Saturday, 29 January 2011

Just how much support does True Wales really have?

It is is difficult to measure the exact support for True Wales but if we were to look at those who have joined their facebook site here you will see that at the current moment 3:00PM on Sunday 29 January they have only 71 people members.Tthis compares with 2,474 for the Yes for Wales facebook site here. In fact the Ceredigion Says Yes here site with 94 members outstrips them. There also more Yes sites and they seem to be growing.]

Taking in account True Wales has been going for quite some time now there does not seem to me to be the emphatic support of a grassroots movement that they claim to represent. It would be wrong for me to claim that we can use Facebook membership as a complete measure of how much an issue is supported but it is the only real source we have and at the moment it is telling that despite being in existence far longer than the Yes for Wales campaign True Wales has failed to gather any form of grassroots support and one wonders how the media can justify tallowinf them to make such claims without any form of challenge.

I suspect that the media and the BBC are promoting True-Wales as such because they think it will male the referendum more intresting. They may be right but thats no reason not to point out how Little support they have in reality.

This is one other way you can measure the extent of  True Wales support and that comes from their own website.

On this they have a link to a online petition that has been in existence since April 22 2010
which state.
We, the undersigned, oppose plans for direct law-making power to be granted to the Welsh Assembly. 
We believe that such power is unnecessary and will result in:
additional costs. W
a further step towards separation from the UK.
centralisation without bringing real power closer to the people.
no additional economic benefits.
We call upon our representatives to use the powers they already have, and focus their efforts on improving public services and job opportunities for the whole of Wales.
So far this has attracted only 728 signatures despite being in existence for over ten months . Their aim was for over 10,000 so they have only reached 7.3% of their target.

In comparison  a petition startes  on the 25 January to  Keep Driving Standards Agency jobs in Cardiff  (Sign Here) has already reached 403 signatures.

I think its clear from this that True Wales are not a grassroots movement but rather a movement that no one really supports apart from a few disgruntled Labour  people  in Gwent and those who support UKIP.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Establishment can't understand Irish Republicanism.

I think I've mentioned before  that when living in London I used to drink in an "Irish" pub called the Stags Head . Most of the Irish clientèle whilst sympathetic to  the republican  movement in the "Six Counties" were not supporters of IRA violence,but their  were often perplexed with some of the Westminster actions one of these was the voice ban on Gerry Adams and other Republicans in the early 1990's which ended up with the riduculous situation where actors were employed by the BBC to give voice overs to Adams,  which only played into Sinn Féin hands as portraying the British Government as been autocratic and undemocratic.

The ban was eventually lifted in 1984 as was the travel ban on some Republicans.

As an Irish Republican Adams refused to take his seat partly because he couldn't swear an oath of allegiance but also because to his mind the British Parliament is a foreign parliament as much as the US Congress is to Irish republican.

The London establishment have never understood this in fact they have never really come to terms with the establishment  of an Independent Irish state.

For Christmas I was given Claire Wills book That Neutral Island (Faber and Faber 2007) a superb examination of  Ireland during the Second World War. I recommend this to everyone because it helps in understanding much of Irish national thinking during this period but also shows that Britain still had colonial attitude towards Ireland. Which still exists today  on the Benches of the British Parliament

With regards Adams and I in no way support any advocate for political violence. The British establishment have never come to terms  with him and his charismatic appeal to Irish republicans. So when he resigned his West Belfast seat in the House of Commons by  his mind by the simple means of sending a letter to the speaker which read.

‘A chara I hereby resign as MP for the constituency of West Belfast. Go raibh maith agat  Gerry Adams.’
Naturally the British Establishment  went into a  flap claiming that he could only resign by the archaic parliamentary tradition, to apply for an Office of Profit under The Crown before he can stand down.

This may have been a bit terse but is the sort of letter thousand write when handing in their notice and seems to me a perfectly legal (Though perhaps rude) means of resigning by some one who never liked working in the place.

