I come from Folkestone, a place where the Liberal Democrats form the main opposition to the Tories. A deep, tribal hatred of the Tories is engrained into my very soul.
On top of that, I'm gay. I fear for what a Tory Government will do to my personal liberty, based on their previous record. (my thoughts on that from the general election are here).
Despite my similar reservations about Labour's record on a wide range of subjects, my own view would favour an alliance with them over one with the Tories. But that is not what the situation we have been lumped with allows us. We have the Tories as the only viable single partner for any sort of agreement. And based on our principles and our belief in a "new politics" that PR would give us, we have no other choice than to at least pursue talks with the Tories.
Personally I feel a strong coalition would be good for the country. No one outside of political circles wants another election. A two-way coalition is the best option open to us. And thus I strongly support the negotiations ongoing at the moment... on one basis only...
Whatever compromises we must make, whatever policies we must put to the side, it is quite clear that now is the time for political and electoral reform. The Tories moaning about "It's the economy stupid" is ridiculous. How political and electoral reform will get in the way of dealing with our economic problems is unclear. If the economy is so important then the Tories will have no problem giving up their sacred, malnourished cow of FPTP? Any coalition or agreement MUST come out with promises of a referendum within the year... in my opinion.
With the Lib Dems keeping them honest I think the Tories will be able to sort the economy out without destroying our welfare state or harming our civil liberties. So I'm broadly supportive of what Guido Fawkes calls "the coalition for change", if not enamoured of it.
Many members of the party have threatened to cut up their cards over a coalition with the Tories, especially if PR is not given. I will not be so drastic. I respect the democratic process within our party and if the Federal Executive agrees to the deal without PR I will remain a member. An unhappy, grumbling, moany, unhelpful member. But I won't abandon the party just because the result of the negotiations don't go the way I'd like.
It's a difficult time to be a Liberal Democrat, I think that goes without saying. But hey... life's never simple! And if we do finally get PR, this sort of "grown up" way of thinking, without tribalism or intransigence will become ever more important.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist