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Indecision day UK style
May 11, 2010 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Following days of uncertainty not witnessed since 1974, David Cameron makes a hasty entrance to 10 Downing Street, an hour or so after Gordon Brown made a surprisingly hasty exit.

We began today with the unlikely, but possible prospect of seeing a Liberal Democrat/Labour "progressive coalition" government following last week's UK general election ending up as a hung parliament.

But talks between Labour and the Lib Dems did not meet with success, and so earlier this evening, Gordon Brown went to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to the Queen, forcing the hand somewhat of the Tories and the Lib Dems, who have not finished their coalition negotiations at the time of writing.

The upshot is that David Cameron, as leader of the biggest Party post-election, went to see the Queen shortly after Brown left her, asking permission to try and form a government.

With permission granted, he is now in No. 10 Downing Street. We know there is to be a full coalition government for a fixed term (unheard of in UK politics), with some cabinet seats going to the Liberal Democrats, but we as yet do not know the details - and crucially for Liberal Democrats, whether we are to have any possibility of proportional representation the next time we go to the polls.

I bet someone else has posted something in the time it has taken me to write this
posted by idiomatika (207 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 


Madness.
posted by jquinby at 2:04 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wrote some erotic fiction about this yesterday.
posted by dng at 2:07 PM on May 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


From the Guardian live blog:
The Lib Dems will be given up to five cabinet posts by David Cameron as he delivers on his pledge last night to have a full and proper coalition government with the Lib Dems. In an echo of the German grand coalition, Nick Clegg is expected to be appointed deputy prime minister. Vince Cable, the party's deputy leader, is being lined up to serve as George Osborne's deputy as chief secretary to the Treasury.

It is understood that the Lib Dems, who have 11 MPs in Scotland, will be given the Scottish secretary portfolio. The other Lib Dems in line for Cabinet posts are: Chris Huhne, who ran Nick Clegg a close second in the leadership contest, David Laws, the education spokesman, and Danny Alexander, Clegg's chief of staff. It is also understood that the Lib Dems have been given an undertaking that they will have 'sleepers' at middle and junior ministerial rank in most other departments. Members of the Lib Dem frontbench being lined up for these jobs include Ed Davey, the foreign affairs spokesman, and Norman Lamb, the health spokesman.

Here's hoping they keep a close eye on things.
posted by Acey at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2010


I wrote some erotic fiction about this yesterday.

Parliamentary Fan Fiction! Who says there's nothing new under the sun?
posted by Danf at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2010


Ladies: I am hung like the British Parliament.
posted by GuyZero at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Ladies: I am hung like the British Parliament.

Brown in opposition? Ewww.
posted by Rumple at 2:13 PM on May 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Roundabound.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:13 PM on May 11, 2010


Vince Cable as deputy to George Osborne?

I think I need to go and have a lie down.
posted by idiomatika at 2:14 PM on May 11, 2010


Strictly speaking, for those following along with the niceties of the British constitution, it is the Queen who invited David Cameron (as Leader of the Opposition) to form a Government, following Gordon Brown's resignation, rather than him asking the Queen for permission.

Also, the idea of a Lib/Lab coalition was always pretty far-fetched given the parliamentary arithmetic. Even together the two parties did not have enough votes for a majority in Parliament so would have had to rely on Scottish and Welsh nationalists (and possibly the new Green MP). This would have caused a certain amount of constitutional problems because of the West Lothian question.
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:14 PM on May 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wrote some erotic fiction about this yesterday.

Oh, you shouldn't have.

No, really. You shouldn't.

(okay yes you should)

On-topic: A-ggyyurruhughrughrgllrghnhghrgnlrhnrghrygnhgl(etc)

Oh, well, christ. I guess... at least he might... soak up the brunt of the public's bile regarding the concessions we're going to have to OH GOD I CAN'T DO IT
posted by Drexen at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2010


BBC: "Mr Brown said it had been "a privilege to serve" adding: "I loved the job not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony - which I do not love at all. No, I loved the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer..."

so that would be scotland.

finally the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-raising, unelected scotsman is gone. if only we had better voting options. still, it won't matter, the rich will get richer and us poor english will pay more and more tax to fund this, becomming increasingly poorer.

wait, whats that you say? Greek Bailout? £13 billion for UK to pay? why thank you gordon.