This  appears to have led Mr Adams being appointed  to the  Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead although he as not applied for it.

The pathetic and misleading announcement of this by David Cameron  and the reaction of his Public Schoolboys  on the backbenches   was meant to embarrass Adams but he (Cameron)  and the rest of the establishment including the BBC's David Cornock's cannot realise that Adams and his  Sinn Féin supporters don't give a toss what the British Establishment  think ,or for its archaic traditions and probably never will.

But one wonders if Adams was to challenge this under the Human Rights Act what the result would be? Or what would the reaction be if the establishment thought there was any chance of Sinn Féin losing  the subsequent byelection?


One night in 1994 I entered the Stags Head where the topic of discussion was the lifting of the Voice ban on Gerry Adams and other republicans  only one person did not look pleased at this so I asked him why.
I'm an Actor" he replied "I've just lost a lucrative  money spinner as dubbing my voice for Gery Adams for the BBC news".

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

This not a reason to vote No.

Sian Caiach an Independent member on Carmarthen Council   who previously resigned from Plaid Cymru  after a series of on going disputes  the decision to allow homes to be built on the site of Llanelli Rugby Club’s historic Stradey Park stadium has made her question whether to vote Yes in the referendum on more powers for the National Assembly.
Ms Caiach , who is one of the founding members of a new group called People First, is unhappy that Environment Minister Jane Davidson allowed Taylor Wimpey to proceed with the development on the site, which carries a risk of flooding.

Ms Caiach said: “

"The people of Stradey have just had their faith in the Assembly shattered. The government of Wales has backed down under threat of legal action from Taylor Wimpey and allowed building on a C2 flood plain in an area where the sewage system is seriously overloaded.“This begs the question, ‘Why should we vote for more powers for the Assembly Government when they abuse the ones they have?’
A cynic would argue that this was more about promoting her new People First  grouping  and I am am fed up with those who think that putting "People" in their name gives them some sort of superior position. From Blaneau Gwent  Peoples voice to Torfaen Peoples Voice and Llais Gwynedd we have had these groups which on reflection has shown to be largely the manifestation of peoples egos and this is reflected in the fact that they have no really strategy except to claim that they are different from Political Parties and that they represent the views of the "People" who ever they are perhaps a Welsh version of Flan O'Briens  "Plain people of Ireland"?  But in reality they end up with  no real strategy except for the use of populist  politics  and opposing plans like closing local Schools. They seem to encompass the whole right-left spectrum but the main thrust seems to be to claim to represent the ordinary voter  but of course like all politicians they only  represent one section of the community. By all means oppose the cozy world of mainstream politics but don't claim you speak for all.

However Ms Caiach is probably right to oppose the Stradey plans but is this really a reason to vote no.Can she really say if this came under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State for Wales the response would be any different?

The fact is the Assembly may the wrong decision  in this case aand will make wrong decisions if it achieves it new powers after the referendum. If you think that voting yes on March 3rd will result in some kind of Utopian government think again.
 Whether  an Assembly Parliament or Independent government will result in decisions being made that you will think that are wrong bit they will be our decisions and our responsibility. That is being grown up we cannot go on blaiming Westminster for our troubles and at the same time refuse to take responsibility for our own affairs. Those Labour members of True Wales who look at Con-Lib proposals for Education and the Health service in England might well reflect on this.

As the late Gwyn Alf once said
"We have been around for 2000 years its time we were given the Key of the Door".

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Lib-Dem win Marl Byelection but its not impressive.

he results for the byelection for the Marl ward of Conwy council resulted in s a Liberal Democrat gain from the Tories.

