It’s been yet another day of potential coalition deal and red line statements, which is a refereshing change from the restating of the same policies in several different ways. Now we just get the same information about coalition deals being expressed in many different ways, of which the most pertinent information is that Ed Miliband doesn’t want to work with the SNP, David Cameron still won’t rule out any deal with UKIP and Nick Clegg will be happy to work with either of them, but he’d prefer an exclusive relationship. All of this does make me wonder if there’s a huge tempting of fate going on, and what we’re going to get is the polling situation unravelling over the next week so someone gets the barest of majorities. At that point, we all get to spend a few years discovering just how much any large political party is a coalition. Just imagine the fun of watching David Cameron held to ransom by the Better Off Out wing, or any attempt at radicalism from Miliband being stymied by the Blairite rump.

Anyway, Alex Harrowell has a good post on why the number of undecided voters polling is finding in Scotland explains Miliband’s current antipathy to the SNP.

We’re seeing more and more newspaper and other endorsements as polling day gets closer, but I think we’re going to look in vain for anyone endorsing the Liberal Democrats. That hasn’t spotted some people squinting and claiming that a ‘if our preferred party can’t win, maybe consider backing them’ is a proper endorsement because slim pickings are better than nothing, right? Jennie Rigg explains here why those sort of endorsements really aren’t good news, and at the time of writing still hasn’t had one of the pod person disciples of bland centrism come along to tell her how wonderful life is in the middle.

Away from the middle, let’s go to the North East instead for today’s minor party looking to make a breakthrough, and it’s another one of England’s regional parties, the aptly named North East Party. They’re standing four candidates (all in the North East, obviously) on a programme of bringing in a proper North East Government on a par with the other devolved governments of the UK. They do appear to have a positive manifesto – talking up what they want for their own region, instead of complaining about what others have – and also proposing to fund the regeneration of the North East through introducing a land value tax, which automatically pricks up my old Liberal ears.

Parties like the North East Party and Yorkshire First (who I looked at a couple of weeks ago) are an interesting development in the development of English politics after the Scottish referendum, and indicate the problems that could come in trying to find a one size fits all devolutionsolution that covers all of England without any regionalism. Of course, this could all falter at the ballot box, but their candidates are mostly in seats where people can cast a vote for them without too much worry as the results a foregone conclusion.

Finally, here’s a little bit of oddness found on Election Leaflets: a leaflet clearly targeted at Labour voters in Wallasey (Angela Eagle’s constituency) and seeming to encourage them to vote for UKIP, but actually from the Conservatives. It’s a deeply weird leaflet, criticising Labour from the traditional left – Danczuk’s ‘metropolitan elite’ claims and Ed Miliband is pro-auterity, for instance – and an odd comparison of the parties at the end of it. Apart from the imprint and a small ‘Conservatives’ on the front, you’d have no idea who it came from with the aim seeming to be pure negative campaign, suppressing the Labour vote in an effort to benefit from the wrecking tactic. It’s the sort of thing that would previously have been a local curio, but now we all get to see it – and point Tories to it when they complain about other people being negative.

145 hours and thirty minutes till the polls close and the real fun begins…

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Worth Reading 164: No Scrabble bonus

Who wants to be a millionaire? Peter Oborne on Tony Blair – “Something has gone wrong with our national life and the sad story of Tony Blair helps to illustrate the scale of the problem.”
Controlling the past – The British and Greek economies were not in the same position in 2010, and the lack of challenge to this claim has let George Osborne get away with far too much, according to Simon Wren-Lewis.
Labour’s new identity policy – Alan Finlayson for Renewal on the lack of any real theory behind the bluster of Labour policy proposals.
Ours to Master – Automation is both an instrument of employer control and a necessary precondition for a post-scarcity (and possibly post-work) society.
Ramshackle coalition of interests: Black Country edition – Alex Harrowell does some digging around the Afzal Amin affair and discovers some very interesting connections behind the scenes.