(FINALLY IN THE RIGHT FUCKING THREAD!!!!eleventy!!)
posted by marienbad at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I posted something very pithy and smart in the other UK election thread that got zapped - drawing comparisons to Canada's minority governments, having a separtist party as the Loyal Oppposition, blah blah... As with real life though, I seemed to have voted for the losing candidate. Again.
posted by helmutdog at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


'Fully functional'.
posted by mazola at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2010


Also: A Note To The US Of A: A one-month election cycle is all that is necessary. You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election.

That is all.

Also, pre my comment in the now-deleted thread: One again, Canada sets the trends in Parlimentary governments. Prepare for a lot of standoffs over non-confidence votes Britain. It'll be exciting.
posted by GuyZero at 2:20 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


idiomatika: "Forgot an important link:

The current voting system and how it could change depending on what has been agreed (or not) with the Tories.
"

They screwed up a bit: in the alternative vote explanation, the 50% line is way too low, which makes it seem like redistributing Candidate C's votes could affect the outcome. In reality, once the leader is over 50%, it can't.
posted by alexei at 2:25 PM on May 11, 2010


finally the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-raising, unelected scotsman is gone

Replaced by the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-cutting, barely elected Etonian.
posted by blucevalo at 2:26 PM on May 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


Can't be too upset about a Tory / Liberal coalition. That's what the Labour party has been for over a decade.
posted by motty at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2010 [25 favorites]


marienbad First of all, those 13b € are merely a guarantee, not a cash bail-out. The possibility they'll never have to be disburse is about 99%. Secondly, it's a bit reckless to dismiss the scheme from a British point of view, considering that the UK's debt/GDP ratio is well above those or Spain or Ireland, something which the "wolf pack" may start noticing one of these days, in particular if you are saddled with a fractious, unstable and ineffectual government. Which, you know, looking at how the Tory right-wing is reacting to the prospect of a coalition with the LibDems isn't altogether unlikely. I'd therefore advice against scoffing about sovereign debt bailouts, because you may find yourselves at the receiving end sooner rather than later (somewhat which the French, with oh-so-Gallic modesty, have been quick to point out).
posted by Skeptic at 2:30 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oy marienbad, I hardly think "Scotsman" warrants inclusion in a list like that. He's still British, just like every Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish citizen of the United Kingdom. They get to be Prime Minister too, you know.

Also, we don't elect Prime Ministers in the UK - we vote in parties, who elect their own leaders.
posted by ukdanae at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


I know I shouldn't really be commenting in my own thread, but I'd just like to point out to one or two of the above commenters (and, infuriatingly, several respected TV political pundits and politicians), that the PM is not directly elected in a parliamentary democracy, so although it is true that Gordon Brown was unelected, the same is true of every PM we've ever had.
posted by idiomatika at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


marienbad, I pity you.

As a British citizen (though not culturally of any of the constituent nations), who lives, works and pays taxes in England, I would find statements like:

"us poor english will pay more and more tax to fund this, becomming increasingly poorer"

giggleworthy for their patent stupidity if they weren't so filled with the weird internal xenophobia that the Scots and the English uniquely manage.

It's kind of weird to watch at close quarters, like two fraternal twins who've lived together for 80 years and can't stand the sight of one another.
posted by psolo at 2:33 PM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Our trust in our political system is apparently going to be rebuilt by a prime minister and coalition party sidekick who are entirely creatures of the existing establishment, both having set out from privilege to sail through a series of non-jobs in various arms and spin-offs of the political machine (I include Cameron's stint as a lobbyist and so it seems does he).
posted by Abiezer at 2:34 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Note To The US Of A: A one-month election cycle is all that is necessary. You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election.

We have this pesky little thing called the "First Amendment" here in the US of A, which such a prohibition would likely conflict with.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:35 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ahem, speaking as a Canadian, what is meant by an "unelected" PM is one who has assumed the position without first having fought a general election as party leader.
posted by No Robots at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every one of the Lib Dem negotiators gave an individual report back of their meeting with Harriet Harman, Lord Mandelson, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Lord Adonis, and they each reached the same conclusion: that the Labour team were uninterested, with no movement on ID cards, the third runway at Heathrow, or increasing the proportion of renewable energy from 15% to 40%.