LD 389 (40.4; -10.1)
Con 270 (28.1; +5.7)
Lab 216 (22.5; +14.2)
Ind 87 (9.0; -9.7)
Majority 119
Turnout 31.3%
LD gain from Con

The % change which I got from the Lib-Dem Association of Liberal Dempcrat Councillors ALDC looks like a major victory for the Lib-Dems but Marl is a two seat ward and they held the other seat last time with a huge majority

2008 result
Michael Alfred Priestley Welsh LD 848 37%
Linda Ann Hurr Welsh  Con 375 16% Elected
Samantha Louise Cotton  Con  349 15% Not elected
Delyth Shotter Ind l 315 14% Not elected
Barry Wynne Owen Ind 293 13%
Roy Gambrill Lab 139 6%

Mike Priestley is the Lib-Dem Assembly candidate and although he can claim victory in his ward it is not as impressive as it looks. Particularly when you look at the 14.7% swing to Labour.

Comenting on the ALDC website the Lib-Dems who haven't had  had too much to celebrate with regards By-election recently posted.
We had kept our ear to the ground and could see that a by-election was likely as far back as October last. We introduced a new focus editor and started focusing as a team. When the resignation came we called the election immediately catching the Tories on the hop. The postal vote was issued on January 2nd we made sure that despite the weather they all received personal bi-lingual letters from Mike and the candidate. We followed this with further focuses and street letters, and a final targeted letter from Lord Roger Roberts. The Tories put out a confused variety of literature and Labour were entirely negative. With a turnout of 31%, a postal vote turnout of 75% justified our postal vote work. Emphasising the hard working team is a key message in all your literature where we have a track record. 
Based on this and will the Focus team leaflets be counted as electoral expenses and although I acept the weather may have influenced people applying for postal votes . I am worried that political parties have too much involvement in people obtaining them. 75% is a very high number and whilst I am sure that all was above board at the Marl by-election I am concerned that if Political parties or organised groups take to much of arole when it comes to postal votes it threats the secret ballot and the democratic system.

If we are too have increased postal votes then we must ensure that they are as  secret and as democratic as voting in a poling booth recent disclosures in other council election have concerned me of this.

I am sure that in Conwy the whole process was based on the commitment of honest Lib-Dem workers but what if it dishonest people wished to misue the Postal vote the current system makes it open to abuse.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Why True Wales Won't Play.

News that True Wales Gwent the group calling for a No vote in the March referendum on further powers for the Welsh Assembly , has said it does not want official status as a lead campaign comes as no surprise..

This will probably mean that the  Electoral commission , the watchdog overlooking the referendum must decide whether it can appoint lead campaigners for the "No" side by 2 February. If not it may well decline funding to the Official  Yes for Wales campaign.

So what are True Wales Gwent realy up to?
  • They may be generally opposed to the spending of money £70,000 which they would receive in order to campaign, plus free mailshots to every home in Wales. But if this so I presume they will also be opposed to Political parties receiving Free mailshots  at election time.
  • They may hope that it will result in fewer people taking an interest in the referendum anf#d this would result in a lower turn out. But as iI suspect the Yes campaign are more likely to vote .Wouldn't this mean theYes campaign  would have a larger majority? So have rue Wales Gwent accepted they will lose the referndun and hope that a low turn out will lead to the Westminster Government question its validity. 
  • The wish to portray themselves as honest ordinary people up against a well financed political elite.Miserable Old Fart has answered most of this on his Blog here. But it seems to me that True Wales Gwent resemble the Tea Party in America who lacking any real argument or intellectual clout, (some might argue that I am guilty of this)  try and pretend that ignorance is a virtue. But it is ridiculous to call the Welsh Assembly an elite and thus inferring  that their preference, being governed by the Con-Lib government at Westminster is not a grater elite. Some of these people in True Wales Gwent   are supposed to be Socialists for God-sake.
  • They do not wish to register because this would mean that they finances are open to scrutiny and far from being backed by the "pennies of the ordinary peopleas they would like to claim"  they have or will receive financial backing from some embarrassing sources.

There may be other reason,  but it is a sad day for democracy when one side of a campaign cannot put forward its case because the other side knowing that it has no real argument (only the abuse that resembles the far right of American politics) declines to take fully part in the process.