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Worth Reading 163: Impossible darts

The Ulster Question – A good summary of the situation in the Northern Irish seats at the start of the General Election campaign.
Why there won’t be a Labour-SNP coalition – Interesting analysis from Alex Harrowell about the difference between establishment In parties and challenging Out parties.
A shortage of optimism – Lewis Baston on the electoral and policy problems that haunt both major parties.
Grant Shapps is a lying liar who tells lies – Just in case you had any doubts, Tim Ireland exposes the full details of Shapps’ mendacity.
A troubling attitude to statistics – Jonathan Portes of the NIESR explains how the Government’s claims of £1.2bn in savings from the Troubled Families Programme are based more on wishful thinking than any sound methods.

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Worth reading 155: If you start with a free ball

You Thought London Mayoral Candidates Couldn’t Get Worse – Alex Harrowell on how mayoral systems promote celebrity politics over policies, with the inevitable results.
The Share-the-Scraps economy – Is the ‘share economy’ merely a euphemism to hide the monetization of every part of our lives?
IEA Exhumes Flat Earth Idea – Zelo Street points out several (though by no means all) of the IEA’s ‘let’s pave over the railways’ proposal.
Two spells that need to be broken – Very interesting piece by John Pugh MP for the Social Liberal Forum on the mistakes the party made in becoming part of the establishment.
No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer – Cory Doctorow on how the Snoopers’ Charter and other mass surveillance schemes keep getting proposed because there’s a lot of money in them for some people.

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Worth Reading 147: Inevitable snooker analogies

Here’s why it matters where we draw city limits – A quick lesson in house building and spatial planning incentives from Jonn Elledge.
Dear members who read Liberal Democrat Voice, it seems that we aren’t as representative as you thought… – Interesting thoughts on the recent Lib Dem presidential election from Mark Valladares.
Shimer College: the worst school in America? – It’s not, according to Jon Ronson, but it’s an interesting look at a different way of doing higher education.
Convincing versus mobilising – Alex Harrowell with a more in-depth and interesting way of looking at political opinion poll reports.
Democracy at a TTIP’ing point – Professor Colin Crouch argues that the TTIP agreement between the US and the EU is an example of post-democracy in action, but reaction to it could provide an opportunity to reassert democracy.

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Worth Reading 139: Hadrian’s tomb

Russell Brand and our political culture – Chris Dillow argues that Brand gets publicity because our political culture as a whole is anti-intellectual.
Stuffing envelopes and getting stuffed – An alternative take on Liberal Democrat campaigning by Alex Harrowell.
The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed – the realities of social media content monitoring.
The world will change around 2020 – According to David Boyle, that’s what the trends are pointing to.
Profs Bumble Into Big Legal Trouble After Election Experiment Goes Way Wrong – This is why conducting political science research is hard. However, I do hope the researchers involved are adding up all the news stories about them as ‘instances of our research methodology being cited in public discussion’.

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Worth Reading 132: The end of Tiberius Gracchus

Human Rights, Devolution, And The Constrained Authority Of The Westminster Parliament – Because the Human Rights Act is ingrained into the UK’s devolution settlement, Westminster can’t just simply dispose of it. It’s almost like David Cameron is making promises he knows he can’t keep.
How IDS’ plan will starve and stigmatise people on benefits – Always remember that what they’re willing to do to the lowest in society, they’d do to everyone else if they could get away with it.
The Only Political Speech You’ll Ever Need To Read – “You know, the dingle dangle scarecrow didn’t want much. Just to shake his hands like this. And shake his feet like that. But who will speak for him? Not our opponents, I’m afraid. They’ve shown this week that they’re far more interested in standing up for the big Wicker Men than they are for the humble dingle dangle scarecrow.”
A quick post on human rights – Alex Marsh rounds up much of the commentary on the Tory proposals.
The budget and the bogus hairdressers – The Yorkshire Ranter looks at the link between unemployment and budget deficits.

And today’s bonus: this map of every rail route there’s been in the UK is fascinating.

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