Could the Lib Dems win on AV and still walk away?

Second-guessing the political impact of an AV referendum has become popular sport after news of the 2011 vote leaked late last week. Broadly, the consensus has it that a successful "Yes" vote is the result more likely to keep the Lib-Dem/Tory coalition together beyond 5 May next year.

Neither outcome is risk-free for David Cameron, and a rump of Tory backbenchers (and some silent frontbenchers) will be disappointed should the British public back the Alternative Vote. But will they really be willing to put the coalition in jeopardy over it? Unlikely, on this issue alone.

But how about the Lib Dems choosing to walk away even if they win the day? That idea was floated this morning by Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail.

Oborne writes:

This major piece of constitutional reform having been achieved, it would give those Lib Dems whose hearts have never been in the coalition (such as Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell) a ready excuse to ditch David Cameron in the belief that, in a pact with Labour, they could win an election.

Surely, that's a scenario too far. Isn't it?

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Work with us: Wellcome Scholarship at the New Statesman

Be one of our 2016 science interns.

Britain needs more great science writers – particularly from backgrounds which have been traditionally under-represented in the media.

To address this, the New Statesman and Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Creative Access, have come together to offer annual placements to student or graduates from an ethnic minority background*.

The final 2016 placement will take place this Autumn/Winter (the exact date is flexible) and will last for four weeks.

Over the course of the placement, the successful applicants will:

  • Work alongside the New Statesman web and magazine team, learning about the editorial and production process, and how articles are conceived, written, edited and laid out;
  • Undertake a data-driven journalism research project on a scientific topic, which will be published on the New Statesman website
  • Visit Parliament and learn about how science-based legislation is developed and debated in the select committee system
  • Have an opportunity to interview a leading scientist or policy-maker
  • Write a regular bylined science blog on the New Statesman website
  • Receive regular feedback and editing from the editorial team
  • Meet journalists at other titles in the sector (previous Wellcome Scholars have met writers for the Atlantic, and presenters for the BBC)

Over the course of the placement, you will be paid London living wage.

To apply for the placement, follow the steps below and apply direct to the New Statesman. 

Please write an 800-word blogpost on a recent or upcoming scientific development which you feel has the potential to change lives significantly, explaining clearly and concisely what stage the research is at, and how it is likely to proceed. It should be written as if for the NS audience - interested, intelligent laypeople.

Please also write up to 200 words on why you are right for this placement and what you would hope to get out of it. You don't need to send a CV.

Please only use Word files, or paste your text into the body of an email. 

Send your application by email to Helen Lewis (Helen @ newstatesman co uk) with the subject line “Wellcome Scholarship 2016”. 

Applications close on 30 September 2016. Interviews will take place soon after.

This is a positive action scheme under the Race Relations Act.