True Wales Gwent have form. They have earlier claimed that they couldn't get any Welsh speaking supporters to represent them because these were afraid of intimidation but most of us suspect they just don't have enough Welsh speakers able to debate the issues rationally.

There is a glimmer of hope Miserable Old Fart under his name of David Alwyn ap Huw Humphreys.Has asked the Electoral Commission that he could lead a No campaign on the grounds that the proposal  dodn't go far enough. If he is successful I would suspect there would be much recrimination and blood letting amongst those Non-Elites of True Wales Gwent .

Like a little boy who knows that despite his boasts,knows that he will not be very good in the actual game and  tries to take the ball away. But it's not his ball its ours and we want to see him try and show us that he is as good as he claims.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Will AV wipe out Plaid?

In today Western Mail Dr John Cox  argues that the implication of AV could result in Plaid MPs be wiped out at Westminster especially when taking into account the proposals for larger consultancies in this I am in agreement it is of interest that the Lib-Dems could also lose their three seats and this also seems likely though on the current polls they would do so anyway.

Though I suspect that the Lib-Dems  with some misgiving would sacrifice their 3 Welsh seats for the chance of  ay 20 -40 more in England and perhaps wiping Plaid and the SNP out

Of course this should not be a reason to oppose AV if it resulted in a truly proportional representation but unless you looked at this from a purely UK angle  in which the nationalist parties and all the Northern Ireland parties would probably not meet a percentage threshold then of about 5%  giving them a nominal entitlement of 3 MP's then this will not be fair.

Of course in Northern Ireland the London parties do not largely stand so there may be a case that the introduction of AV would result in more proportionality. But the fact that they recognise the uniqueness of the Six counties  is an Tacit acceptance by the London parties that "Regional " factors should be included in any assessment of whether a system is proportional or not.

My argument  is that although in a minority when it comes to Westminster elections both Plaid and the SNP have enough support to claim seats in the Commons based on the idea of proportional representation. It would be a shame if the introduction of AV could result in them having less representation than they are entitled to under a proportional system based on the Welsh or Scottish percentage of votes,

At the moment Plaid's could claim that it was entitled to  4-5 of the 40 welsh seats based on its votes in Wales, where the SNP cou;ld claim 11-12 instead of the 3 and six they currently have.

I think Plaid's leadership should make a step of rejecting AV not because it threats theircurrent  seats but because it is con masquerading as given us more democracy ,as Dr Cox points out this may well be far from the truth in Wales at least.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Peter in Denial.

I said in my last Post regarding the Oldham  East and Saddleworth By-election,. that I was
" looking forward to Peter Black and Subordinate Centre commenting because I am certain they and every other LibDem Bloggers will be trying to spin that they vote held up"
Good old Peter has managed to fulfill my prophesy ,  he has posted twice on the the subject here and here  in which he tries to look on the bright side . He concludes in his latest post that.
"The other misconception comes from the assertion by the new Labour MP that the voters in her constituency had sent a message to the coalition government.Given that the combined vote of the coalition parties was 15,641 compared to Labour's vote of 14,781 I think we are entitled to ask what precisely that message was". 
Er.... except the combined Con-Lib-Dem vote in the previous election was 25,856 which means a loss of 10,215 votes.. The Labour vote however increased by 532. This may not be a ringing  endorsement for Labour but it is a clear rejection against the coalition partners both of whom lost votes.

I am sure Peter will argue that I should not be combining the General Election vote as there was no coalition then but if he is the one whose playing with figures,  Unless of course there was a formal (or as many suspect an informal) pact between the parties during the by-election?.

This was a by-election that under the circumstances that it was called the Lib-Dems should  have won easily. The fact that they did not do as disastrously as they did does not paste over the fact that this was a bad result.  It a bit like New Zealand beating Wales 20-9 and  Warren Gatland claiming  that as this was not the drubbing the sports pundits had predicted, this was a bad result for both coalition partners..

