Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

The Clegg Conundrum.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 29, 2010 in British Politics

cameron-cleggThe recent slump in the Lib Dems’s poll ratings indicates a situation that is typical in many a coalition situation. Those who support the coalition naturally gravitate towards the larger partner, and those against vote for the opposition, thus leaving the relatively nuanced junior coalition party squeezed, despite its achievements at modeating the behaviour of the main party. What is even more worrying for the Lib Dems is the fact that in most coalition systems PR exists, allowing those parties to at least deliver for their key constituencies, thus shoring up their base vote. Unfortunately, this is hard to do under first past the post, and possibly even more difficult under the alternative vote.

Yet, the Lib Dems still have options. In both Ireland and Germany, small liberal parties managed to counter the challenge of “coalition suffocation” by appealing directly to the moderate voters of the main party, asking them to lend them their votes to ensure that the coalition remains moderate. It’s a tricky manouvere to pull off, especially as it means the Lib Dems effectively identifying their coalition choice before an election, but it can work. Ironically, a bust up, with defections to Labour, may actually help the Lib Dems convince moderate Tory voters to help keep the coalition in by voting Lib Dem 1, Tory 2 under an AV system. Stranger things have happened.   



Posted by Jason O on Jun 29, 2010 in Just stuff, Latest News

pragueJust back from Prague, where I spent a gorgeous weekend with the love-of-my-life. I won’t give a travelogue, as there are those capable of being far more comprehensive than me, but a few observations.

Stayed in the Park Inn (www.prague.parkinn.cz) which, although a little further out of the city centre than you’d like, is well served by a tram that can get you in, in less than 10 minutes. They do a nice breakfast (I always judge a place by its scrambled eggs, and they passed with flying colours) and it is worth getting a “business-friendly” room for it’s airiness.

Took an evening dinner cruise, which was slightly naff, but the food was good and sitting on a open deck on a warm summer evening going through Prague is really very pleasant, and a good way of getting your bearings.

Had a meal in Dynamo (www.dynamorestaurace.cz/), where the service was a little slow, but the modern European food was excellent, and reasonably priced, and the murderous decor has to be seen to be believed.

Prague is a great city to stroll about on a warm summer evening, absolutely jammers with small pubs and restuarants full of character. One tip: The tram system is very handy, but plan when you want to get it, as tram ticket machines aren’t that plentiful (mostly in metro stations) and keep your coins, as the machines don’t accomodate note laden tourists. 

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