It really is a shitty bunch if crap the Labour party has hung it's hat on these days.
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on May 11, 2010


A Note To The US Of A: A one-month election cycle is all that is necessary. You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election.

posted by GuyZero at 6:20 AM on May 12 [1 favorite +] [!]

Frankly, I'd welcome it entirely.
posted by gc at 2:44 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


A Note To The US Of A: A one-month election cycle is all that is necessary. You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election.

That would mess with the money: see this Frank Rich piece which leads to the circle: Guiliani advertises in Murdoch outlets; Murdoch news covers Guiliani; donations to Guiliani increase, which leads to more advertising...
posted by dragonsi55 at 2:45 PM on May 11, 2010


so although it is true that Gordon Brown was unelected, the same is true of every PM we've ever had.

Funny then that most of the Tories' talking points these past 72 hours have been devoted to the apparent fiction that any PM other than Cameron would have been a "second unelected PM in a row," a travesty which would have caused the ruin of the UK as the world knows it.
posted by blucevalo at 2:50 PM on May 11, 2010


filled with the weird internal xenophobia that the Scots and the English uniquely manage

Forgive me, but that remark betrays ignorance of the history that gives rise to what you dismiss as "weird internal xenophobia". The fact that you are apparently not "culturally of any of the constituent nations" probably explains why you perceive things that way. Read up a little on UK history, talk to people from the different UK nations - then form a view. You'll maybe then feel just a little foolish about saying that.....
posted by MajorDundee at 2:51 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


finally the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-raising, unelected scotsman is gone.

Drop "Scotsman" from this and you've got Churchill.
posted by bonaldi at 2:52 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your favorite system of government sucks.
posted by JeffK at 2:52 PM on May 11, 2010


I wish you Brits all the best with this blessing called a coalition government.
posted by ouke at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2010


Drop "Scotsman" from this and you've got Churchill.

Fucking Yanks.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on May 11, 2010


I'm just going to come out and play dumb American here rather than stay later at work than I intended and do too much Google searching and confusing myself further (and hope that the answer is posted when I get home); when the original post says this (or ask an AskMe question and draw even more attention to my ignorance):

"full coalition government for a fixed term (unheard of in UK politics)"

What exactly does this mean? It's my understanding that in instances in the past when no party got the number of seats needed, there were still governments formed where the party with most votes (but still not enough) worked with other minority parties to form a coalition. But if this is as unique as the OP says, what am I not getting that makes this special?

Is it the 'full' part? In the past, do the minority parties (like Lib Dem in this case - I'm sorry if I'm getting my terminology wrong) not get actual cabinet seats and its been a 'coalition' but not really but maybe you do some things for me that I like. (Like when we have an odd Senator who still caucuses with the Democratic or Republican caucus)

Or is the 'fixed term' part?

Thanks in advance. I feel like the info I'm getting on this myself is giving me just enough knowledge to be dangerously stupid.

(And I'm more than willing to explain the electoral college or the Iowa Caucus to anyone who cares when 2011-12 rolls around.)

On preview: yay for ugly political discussions that aren't American. Viva la metailter internationale!

posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found Brown's resignation speech to be pretty moving - he seemed pretty chipper, and, dare I say, charismatic. On the other hand, Sarah Brown looked pretty uncomfortable.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2010


Artw: Where's that quote from?
posted by bonaldi at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2010


This would have caused a certain amount of constitutional problems because of the West Lothian question.

Explain to us please how the "West Lothian Question" doesn't have to be answered when Scotland gets a Tory government after voting in precisely one Tory MP. Why is it such a big deal that a Scottish MP gets to vote on issues affecting England and Wales, but not a big deal that Scotland and Wales get stuck with a Government and Executive that they didn't elect? Why is it not a big deal that English MPs representing SE constituencies get to vote on things like closing down the mining industry? Tam Dalziel was a great bloke in many ways but the "West Lothian Question" is so constitutionally naive that it most often provides nothing other than a front for the kind of anti-Scottish bigotry that we've all just had a glimpse of (though not, I stress, from Electric Dragon).
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: It's both the fixed term and the full coalition -- coalitions always implode here, and have rarely been formal arrangements (often confidence+supply only).