Next May, we will be seeing the only the Lib-Dems can win here leaflets and their Little Bar Graphs.  but  on current t evidence I suspect the electorate will take them with a pinch of salt.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Tories sacrifice in Oldham and Saddleworth

The Labour Party Has won the Oldham and Saddleworth  with a majority of 
Labour: 14,718 (42.1%) 
Lib Dems: 11,160 (31.9%)
Conservatives: 4,481 (12.8%)
UKIP: 2,029 (5.8%)
BNP: 1,560 (4.5%)
Green Party: 530 (1.5%)
Monster Raving Loony Party: 145 (0.4%)
English Democrats: 144 (0.4%)
Pirate Party: 96 (0.2%)
Bus Pass Elvis Party: 67 (0.1%)

The 2010 result was 
   Labour 14,186 31.9 −10.7
  Lib-Dem 14,083 31.6 −0.5
 Con 11,773 26.4 +8.7
 t BNP 2,546 5.7 +0.8
  UKIP 1,720 3.9 +1.8
 Christian 212 0.5 N/A

I'm looking forward to Peter Black and Subordinate Centre  commenting because I am certain they and every other  LibDem Bloggers will be trying to spin that they vote held up. But less be realistic this was a By-election that was called after the Labour candidate was accused of Dirty tricks  this should have been a walkover for them .

However much they will try and claim that they did better than expected and thier vote  held up it is already clear this was because of the collapse of the Conservative vote who lost nearly 7000 votes in an election where they were also close in 2010.

Obviously we do not know these votes went , but it has been claimed that the Conservatives fought a lackluster campaign in order to ensure the Lib-Dem vote didn't collapse for fear that a humiliated  this party and they would then  would turn on Nick Clegg and the whole idea of being in coalition.

It is highly probable that most of the lost Tory votes went to the Lib-Dems and that this helped the latter them from a even bigger embarrassment.

I am sure many will think that the Lib-Dems deserve their second place over their betrayal  when we consider their betrayal over tuition fees etc. But we must remember the reason why the By-election was called the individual Labour candidate Phil Woolas  has been punished in that he is no longer a MP but many more Labour members were involved in the disgraceful dirty tricks and they deserved to lose the seat.

However the voters of  Oldham and Saddleworth faced with the option of a Lib-Dem party that has betrayed it's principals for Ministerial cars did not think so. In Wales and Scotland they would have had a choice of Progressive parties in Plaid and the SNP they clearly did not feel they had the option here in another party.

What is clear is that the Lib-Dems in Oldham and Saddleworth were dependent on the Conservatives sacrificing themselves  but I doubt they will continue to do so in the long run, and when it comes to the crunch will hang them out to dry.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Secret Policeman (drops the) Ball.

 A few weeks ago, the day time  Television series Missing set in a busy, under-resourced missing persons unit  starring Pauline Quirke included ,a subplot involved a young female environmental activist reporting her lover going missing . It later transpired that he was a undercover Policeman who had began to feel guilty over his role and had asked to be reassigned.

In  remarkable coincidence in the last week we have had the collapse of a trial of green activists after undercover Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy/Stone indicated he would vouch for the defence. He has been working undercover with the group for seven years and had formed a relationship with a female member  despite being married in hid "Real Life".

I'm surprised someone at the BBC hasn't pointed out the similarities as it was they investigations who helped expose  the story .

But they and the rest of the Media seem to be very reluctant to ask how many other members of the police force are undercover at the time and to what extent these are acting as Agent Provocateurs.

For if a minor environmental action group has had a Policeman working undercover for seven years. What other groups have been infiltrated, and what is the criteria is being used t justify this ?  Are the Police making a political judgement?

In the late 1970 when I was active for Plaid Cymru in the Ponypridd Constituency there was concern raised by some members that a highly  prominent member was a spy for the security forces. Part of the reason for this was because he admitted to having some vague Military Intelligence background Nothing came of it but the person involved later moved to Mid-Wales where he changed his name (quite openly) to a more "Welsh" one.

