Whilst Nick Clegg was flying about Westminster, looking for which political Party to draw blood from, he was photograph’d returning to Conservative camp with an A4 sheet of negotiation points. Notably absent was issues of social policies; instead it focused on electoral reform and political reorganization which, a cynic might say, were highfalutin compared to continuing the social policies of the Labour which, amongst others, had reduced the increasing rate of child poverty pre 1997.
One bone of contention was “Short Money“. I scratched my head at this, even after it was clarified as the informal name for Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties; pushed for by the-then Leader of the House of Commons, Edward Short in 1974, following a proposal by Harold Wilson during his Queen’s Speech of that year.
Thus, Opposition Parties, without access to civil servants and other machinery of Government, would receive a handicap payment to permit them to conduct research and other Parliamentary work.