I was on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programme at lunchtime discussing the merits of a hung parliament and coalition government with Tory Nick Wood.
Putting aside the specific economic and political arguments for and against, the following points struck me about the Tory assault on the idea of a hung parliament today. They are sending out hugely mixed signals, and also displaying double standards:
1. The Conservatives claimed last week that ‘fear has no place in an election campaign’. They are now using fear as the basis for their case against a hung parliament.
2. Is it entirely arrogant for any political party to turn around to a country and say “you have to vote for just one party overwhelmingly, because even if you want us to work together, we aren’t going to”? How can that be squared with the idea that the electorate is the boss?
3. By arguing that a hung parliament would result in 'paralysis' with no cooperation between political parties, the Tories are actually condemning themselves. They too could be part of a hung parliament scenario. But they now appear to be saying they would refuse to make efforts to co-operate or find ways of working together. They even appear to be saying that if David Cameron entered a coalition he himself would be involved in dirty and seedy deals that would harm the country.
4. The Tories are calling on the Lib Dems to say who they would work with in a hung parliament, whilst at the same time refusing to answer the same question themselves.
5. The Conservatives say they believe "we are all in this together?" Their manifesto is entitled: “An invitation to join the government of Britain.” This all rings rather hollow now.
The Tory scaremongering over a hung parliament reminds me alot of their wild claims that a minimum wage would "cost the UK a million jobs". Anyway, have a look and make your own mind up...