Politics: The people voted for a coalition in 2010

And they did not make it easy for Labour to be a part of it!

Despite all the news coverage and commentary on the results of the 2010 General Election I was again today told by an agrieved former Lib Dem (which I have come to understand as meaning ‘I voted Labour in 2010 but having seen how many seats they lost I like to pretend I voted Lib Dem so I can have a go at someone about the state of the nation’).

This man tried to tell me that the Lib Dems should have formed a coalition with Labour rather than the Tories, and once again I had to take him through the sums.  Here, in fact, are those sums as they stood in 2010 immediately after the General Election.

Polititical Party Elected
Conservative 306
Labour 258
Liberal Democrat 57
Sinn Féin 5
Plaid Cymru 3
Green 1
Alliance 1
Speaker 1
Independent – Sylvia Hermon 1

The more astute readers of this column will see from this that the winning post (the number of seats needed to form a simple majority of 1) was 326 seats.

The only way in which a realistic coalition could therefore be achieved would be either a Con-Lab Coaltion (564 seats with a majority of 238), or a Con-Lib coalition (363 seats with a majority of 37) or a rather complex Lib-Lab-SDLP-Alliance+SNP+Plaid coalition (328 seats with a majority of 2).  In the latter of these options the smallest parter with just 3 seats could hold the rest of the Government to ransom as it holds more seats than the Government majority.
People not only forget how badly Labour did in the last General Election (a net loss of 91 seats, but they also seem to forget that the Lib Dems also made a net loss of 5 seats).

The simple truth is that the only way of providing stable government for this country was a Con-Lib Coaltion, and the Lib Dems have made the best possible deal from the hand dealt them by the electorate.


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