I'm not sure how fixing the term solves this, either: you can't have a parliamentary govt after the majority has gone.
posted by bonaldi at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2010


Artw: Where's that quote from?

Here
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2010


Or is the 'fixed term' part?

Yup. British parliaments are for a maximum of 5 years, but the prime minister can effectively call a snap election at any point; usually picked to maximise the timing benefit to the sitting government.

The plan is to remove that, and have a fixed term 4 or 5 year parliament that will end on a fixed date, barring a vote of no confidence etc.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:03 PM on May 11, 2010


So is this the first time a PM has headed into Downing street thronged by crowds wishing to kneecap him (but settling for merely booing and giving the thumbs down), or did Thatcher get this treatment too?
posted by saturnine at 3:03 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


GeckoDundee: you could say that about any constituency that elected an MP of different party to the Government (for instance the inner cities of Manchester or Liverpool under the Tories, or the Home Counties under Labour). The difference in the West Lothian Q is that due to devolution Scottish MPs can vote on matters affecting England (like Education) when they cannot vote on them for Scotland due to it being devolved.

It just grates against my sense of symmetry. Maybe we should have a fully federal UK, or maybe the different nations should be independent.
posted by Electric Dragon at 3:07 PM on May 11, 2010


ArkhanJG: "The plan is to remove that, and have a fixed term 4 or 5 year parliament that will end on a fixed date, barring a vote of no confidence etc."

I love that you can change rules like that on the fly. It's sort of improvisational government.
posted by octothorpe at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think they've changed anything, they've just set a time limit on the length of time they'll agree to be friends.
posted by dng at 3:13 PM on May 11, 2010


It just grates against my sense of symmetry. Maybe we should have a fully federal UK, or maybe the different nations should be independent.
I can't see any reason there shouldn't be an English parliament to decide these matters for England (and devolve the powers the Welsh assembly doesn't have to it), with Westminster remaining the UK body.

sticking point seems to be that English political establishment wants Westminster to remain that parliament as well with English MPs sitting in it, which there will be huge pushback against.
posted by bonaldi at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


They've just confirmed Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister. This will certainly be interesting.

It also looks like they're keeping Trident but are "closely scrutinising" the spending (gee, wow), they're "phasing in" the Lib Dems £10k tax threshold and using capital gains tax to pay for it, and the Tories are dropping their planned changes to inheritance tax. As for the EU, Any further transfers of power from the UK will be brought to a referendum.
posted by ukdanae at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2010


Skeptic: "...it's a bit reckless to dismiss the scheme from a British point of view, considering that the UK's debt/GDP ratio is well above those or Spain or Ireland, something which the "wolf pack" may start noticing one of these days..."

Why would the Eurozone countries care? My understanding is that they're only interested in bailing Greece out because Greece is on the Euro.

But if it were the UK in crisis, then there wouldn't really be a true default risk -- the UK, having its own currency, could simply do what the US is doing and monetize its own debt. You get some inflation and everyone holding that currency gets a bit poorer, but no actual default on any obligations. France and Germany's leverage over Greece is due to Greece being on the Euro, which to the Greeks might as well be the gold standard -- they don't have the option of inflating away their debt, they either go groveling for handouts or default.

The Europeans' hold on the UK would seem to be like the China's on the US; they could threaten to stop buying UKP-denominated bonds, or maybe dump the bonds they do hold at a loss, but that's about their only source of leverage. Seems like a different scenario than Greece.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:19 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Canada sets the trends in Parlimentary governments.

