks right.

    Also, I suspect he had to quieten the voices within his own party who really wished for a libdem/labour coalition. It seems the negotiations with Labour showed they were not seriously focused on a viable deal, and the process has demonstrated that to Clegg's own side.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm a Labour supporter (and, oddly, may renew my long expired Labour membership). Avoiding this coalition scenario is good for the party, good for democracy and moreover, good for the country. Labour can regroup, choose its new leader, and then think about fighting for re-election. The LibDem Conservative coalition really is the only way forward, apart from perhaps a minority government. However, it is probably that such a coalition will last a year or so maximum.

  • Comment number 63.

    All it takes now is for Cameron to walk into Number 10, set his bags down and then head for the Palace.

    A snap election now would catch Labour on a hop with Gordon Brown still in charge and no chance of electing a new leader before the polls open.

    And the Liberals lack of integrity is on display for all to see. Half of my colleages who voted Liberal Democrat now wish they'd voted Conservative as it is!

    It would be an absolute massacre and one to secure a Conservative majority for years to come with no concessions given to Clegg and his party of losers.

    I'd support a coalition of the Convervatives with the up and coming Liberals we were led to believe they were last week. It's just not the case is it, their share of seats is falling.

  • Comment number 64.

    And now my first comment referred!

    Still can't criticise Labour people directly then, even if I'm only quoting what their own MP's are saying?

    Come on moderators - get a grip!

  • Comment number 65.

    We should all bear in mind that neither of the major parties have ever had any wish to introduce PR. They have always been vehemently against it. My relatives in New Zealand tell me that whilst they have had a similar system since 1996 there are currently opinions being voiced that they should return to first past the post as some MP's , from minor parties, get in without ever having been elected. They say that at least with a FPTP system you get to elect the MP you want, not somebody that a party decide to put in place simply because they have to put forward a nomination.

  • Comment number 66.

    The one thing hat appears to have happened is that, David Cameron has not, at least in public become partisan, unlike Gordon Brown and sad to say Nick Clegg.

    If an alliance comes out of the talks, of course it wont be easy, of course there will be those on both sides that disagree, but, if we presume that it will be a Tory /Lib Den arrangement of some sort The Country needs strong positive leadership and the MP's, of both Tory and Lib Dem, have to put aside their differences and concentrate on what is really important, the common ground of getting rid of this horrendous deficit and getting the UK back to work and in profit. Everything else can then folow on.

  • Comment number 67.

    "The Tory Party has always opposed and tried to prevent democracy and the advance of the ordinary man and woman, so it is in their DNA to oppose democracy and votes for all and now fair votes for all."

    Who believes this nonsense? I am a Tory, I am a fervent believer in democracy and would love everybody in this country to be super-rich and have brilliant schools. The same goes for every Tory I know, including a senior Treasury Minister and a couple of MPs. This sort of stuff about the Tories is worse than conspiracy theories about 9/11. Really, just spouting prejudice and bigotry( yes I know...) is neither argument nor deep politcal thought.

  • Comment number 68.

    Have we not already had a vote on Proportional representation and Av?
    If the Electorate had wanted it the Lib Dems would not have been third in the number of votes cast

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    @Bryn the cat
    I wonder why you hate the Tories so much? I know what happened in the 80s was no fun - but it always struck me as necessary. This country was going down the pan due to useless management and militant unions in the public sector. We surely couldn't have kept going as we were.

    Now, I find not that I hate Labour - but I hate the fact they have screwed up monumentally on the economy. My sons are teenagers. They will be paying back the debts Labour has racked up ALL THEIR LIVES. The debt will be 1.4 trillion by 2015 - that's 50 THOUSAND POUNDS for every taxpayer in the country. If they pay an EXTRA thousand pounds tax EVERY YEAR, to repay the debt, they'll be PAYING it for 50 YEARS! All their working lives.

    I'm a natural Labour voter but even I will acknowledge that, just like the 1970s - they are really messed up on the economy.

    Brown said he would not allow a house price boom to put at risk the sustainability of the recovery. Those were his exact words in 1997 - yet my kids face taking on mortgages of hundreds of thousands of pounds just for a tiny flat.

