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UK: politics as usual? « Previous | |Next »
April 30, 2010

The political situation or equation is this. Nick Clegg has broken through to demonstrate just how unrepresentative and damaging the current electoral system is in the UK. Is this election the game changer? The last election under the two party system, as The Guardian reckons?

How does Clegg and his Liberal Democratic party actually achieve ‘something different’ when that same system keeps the two major parties alternatively in power and robs his party of the seats in Parliament that are their due? .

BellUKelection.jpg Steve Bell

At this stage it is unlikely that the Liberal Democrats will break through and win enough seats so as to gain leverage for reform, and so their political momentum looks as if it will be extinguished by politics as usual.

It is economics that may transform the situation since the austerity measures and tax rises required to shore up the UK's finances will be harsh. Times are tough. The UK has a huge fiscal deficit, a bloated state and soaring public debt. Adjustments must be made to the tune of £37bn, and it will continue to decline as a "great " power.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:53 PM | | Comments (6)


something needs to change. In 2005, the Labour Party won 36.6 per cent of the vote and 356 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives won 32.9 per cent of the vote and 198 seats. The Liberal Democrats won 22.4 per cent of the vote and 62 seats. That is not democratic, especially when it is coupled to an unelected House of Lords

The Guardian's editorial makes the following comment about Cameron and the Conservatives:

Cameron offers a new and welcome Toryism, quite different from what Michael Howard offered five years ago. His difficulty is not that he is the "same old Tory". He isn't. The problem is that his revolution has not translated adequately into detailed policies, and remains highly contradictory. He embraces liberal Britain yet protests that Britain is broken because of liberal values. He is eloquent about the overmighty state but proposes to rip up the Human Rights Act which is the surest weapon against it. He talks about a Britain that will play a constructive role in Europe while aligning the Tories in the European parliament with some of the continent's wackier xenophobes. Behind the party leader's own engagement with green issues there stands a significant section of his party that still regards global warming as a liberal conspiracy.

The editorial of the Anglo-centric Guardian goes on to add that the:
Tories have zigzagged through the financial crisis to an alarming degree, austerity here, spending pledges there. At times they have argued, against all reason, that Britain's economic malaise is down to overblown government, as opposed to the ravages of the market.

Consequently, the Cameronisation of the Conservative party sometimes seems more palace coup than cultural revolution. The Thatcherites still call the shots.

Jonathan Freedland in Cameron may be a good campaigner. But he has not had a good campaign highlights that the Conservative's campaign:

has been a jerky, messy scramble across ever-shifting terrain, the Tories caught in a dogfight with the Liberal Democrats over the mantle of change....He has seen his poll numbers slump from the mid-40s to the low-30s. And somehow he managed to lose the status of change agent – which he had four and a half years to make his own – to Nick Clegg in a single night.

Cameron is going to have to fight for every seat.

Labour could well end up in third place. It is exhausted and has run out of ideas. All it can offer is fear of the other side (Conservatives) winning. It looks a corpse.

The Conservatives still hold to business as usual in politics. They had their turn, then it was Labour's, now it's theirs again. It's fit, it's right, and it's how we do things here. They are entitled to tinker with the system to bolster their own party advantage.

If Cameron's Conservatives do obtain the 326 seats needed in the House of Commons to govern in their own right theirs will be a deeply unpopular government. The cuts will be deep--cut public services, cut taxes, cut benefits, cut borrowing faster, let unemployment rip. It is a return to Thatcher's roots says Labour.

Any party that wins will need to reduce spending from current levels by around 12%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Britain has been hit hard by the crisis in capitalism and it faces the prospect of solving the deficit/smaller state problem without stronger economic growth. Austerity is the new order of the day--tax rises and spending cuts.

The chances of any party remaining popular whilst attempt the shift to austerity is small. They will be on the nose.

None of the political parties has even begun to level with the Briitish public about the scale of the public spending cuts that await us. What they have so far identified is less than a third of what will be needed to reduce the structural deficit.

Will the cracks appear in the spinmeister-style of politics?