But to my knowledge, so far the Canadian trend of shouting "I didn't vote for no coalition" among Conservative supporters has not. I am green with envy.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:19 PM on May 11, 2010


Now that the deckchairs have finally been rearranged though, I'm sure our onward voyage on the unsinkable RMS Britanic will be smooth and uneventful. (Though while we are sailing into iceberg-infested waters, I understood our debt was rated as more sustainable that that of Spain, Ireland and indeed the US whatever the headline figures of ratios etc. say. See you all in Davy Jones' Locker).
posted by Abiezer at 3:25 PM on May 11, 2010


I love that you can change rules like that on the fly. It's sort of improvisational government.

Well, they'll have to pass a law first. But they can do that. Cos they're in charge now. *Sobs*
posted by penguin pie at 3:27 PM on May 11, 2010


This will not end well for the Lib Dems or probably the UK.

Tory government should push the north of Ireland a little bit further towards secession though, and probably Scotland too. Sorry England, you might end up being abandoned to the Tory dream the majority of you vote for.
posted by knapah at 3:27 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Strike secession for Northern Ireland, more like reunification.
posted by knapah at 3:28 PM on May 11, 2010


Maybe now the tories in charge again Iain Banks can go back to writing books which aren't shit.
posted by dng at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election.

You guys are proud when you save a buck. We're proud when we spend one.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forgive me, but that remark betrays ignorance of the history that gives rise to what you dismiss as "weird internal xenophobia". The fact that you are apparently not "culturally of any of the constituent nations" probably explains why you perceive things that way.

As an Englishman, married to a specialist English historian, but nonetheless widely travelled and connected in the world outside the UK, yes, it's weird internal xenophobia. As is the implication that somebody not English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh, but still British, can't understand our shared nation.

I once heard a commentator, on Radio 4 of all places, wonder whether a Scotsman could be a British prime minister. [leave aside the fact that we've had a Scottish family on the throne since 1603] I was tempted to throw my radio out the window. But, of course, I'm British, so I merely harrumphed and considered sending a sharply worded note to Point of View.
posted by Dreadnought at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


Tory rule does seem to inspire great literature. The Line of Beauty is a magnificent portrait/parody of the Thatcher years.
posted by No Robots at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2010


It felt weird agreeing with Alastair Campbell. I saw him on Newsnight earlier and had to agree that it was a huge mistake for Nick Clegg to fall for the deputy Prime-Minister gig rather than one of the offices of state. Out-manoeuvred.

Marienbad- surely your well-informed elequence would go down better over at the Daily Mail site?
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:34 PM on May 11, 2010


Tory government should push the north of Ireland a little bit further towards secession though, and probably Scotland too.

Good point regarding Scotland (NI seems to elect only its own parties, so I'm not sure it's so relevant to them) - I'd bet there'll be a lot of Lib Dem voters north of the border who are going to swing to the SNP or Labour, which might be enough to give the SNP a majority in the next Scottish elections and bring on an independence referendum. If that then passes, it would put the Government into a really tricky situation - the Tories are utterly opposed to independence, but what can they say to as obvious a will-of-the-people situation as that?
posted by ZsigE at 3:43 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Michael Gove's face.

What is happening there?
posted by doobiedoo at 3:47 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


'd bet there'll be a lot of Lib Dem voters north of the border who are going to swing to the SNP or Labour, which might be enough to give the SNP a majority in the next Scottish elections and bring on an independence referendum.

If there's a Tory government in full swing in London I'll be amazed if Holyrood doesn't go as red as hell. There was a huge swing back to Labour across Scotland last week, and that was only on the possibility of a Tory win
posted by bonaldi at 3:49 PM on May 11, 2010


My night was made when I saw Adam "Neck" Boulton say on Sky News: "The finger was pointed at Ed Balls." I want that man to be prime minister so bad. I would never stop laughing.

PRIME MINISTER BALLS!
posted by Kattullus at 3:49 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


[leave aside the fact that we've had a Scottish family on the throne since 1603]

Really? I thought they were German.
posted by briank at 3:52 PM on May 11, 2010


>PRIME MINISTER BALLS!

That's after CHANCELLOR DARLING in the current er, previous government.

Cheer up Britain, think how great the music was under Thatcher and how shite under Blair.
posted by girlgenius at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2010


PRIME MINISTER BALLS

I'm a grown man. I'm 29 years old. And all I can think about during this hour of high historic drama, is how funny I find the name Ed Balls. 29 years old.