    And, an army of Buy to Let investors have been allowed to buy up property - fuelling the boom in debt - and pricing young people out of the housing market.

    By contrast, I see a Conservative party that really isn't the party of Squires and Shires that it used to be.

    So, let's give them a chance. Let's face it - it would be hard to imagine anything worse than what we've had for the last 13 years.

  • Comment number 71.

    The Tories spent a fortune using the tax avoiding Lord Ashcrofts money to try and buy their way back into power and still a clear majority of the electorate didnt vote Tory! Cameron was often sarcastic about Brown being an unelected Prime Minister, he is about to inherit that mantle.

  • Comment number 72.

    If I had a pound for every time I've heard any politician from the big three parties say "stable and secure" government I would be a rich man. Just do it please and stop talking about it!

  • Comment number 73.

    Regardless of what outcome is coming and what we think of all three parties, it bemuses me to hear people say 'OOH NICK CLEGG IS DRAGGING HIS HEELS', 'WHY HAVEN'T THEY RESOLVED IT YET'.

    We're talking about fairly intricate talks that will have serious ramifications for both the parties and the country as a whole - we're barely 96 hours from when this verdict was announced. The constant hounding, pontificating, rumour mongering and jabbering by all Political Correspondants, coupled with the anxious fear mongering 24hour news stations desperate for a story, has been scandalous and a disgrace.

  • Comment number 74.

    I hope you're right Nick. It woild be a travesty and would make Britain a laughing stock if the party that came 1st in the election didn't form the Government.

  • Comment number 75.

    The Lib Dems showed bad faith by secret negotiations with Labour. They tried to play both sides off against each other, they wrung a concession on electoral reform out of the Conservatives by negotiating with Labour; now the Lab-Lib talks have collapsed the Conservatives should withdraw that concession and dare them to withdraw.

    AV is a bad system which favours the votes of extremists. If one candidate doesn't get a majority then you take the second choices of those who voted for the candidate with the least votes, then the second-least votes, and so on. This means that it's the voters with the most extreme and unpopular views whose second votes are given priority.

    Take an example of just three candidates: Conservative get 49 votes, Labour 49 votes, BNP 2 votes. Second choice of conservative voters is for labour; second choice for BNP voters is for conservative. Under AV the Conservative would get in with 51 votes whereas Labour was the first or second choice of 98% of the voters.

  • Comment number 76.

    Perhaps Nick Clegg should use aform of PR to decide which party to support. He could be in a coalition with the Conservatives on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and with Labour on Thursdays and Fridays.

  • Comment number 77.

    It is obvious that there is no comfortable place in politics for the Lib Dems at present. The signs speak for themselves. But can the Lib Dems work with the Conservatives? Any pact which falls apart soon after agreement will be bad for the Lib Dems. The most interesting debate - but one that hasn't featured much in discussions - is whether if the current results have somehow produced a totally unworkable parliament there should be greater focus on complete devolvement for Scotland and possibly Wales. In England the election result was an over-riding Conservative majority. So the idea that David Cameron has had to wait patiently for the Lib Dems or could have got together with Labour has made a mockery of how electoral system. But I don't think a Lib Dem/Con pact will work. It is all just a bit like Sartre's Huis Clos where Hell is Other People and you are in a room for eternity with 2 other people who will forever grate on your nerves.

  • Comment number 78.

    Get used to a new type of politics. Coalitions and rainbow governments are part and parcel of the politics of the rest of Europe. The scramble for power is the same but hopefully it is more evenly distributed.

  • Comment number 79.

    I voted for Lib Dems.I feel Cons - Lib Dems coalition is the best for the time being. Britain has entered the new phase of coalition politics and we should accept it. I think Lib Dem manifesto will be implemented.

  • Comment number 80.

    At the end of the day, Nick Clegg has a responsibility to represent the near quarter of the population that voted for his party in this election.

    It's perfectly fair in this context that he should've tried talks with both parties to see which was willing to allow him to offer best representation for his voters.