It is highly probable that the fears where groundless, and in fact  the person involved was probably a major asset to Plaid in the Constituency during his time he was with us.

However, I suspect based on the Kennedy /Stone example  that many organisations have been infiltrated from time to time either by  the Police or Security forced, irrespective of whether they are law abiding or not., but in most cases this was s often more like MFI than MI5 and like the former after a lot of work setting up soon fall apart.

Baring in mind that Kennedy/Stone was known as Van Man,because he often provided the Transport for the activist. I would recommend that If you have a strong suspicion that someone in your group is infiltrator then I would use them in  such a manner and get Transport etc provided  by them (or rather the Tax payer) whilst ensuring they never reach an important role in the  day to day organisation

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Why do Labour still support First Past The Post?

I'm not by any means a supporter of the Alternative Vote agreeing with Nick Clegg in an earlier incantation that it was.."miserable little compromise I know I am not alone in believing that the Single Transferable Vote is the only true option and stillconsidering my opptions for the referendum .

However when faced with the option that Labour Uncut  give in support of the current system. I have began to waiver slightly. Because I would not like to vote "No" if this resulted in the assumption I was somehow in favour of First Past the Post.

Some one called Dan McCurry makes the ludicrous claim that the Two Party system is somehow more democratic. He attempts to base his argument on attacking the Liberal Democrats.

We’ve waited for generations for a chance to destroy the Liberal Democrats and get British politics back to its natural balance of a two party democracy. Finally, the Lib Dems have been exposed for the shallow bunch they are, and just at that moment when we can finally clean up, along comes this campaign, from within the party, seeking to bring about eternal coalition.
What the Labour opponents of Proportional Representation like McCury can't see is that the Two Party system excludes many who have Legitimate views. and of these it particularly excludes those who  see little difference in the Labour and Consevatives when it comes to policies which are often vilified by the Tabloid Press as do-gooders  and wishy-wash liberalism.(Though I'd rather be a do-gooder than a do- badder).

Under the last Labour government we saw the UK enter an illegal War which was largely supported by the main opposition party. It was left to the minor Parties to speak for those of us who opposed the War. The Liberal Democrats played some part in this and received some electoral advantage but were largely silent once the War started, It was the Nationalist Parties in the House of Commons who spoke for those who opposed Blair,s folly all the time.

If the two party system was existence then  opposition would have been even less.

If we were to revert to the Two Party system then we end up like the U.S.A. Where the the parties are often indistinguishable in most policies and were some Republicans are more Liberal and progressive than some Democrats.

It will also mean that the Parties will  sell them selves to money interest and we will see greater influence of Lobby Groups who would continue to  offer financial support to the both Parties in order that their Interest are promoted.

Look at the Labour Uncut Blog can any one really say this is an argument for Democracy?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Labour claims a Welsh Idenity (For now)

Pontypridd Labour MP Owen Smith has been posting on Left Foot Forward on  the forthcoming year in Wales electorally.

Since he is new MP  he doesn't completely carry the baggage of the failure of the past Labour in premoting the Welsh Idenity and values  he now claims for his Party in wales. but he surely   cannot expect to make such statements as.
Thirteen years after we first voted to create a National Assembly – years in which the relationship between Labour in Wales and London has significantly evolved, and in which the ambitions of a confident and distinctly Welsh Labour movement have forcefully (re)emerged – Labour is now clearly understood to be the natural home for supporters of a radical, progressive and Welsh agenda. 

When Welsh Labour cannot  produce a bilingual website and it is not separately registered with the Electoral Commission under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, nor is it part of a federal organisation (such as the relationship between the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats, for example). As such it does not have an office of Leader (Unlike I understand the situation in Scotland) .although Carwyn Jones is de facto leader because of his position in the Assembly. This is because of the existence of the Assembly and not because of Labour's constitution in Wales if it has one. I believe that they used to be registered as a "Welsh Labour Party" but ceased to do so, perhaps because their finances are to tied to Labour London HQ.

