Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Can 'divide and conquer' work for Labour?

Labour's main strategy since the formation of the coalition has been to split the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats apart. It is an obvious approach, but one which may rebound if not done wisely. This has implications for the Labour party leadership election as each candidate wants to show that they are the wisest one of all.

David Miliband attempted on Twitter to convince Liberal Democratic MPs to vote against the coalition's budget, calling Nick Clegg a "dumb waiter" of the government. The budget passed with ease.

The problem is that Labour's attempts to prize the governing parties apart might end up bring them closer together – uniting them against their common political enemy.

Mike Smithson of has predicted that the coalition will fall on 6 May 2011, though not as a result of Labour. The date of the prediction is the day after the proposed AV referendum. Whatever the result, one of the coalition parties will be very unhappy on that day (the Conservatives if AV wins, the Liberal Democrats if it doesn't).

The next Labour Leader, whoever they are, will have to act very carefully next May if they want to continue the 'divide and conquer' strategy with the coalition.

If the next Labour Leader acts wisely, we might see the collapse of the coalition, an election and maybe even a Labour Prime Minister by this time next year. Acting unwisely may lead to a successful coalition lasting for a full five-years and Labour out of office for a generation.

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