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The rise of the Dinosaurs' Coalition

Michael Crick | 21:45 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

There is a new coalition emerging in British politics.

Fresh from their resounding success in defeating AV, many Conservative MPs have started talking to Labour backbenchers who also voted No in the referendum trying to form a new alliance to defeat the proposals to reform the House of Lords, announced by Nick Clegg yesterday.

The grouping are buoyed by their success on AV, and united by a strong element of hating Liberal Democrats.

Critics will no doubt call them the Dinosaurs' Coalition.

And judging by the response to Clegg in the Commons, this new backbench Tory-Labour coalition looks likely to succeed.

It reminds me of the old alliance between Enoch Powell and Michael Foot which defeated Richard Crossman's plans to reform the Lords back in 1968.

As things stand, I just can't see how Clegg's Lords reform will ever get through the Commons, let alone the Lords itself.


  • Comment number 1.


    'Deputy Prime Miniter'. Dastardly Dave will see to it that he get's nothing more.

  • Comment number 2.

    Given the libertarian coup d'etat that Mr Clegg carried out in ditching the official LibDem manifesto and writing whole swathes of the Orange Book into the Coalition Agreement which his own party had previously massively rejected, Nick Clegg cannot be really very surprised that the rasberry he got in the local elections and AV vote is going to be reflected within Westminster machine as well.

    Clegg is damaged beyond repair - the electorate are never going to forgive him and those of us who voted LibDem tactically at the general election for a centre-left coalition but ended up getting a rightwing doctrinaire government instead that has done the exact opposite of what the LibDem manifesto said, would probably vote for the devil himself before they'd support anything Clegg now advocates.

    Bring on the Dinosaurs' Coalition - strangle anything Mr Clegg brings out @ birth on principle. With a complete set of "Nil Points" across the piste this will hasten the day the LibDems give him the elbow and end the Coalition.

    With LibDem support now below 10% and little or no prospect of the economy coming good by the next General Election, the LibDems are facing obliteration and are rapidly running out of time.

    Many say people beleive you should "never kick a man when he's down" - but I'd make an exception for Nick Clegg - a good dinosaur stomping seems entirely appropriate for someone who has systematically abused the democratic process to inflict policies that only a tiny minority of his own party support, let alone the electorate.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm flabbergasted that Labour MPs are getting so cosy with the Tories. Especially on an issue so fundamental as democracy in the second chamber. Will we see, for the second time this year, a Labour manifesto aspiration reduced to a cheap political battle against the Lib Dems? This is despicable, and is a sure way to deter disgruntled Lib Dems from defecting to Labour.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Critics will no doubt call them the Dinosaurs' Coalition"

    Now who could these nameless critics be? Let's have a look at that headline again...

  • Comment number 5.

    Critics may well call people who don't want to wreck our constitution a "Dinosaurs' Coalition", but supporters might want to call them a "Good Sense" or "Protectors' Coalition". How about reporting that, instead of just highlighting the negative?

    But apparently wanting an upper chamber that isn't composed of elected party-hacks and career politicians makes you a "dinosaur". The self-proclaimed progressives have truly gone mad!

  • Comment number 6.

    Well of course they wont vote to re-arrange the House of Lords. These people have received a letters patent from the Queen to attend that place; they feel that it is the zenith of their achievements. The Commons wont vote to replace it because most of them want to be in it. It confers, title, privilege and a comfortable stipend for being in what is, after all, the most glamorous club in the developed world. Its really like asking the monarchy whether they would care to reform themselves. Somehow, its an idea which has no legs.

  • Comment number 7.

    '4. At 13:08 19th May 2011, Roland D
    "Critics will no doubt call them the Dinosaurs' Coalition"
    Now who could these nameless critics be? Let's have a look at that headline again...

    Beat me to it.

    Along with 'a row has blown up' or 'sources are saying', this attempt to push self-originated personal agenda topics couched in such blatant and weak 'one degree of separation' allusions to 'others' who seem to be entirely in the author's own mind is dire.

    So, Mr. Crick, how do you respond to calls for you to answer such a charge?

    (Difference being, I actually am)

  • Comment number 8.

    Of course there was going to be an unholy alliance of old school party hacks opposing this. They don't want to see their right and priviledge of eventual ennoblement disappear at the apparent behest of some-one they detest. Even though Lords reform was in all their manifestos, but then they're all out of the window anyway, aren't they?

  • Comment number 9.

    dinosaurs OK i'll give you dinosaurs. the coalition for one are concentrating
    on the deform of the NHS big time, but cant get together to abolish a creaking arkaig institution. that in these times of austerity where cut backs are affecting all members of public service there should be no difference in the world of lords and the
    institution for Ermin and knighthoods. for people some of whom should be in rogues gallery i personally think they have had a good run!

  • Comment number 10.

    As the police would say, Nick Clegg, where hear, time to give yourself up. In America on such a low rating, the LIB Dems would be impeached. The 9 per cent I heard on BBC's coverage of Local Election would beat that of George W Bush on 22 per cent before he left presidency.

  • Comment number 11.

    Roland D,
    I can reveal the name of the critic, it is Michael Crick !

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes, the problem with all these phrases is that there is no way of knowing whether they are genuine or the journalist just fabricated them.

  • Comment number 13.

    @2 Richard: "Many say people beleive you should "never kick a man when he's down".

    Nick Clegg has personal wealth and a well paid job he lied and betrayed to get. He is not down. He just wants to be loved as well (diddums!) He could be described by a reported agnomen of a cousin of Julius Caesar: Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo Sesquiculus.

    Carry on kicking! Even if he loses his seat, he won't lose his home, won't have to get a real job, and may well be kicked upstairs to an unreformed Lords. Would he accept? Now THAT would be an irony!

  • Comment number 14.


    Quite - do you think Clegg will cross the floor to join the Tories when the brown stuff hits the extractor, or will he be given a seat in the Lords? Either way he will have elevated politics to a new level of backroom dirty deals that makes the Borgas look pretty amateur - even Machaevelli could have learned a few tricks from Clegg.

    Can anyone think of any politician who has gone from peak popularity to virtual complete detestation in such a short time? To be @ 9% in the polls is irretrieveable before the next election - are the rank & file LibDems simply in shock, or do they really think there is a way back - or are they still hypnotised by Clegg?

    The LibDems are sleepwalking into oblivion - British politics will realign into a much clearer left/right split based on those who want to shrink the public sector and those who see government as the mechanism to rebuild the economy - there will be no soggy centre left worth mentioning after the next election.

    I suppose there is no one suitable to take over if they do can Clegg - Huhne is under investigation, Cable is equally disliked now and Alexander is the standardbearer of the economic libertarians - the rest are nonentities.

    All the signs are there for an econoic meltdown - falling retail sales, a slaughter of public sector jobs, a tidal wave of construction industry job loses about to break, it will be Eire Take II by the autumn and the coalition will go the way of Fianna Fail.

  • Comment number 15.

    # 14 richard bunning

    the coalition will go the way of fianna fail.

    if this happens that would leave us in trouble with the IMF, unless we have a

    rainbow coalition until the full term of parliament.any further thoughts?

  • Comment number 16.

    how would an elected lords work, are people going to vote for the captains of industry, the business leaders, charity bosses etc that all make up on the whole an informed chamber or are they going to vote the party affiliated candidate in, so you end up with the commons mark 2,

    the lords whilst it has its faults and is packed with party hacks, it also is packed with some of the great and good who do the job more as a duty than as a job, there role isnt to appeal to the electorate it is and always should be to scrutinise legislation put through by the elected commons and act as a counter balance to the authority of the commons

    lastly i doubt clegg thinks we deserve a referendum on his constitutional vandalism
    much like the eu referendum we only deserve to vote if it might likely be in his favour

  • Comment number 17.

    One looks at British politics, then glances over to Canadian and then American.... and mind begins to glaze over with "who is who?"

    There is no Left liberal left in US, Democrats are at best centre right. Harper, despite being a conservative is more liberal than Obama and Clinton combined.
    And then, I look at UK and feel completely adrift....
    Why isn't there more lodestone working on the side of left, democrats and liberals? Look around, it is a messy world, revolutions, wars, mayhem, natural disasters, economic rife.... you would think extremist Right-wingers world over would be denounced. Does it not say something about the so-called Liberal democrats and their lack of transparency. And worse yet the vociferous commitment to the causes they are happy to flaunt about, but never deliver on.
    We need a culture of acceptance not tolerance.....

    But, in the end, the odd thing is that when I look at Cameron and Clegg together.... I am even more lost than before.

  • Comment number 18.

    17 ash-h

    on Cameron and clegg they remind me of morecambe and unwise. clegg reminds me of Les Denise and Cameron as basil fawlty. between them amongst their script writings are, up the creek without a paddle. were all in this together,"some deeper than others. rebels without a clause. he who scares wins. and land of makebelieve!

  • Comment number 19.

    What has this got to do with dinosaurs? Do we have to collide with an asteroid to eliminate the political class. That is a bit drastic....

  • Comment number 20.

    19 stanilic
    by your post i take it that you refer to my post 18. if not apologies.

    my post is more satirical than political more fun than politics alone. do you remember
    BBC,s this is the week that was David frost and Millicent martin. that was the best
    political satire of its time not a dinosaur in sight!

  • Comment number 21.

    Tories & Labour hate the Fib-Dems, but then most ordinary people can't stand politician, full-stop.

    The Spanish have the right idea - take to the streets & demand real democracy.

  • Comment number 22.

    #11 Congrats, Isatou; you win the prize.

    The Legion d'Honneure de Hercule Poirot awaits you.

  • Comment number 23.

    plans to reform the house of lords. nick clegg will have a battle on his hands.

    his political "soul mate" David Cameron, in less than a year has created no less than

    117 new peers. creating chaos in the second chamber, by reducing office and

    canteen space for the members. according to the London evening standard.



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