PRIME MINISTER BALLS!!!

posted by Kattullus at 4:02 PM on May 11, 2010


Really?
Sort-of. English line ended with Elizabeth I; King James VI of Scotland then became King James I of England and it went on from there with the house of Stuart holding the throne until Anne, when it passed to her German-born cousin George I.
posted by bonaldi at 4:02 PM on May 11, 2010


girlgenius - As a friend of mine said, at least the combination of a Tory government AND a recession should cure people of thinking the 80s were cool.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


girlgenius: Cheer up Britain, think how great the music was under Thatcher and how shite under Blair.

Wonderwall was released while Major was Prime Minister. Incidentally, for a great book about pop music and politics, I highly recommend John Harris' The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock, which was published in the US as Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. It's about Britpop, obviously, and New Labour and how it all intersected and how both were born out of the Margaret Thatcher and John Major years.
posted by Kattullus at 4:08 PM on May 11, 2010


I guess I should get in a last FUCK YOU TONY BLAIR, as New Labour fades into the sunset and we get a new bunch of assholes to fuck shit up. Hey, at least with the Tories we outright know they are assholes out to fuck shit up for everybody.
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ack... full coalition between the Lib Dems and Tories. I was hoping for case-by-case support at most.

An interesting point on the Guardian live blog (above link) is that the tie-up with the Lib Dems (and the resulting necessary moderation of certain Tory proposals) effectively hands victory to the modernisers within the Conservative party, who otherwise - given Cameron's lacklustre performance and the continung doubts over whether the party (as opposed to the leadership) has actually mellowed - would have been in a rather difficult position. It'll be interesting to see whether Cameron manages to maintain the support of the right-wing press now that he's dependent on Lib Dem votes to govern.

On a lighter note, at least one media personality is already accelerating away from impartiality...
posted by inire at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2010


Lib Dems just approved the deal. Full coalition government ahoyhoy, Nick Clegg deputy PM, Vince Cable gets a cabinet post (possibly business sec), Chris Grayling gets the boot for a Lib Dem at home secretary, mansion tax sacrificed, inheritance tax threshold sacrificed, married couples allowance sacrificed, trident renewal survives, cap on non-EU immigration, £10,000 increase in income tax exemption and a full referendum on AV. Close enough. *kaboom*.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2010


> Wonderwall was released while Major was Prime Minister.

Damn, you're right.... I had it mixed up in my head with Blair fawning over the brit-pop stars and the Cool Britannia thingo (remember that?)

So to revise, cheer up Britain, music is great in the early years of a conservative government, but once music starts to deteriorate, you can be sure the government's on its way out.
posted by girlgenius at 4:18 PM on May 11, 2010


So is the shitty ID thing dead forever? Or does it come back as zombie Tory-backed ID?
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a grown man. I'm 29 years old. And all I can think about during this hour of high historic drama, is how funny I find the name Ed Balls. 29 years old.

He was in danger of losing his seat. I stayed up until 4am on the off chance of being able to have "Balls out" as my Facebook status. I am 36.
posted by vbfg at 4:24 PM on May 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


I watched this drama unfold on CNN today - complete with that moron Rick Sanchez giving us his typically stupid play-by-play with the OJ-cam helicopter footage as first Brown, then Cameron, drove to the palace. (He was shocked at the lack of motorcade, shocked at the sight of a leader caught in traffic, shocked that gee, they do things differently there.)
But ultimately I was struck - and moved - by the peaceful and abrupt and matter of fact transfer of power. One guy leaves the house, the other guy walks in. In between, they go see the Queen briefly.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:24 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


kattullus: I'm a grown man. I'm 29 years old. And all I can think about during this hour of high historic drama, is how funny I find the name Ed Balls. 29 years old.

PRIME MINISTER BALLS!!!


He has a wife, you know...

(That's right - Lady Balls…)
posted by Pinback at 4:24 PM on May 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh, ID cards is explicitly dead-o. Both parties were against in their manifesto. Cons because it cost too much, Libs because it was an out fucking right fucking out fucking rageous intrusion on civil liberties.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:25 PM on May 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Now it's all over, I'm surprised we didn't see much more name humour, given we had a Balls, a Darling, and the utterly-wonderfully-named Lord Adonis (who was, actually, pretty damn good) in cabinet at once.