 But it does seem that in opposition Welsh Labour has discovered it's Welsh Identityn, as their counterparts in Scotland found theirs in the Thatcher era. Clearly Owen Smith thinks this will run well in Wales he writes

While Plaid voters, once sceptical that the Wales Labour party could stand up to the London leadership, are now increasingly comfortable with the strong Welsh flavour of our policies and of our politicians. For many ex-Plaid voters, especially in the south and south west, whose ambitions stop short of independence, Labour now appeals as the most effective and robust means of having a Welsh ‘writ’ run at home and Welsh lilt heard in Westminster.

He may well be right but I have not really seen much of a Welsh flavour in Labours policies recently Unless they really think simply not being a bunch of right-wing ideologues like the current Lib-Dem coalition is? This ideology they seem to have ignored under the leadership of Tony Blair : But if it is more than this I predict that any New Welsh Identity will fade after next May's assembly elections maybe to resurface time and time again to reassure us: But if I suspect many pf those Plaid Voters Own Smith mentions will still be sceptical that if Labour were ever to attempt  promote a  a true Welsh identity to then Ed Milliband and the rest of the British Labour leadership would silence them swiftly particularly  if this didn't go down well with the London Media and if he was to reach the position of Prime Minister then Welsh Labour will revert towards what it as always been.Just a name on a masthead.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Tory Lib-Dem merger on the cards?

In his latest Blog  René Kinsett makes a play for a merger between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories of course he switched parties and has stood for the Lib-Dems in the 2005 election and the Conservatives in the 2010 but whilst most would dismiss the idea of a merger, it is entirely possible that the two parties would enter into an electoral pact for the next election.

Senior Tory MP Mark Pritchard, secretary of the back-bench 1922 committee, suggested the "heart and soul of the Conservative Party" was under threat from ministers seeking a long-term settlement with the Lib Dems.
There may be indication in the Oldham and Saddleworth  by-election

The fact that the By-election was called after Labour's Phil Woolas was disqualified for producing dishonest election Literature would in theory have handed the Lib-Dems a virtual walkover. But since they have entered into coalition  with the Tories, they vote appears to be collapsing in the UK

The result in the 2010 election points to this being a three- way marginal

 Phil Woolas Labour          14,186 31.9 −10.7
 Elwyn Watkins Lib-Dem   14,083 31.6 −0.5
 Kashif Ali Con                  11,773 26.4 +8.7
 Alwyn Stott BNP              2,546 5.7 +0.8
 David Bentley UKIP         1,720 3.9 +1.8
 Gulzar Nazir Christian     212 0.5 N/A

And in theory the Tories under normal circumstances have had a good   chance as their Opinion Poll standing has not been so adversely affected. But  it seems Canmeron would not like to see his partners humiliated in failing to gain what as I have stated would be a walkover has ensured that the Conservatives are only fighting a "paper" campaign

The Truth of this may well only be found when the electoral expenses are published for  2010 those of the
Main Parties in Oldham and Saddlworth were.

Con 11773 Votes £15,904.41 Spent.
Lib 14083 Votes £36,246.62 Spent
Lab 14186 Votes £13,722.81 Spent.
You are allowed to spend much more in By-elections but if the Tories do match their rivals then our suspicions will be confirmed.

Of course at the moment there is no formal talk of a electoral pact but remember if the plan to reduce the number of MP's,and the creation of equal Constituencies of £80,000 then the political map will be redrawn and virtually every seat will be a new one which will make negotiations somewhat easier, except where a Conservative and Liberal Democrat seat are more or less combined. But in the next election most seats will be totally different and there will be less opposition from sitting MP's or parties that came second in 2010.

I have no doubt under these circumstance at leas tan informal arrangement will come about but whilst it will perhaps save the Likes of Nick Clegg it will mean the end of his party which will become nothing more than the "Liberal" wing of the Conservatives.