    It seems now however neither party is willing to give much, and although a hung parliament might have bought Clegg some nigh on negligible concessions he'd never have otherwise got with a Labour/Tory majority, it seems that it's pretty much back to old politics and a single party with support of only a minority of the population getting their way almost entirely. It's a real shame after we were so close to real change, but alas, the two main parties of old were always going to resist having a truly progressive, better way of doing politics, because the current system just suits them far too much.

    I suspect come next election, we'll just see another FPTP based Labour majority due to Conservative spending cuts destroying their reputation, and it'll just be business as usual, because once Labour with a new leader gains popularity again, what interest would they have in backing a fair voting system anymore?

    Good work to Clegg, and all the Lib Dems and other supporters of proportional representation or at least partial PR, in trying to make British politics more balanced, more reasonable, more effective, and less corrupt, but alas, the two big parties are just still too far entrenched in their trenches of power hungry control freakery.

    There is of coures another congratulations due- congratularions to Rupert Murdoch for using his press (The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The News of the World, The Sun, Sky, etc.) to push yet another election in his favour, which helps ensure the corrupt politics of old are maintained, and in turn his business stay profitable, and him and his kids stay rich.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think it's time for Gordon to say he will see the Queen tomorrow and recommend she sends for DC or Nick Clegg as they are all tories now.
    I think the country needs reminding what a full blown Tory government is like we will see a huge spike in unemployment as they try to get the economic and electoral cycles back in unision (1979-1981 revisted) I'm off to do some serious shopping now before VAT goes up in 50 days and whilst I still have a job.
    Nick Clegg is like little red riding hood he's gone inside the room but hasn't noticed the pointy ears and big teeth. The tory party will eat him for breakfast.
    Labour needs to now turn to the future -a record 3 term Labour Government is something to be proud of and I do believe that had DC and George been in charge during the financial crisis the cash points would have stopped working. Also considering this has been the worst recession since the 1930's Labour has a lot more seats than the tories had in the last parliament, a good platform to build on.
    Lets elect a new leader and now we are the only party of the centre left set our sites on the Next General Election -probably with more MPs when its called as Lib dems with seats in the North of the UK start to cross the floor of the house over the next few months.

  • Comment number 82.

    Commonsense tells most people that New Labour has lost the Election yet they still hold onto power as though they cannot believe what happened.

    What don't they understand?!! The UK Electorate voted and New Labour polled less votes, over 2 million less votes, than the Conservatives but because of the unwillingness of Brown who doesn't do resignation we see this nation descending into chaos. For God's sake accept the situation. Brown is unpopular, New Labour are unpopular and they have been voted out under our democratic system whether they like it or not.

    It is, perhaps, time for Electoral Reform but PR is not the answer as we would have this chaos in probably every single future Election.

    The LibDems and New Labour say they have polled more votes together, so what!! In excess of 15M people decided not to vote and in reality, without the Thirsk & Malton result, New Labour only polled 18.89% and the LibDems 14.98% respectively of the total UK Electrorate. Even added together that only makes 33.87% of the total UK Electorate!!

    They talk of fairness and popularity both of which they appear to havve vvery little.

  • Comment number 83.

    " 21. At 4:04pm on 11 May 2010, R Southey wrote:
    The fact is that the conservatives won the election, short of 17 votes for a majority but still won, voted by a majority. "

    Please can the moderators start addressing the fact that posters are repeatedly misrepresenting the facts. The conservative party polled less than a quarter of the electorate. That is less than 25%, or less than HALF what is needed for a majority.

  • Comment number 84.

    26. At 4:07pm on 11 May 2010, Mark from Bristol wrote:

    You had your irony radar switched off when you read this comment, then?

  • Comment number 85.

    If proportional representation in any form is going to work then we need to move away from this adversarial style of politics to one of rational debate and compromise. When this is all over, I for one will remember those politicians of all parties who behaved with dignity and restraint as well as those who disappointed most of us with their grubby self-interest.

  • Comment number 86.

    Despair followed by elation - tempered with more despair then a glimmer of hope. That's been my day so far.

    The very thought of two losing parties joining forces to keep out a democratically elected third party with the most votes was just too shabby to think about. Once more David Cameron has shown that he has a level head in a crisis and acted honourably - which is more than can be said for the other two leaders.