LORD ADONIS.

Brilliant.
posted by cromagnon at 4:27 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, this marriage is going to be like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, isn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 4:28 PM on May 11, 2010


German-born cousin George I

Whose greatx8 (?) grandson is now Prime Minister. It is, as they say, a funny old world.
posted by John Shaft at 4:30 PM on May 11, 2010


Oh, ID cards is explicitly dead-o.

Well hoorah for the Tory government and it's rejection of a hideous invasion of civil liberties.

How fucking weird is it that i can honestly say that?
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, ID cards is explicitly dead-o.
I wouldn't be so sure. It's the civil service that really want them, not any particular party. Labour promised to scrap them when Michael Howard first proposed them in 1995. They'll be back.
posted by bonaldi at 4:38 PM on May 11, 2010


I just heard Nick Clegg say, with a straight face, 'We are now going to form a new government' and mentally added with the bloody tories. How much more surreal can this get?
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:38 PM on May 11, 2010


That's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to you.

And when Posh Boy is on holidays, it will be Acting Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Foreign Secretary? No thanks. Chancellor? Nope. No inner cabinet guff for deputy Prime Minister Clegg.

"Deputy Prime Minister". Has a certain ring to it, does it not?

The Lib Dems are finished, I just can't believe how cheaply they went.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:52 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the UK gets PropRep, it will make Canada look like the last big Commonwealth holdout of an archaic and unfair election system, so I truly hope this will happen.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 5:01 PM on May 11, 2010


Well, in Oz it's only the Senate that gets STV so that hardly counts.
posted by GuyZero at 5:05 PM on May 11, 2010


Well, in Oz it's only the Senate that gets STV so that hardly counts.

You mean multi-member constituencies? The lower house (House of Reps) has full preferential voting (AV or whatever you choose to call it) just for single member constituencies. It's still fully proportional.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:12 PM on May 11, 2010


I cannot tell Cameron and Clegg apart. This isn't any commentary on their politics or the coalition or anything, it's just that they look really similar. When I see pictures of either of them, I'm reduced to having to pretty much straight up guess. Does this make me a racist?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:27 PM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've been keeping up with events by following The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci's Twitter:
7 May: If there's a Clegg/Cameron deal, should a LibDem get DoSaC?
8 May: #ToryLibDemPolicies A cap on immigrants, but only for immigrants who arrive not wearing a cap
10 May: Hey, they both offer votes on electoral reform and they both hate Nick Clegg: how about a Lab-Con coalition?
9 hours ago: People on Tory HQ are putting ties on. Something's up.
8 hours ago: Rumour is that Cameron has conceded full funds for the new James Bond film.
7 hours ago: Just hearing that Cameron's daughter has been betrothed to Clegg's middle son. Ceremony in St George's Chapel tomorrow at noon.
7 hours ago: Gordon Brown now to tour as part of a tribute Labour Government
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:29 PM on May 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


My read is that the rest of the Labour party knows what mess things are in and knows that the incoming government is going to have to make very unpopular decisions. So why not let the Tories and the Lib Dems field that hospital pass?

Best case scenario for Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems make the unpopular cuts and tax hikes, before the coalition fractures under it's own contradictions after a couple years and Labour comes back with a "Now didn't we warn you about this?" election campaign. AV gets knifed to death in a backalley by thugs from the Murdoch press come the referendum, and everyone goes back to normal.

Or maybe Clegg is just planning to have Cameron murdered. That I could respect.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:33 PM on May 11, 2010


What a fucking stitch-up. So we get a full Tory/Lib Den coalition because the Tories gave some pretty lacklustre concessions to Clegg. Ten grand tax limit; index link restored to pensions (good, but minor), and a couple of other sops.

Unless I've seriously missed something on the news, in all this euphoria, with various Lib Dems grinning like the proverbial Cheshires, the Tories grinning like they've got mouths full of shit they've been told not to swallow until they're off camera, and Clegg and Cameron out back sharing a crafty post-coitus coalition smoke, nowhere has there been mention of the big supposed concession that Clegg going to wring out of the Tories: electoral reform. Not even a referendum on the almost pointless change to AV.