    My fear is that this has been just a glimpse of what it would be like when electoral reform takes place. Nasty horse trading, knives out and duplicitous behaviour.

  • Comment number 87.

    A coalition between the regressive left was always a non-starter because Labour don't want to clear up the mess left behind by Gordon Brown. They'd much prefer to carp from the sidelines as the Tories undo all the damage GB inflicted on the country over the last 13 years.

  • Comment number 88.

    The Liberaldies are doing what they do best ie trying to get their Clegg over anything that says "we're three" ,after all its not as if their civil union would be permanent, or that they would have to look at eachother on the aye way to nowhere.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    It's disappointing to see the response of some on here - that "we can no longer trust the Lib Dems"

    If you believe strongly in something, then it's quite right that you should talk to whoever you need to in order to get what you think is the best deal for the country. The Conservative front bench (not the old guard that keeps being dragged out of the cupboard to amuse the press) seem to agree that this is a perfectly reasonable way for the Lib Dems to have acted, so I wish some people on here would wake up to that fact too

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry Nick but the BBC coverage, yours included, has gone beyond reporting. I shall give the benefit of the doubt and put it down to sleep deprivation. However, any objective viewer will have detected an anti-labour sentiment in the reporting. With the 24 rolling news coverage which we now 'enjoy', the media needs to be very careful to ensure comment and speculation doesn't itself become part of the story and become an influence on events. In my view a lot of what I have watched has been slanted at manipulating events. It was plain last night when it suddenly seemed possible Labour would have a deal with the LDs.

  • Comment number 92.

    It would be a shame not to put people before party.

    There is an historic opportunity to change politics in the UK forever.

    It is a chance we should seize, despite temporary misgivings and despite compromise.

    Without this compromise we might see higher unemployment and damage to the economy. People's lives matter and should not be sacrificed for individual party gain.

    I would urge Labour to join the Lib-Dems and inject a positive fresh approach to democracy in the UK.

  • Comment number 93.

    Great reporting Nick, but when are we going to see you go toe-to-toe with the Dark Side a la Adam Boulton? Never mind the new politics, time for New Journalism : confront and condemn

  • Comment number 94.

    In recent days, several acquaintances have - quite independently -referred to you as 'that Tory guy with the glasses'.

    I see what they mean.

  • Comment number 95.

    What was that phrase about selling ones birthright for a mess of pottage? Shameful from the LibDems. All you Camorons here remember Neil Kinnock's comment re Thatcher, which is still true today - 'I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old'. Can the libdems stomach Chancellor Osborne and his budget?

  • Comment number 96.

    It's funny to see Labour MPs going all principled and conceding defeat. The real reason is that Labour are not in such a bad position. 4th term was too much to ask for but they held on to a substantial number of seats and the poo really is about to hit the fan in the economy. Voters will blame the Conservatives for the cuts.

  • Comment number 97.

    It does rather look as though by bedtime tonight it will be a ConDem-Nation.

    Ah but - which nation?

    What these past few days must have surely revealed to even the most disinterested voter living in England is that we English need to have our own Parliament or continue to suffer undue influence from the so-called 'Celtic fringe'.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm sorry, but I voted Liberal Democrat to try and keep the Tories out. If Nick Clegg signs up to support Cameron - I shall never vote for them again as I believe it's not a price worth paying for electoral reform - particularly when all that's on offer from Cameron is a form of tinkering with the old first past the post system! Also, please keep that man William Hague off our TV screens, he makes my skin crawl - spawn of Thatcher!

  • Comment number 99.

    I think that I will write to the National Lottery, stating that although my numbers were not correct, I still want the money.....
    Where is the dignity in this farce? If PR is the deal-breaker for the Lib-Dems to join the Tories in a stable long-lasting Government in this crucial time in our history then they will be seen as nothing more than a self-centered minority party. I hope that they are so much better than that.

  • Comment number 100.

    Mandy has just performed the ultimate stitch up - persuaded Brown to resign on the basis that they could form an alliance with the Libs with a different leader - and then made sure they made the Libs an offer they had to refuse. Brown still has to go, Mandy will get Milliband (D) into the leadership and a good chance of another election later this year.


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