Clegg just sold his party down the river for what? To be Deputy Prime Minister? A traditionally honorific post with no department to control, and one so important that the last person to hold it (and for ten years at that) was John fucking Prescott? You have to be kidding me. If the US VP slot is that much-vaunted "bucket of warm piss" then Deputy PM is the homeopathic distillation.

I think, as someone said upthread, this will fuck the Lib Dems seriously. If they collaborate too closely with the Tories, their own base will resent them for it (more than they may already do); if they push against the Tories and stop them enacting their own rapacious agenda, the Tories – especially the more troglodyte end of the spectrum – will blame it all on those namby-pamby Lib Dem Europoofters not letting them put Johnny Foreigner and all those dole scum in their proper place, which is probably the workhouse as far as most of them are concerned.

Still, I'm looking forward to the next series of The Thick Of It, so there's always that.
posted by Len at 5:46 PM on May 11, 2010 [20 favorites]


Unfortunately they'll probably have bbc 4 dismantled before then
posted by dng at 5:51 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


We'll have to make do with watching Al Murray on Sky instead
posted by dng at 5:53 PM on May 11, 2010


So what happens to Sir Winston Furchill now?
posted by homunculus at 5:53 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forever
posted by dng at 5:53 PM on May 11, 2010


By my count, David Cameron the twelfth PM under QE2.

Can we start a petition to get her on SNL?
posted by schmod at 6:02 PM on May 11, 2010


err. David Cameron *is* the twelfth PM under QE2.
posted by schmod at 6:02 PM on May 11, 2010


"A Note To The US Of A: A one-month election cycle is all that is necessary. You could save bajillions of dollars annually if you just outlawed ads more than a month before the election."

And think of how much money we could save on elections if we let corrupt Caribbean tax dodgers buy our elections too!

"Replaced by the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-cutting, barely elected Etonian."

Oh, come on, be fair... Cameron will not cut your taxes unless you're rich.

(That said, you might have to return the tax cuts if you want to buy a seat in the House of Lords.)
posted by markkraft at 6:05 PM on May 11, 2010


As an American, I can't tell you how weird it is to observe to politics of a nation who seem to think that being able to get things done is essential to forming a government. At least half of the US seem to think that it's a travesty if the same party occupies the White House and the majority of Congress. Not being able to move legislation is a feature of the system here.

Man, I would love for us to have a parliament instead.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:08 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Len:

According to the Guardian the Lib Dems got:

"Referendum to bring in some form of alternative vote system. Coalition members will be subject to three-line whip to force the legislation for a referendum through, but they will be free to campaign against the reforms before referendum."
posted by Transparent Yak at 6:09 PM on May 11, 2010


dng: Unfortunately they'll probably have bbc 4 dismantled before then

Cont. announcer: And now, News At Ten.
*BONG*
Trevor McDonald: New Culture Secretary announces sell-off of BBC4 and BBC3
*BONG*
TM: Whimsical comedy to be broken down and sold to Edinburgh Festival for scrap value
*BONG*
TM: Michael Crick used to plug gushing hole in Guardian finances
*BONG*
TM: Jazz Britannia sold to Ronnie Scott's for spare parts
*BONG*
TM: Sky3 to use Hotter Than My Daughter as feather bedding for pet rodents
*BONG*
TM: Autistic Driving School sold to Rule34 Ltd.
*BONG*
TM: Bizarre ER shipped overseas to US Senate Republicans to scare Americans of socialised health care
*BONG*
TM: George Lamb to be fed to Scotch wolves
*BONG*
TM: Danny Dyer offered up to aliens as ritual sacrifice
*BONG*
TM: Doctor Who Confidential secedes to establish own principality off coast of Guinea-Bisseau


On preview: Transparent Yak, cheers; missed that somehow – wasn't on the web most of the evening, and nobody on the tv mentioned it at all ...
posted by Len at 6:11 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Deputy to the Prime Minister
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:12 PM on May 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


As a friend of mine said, at least the combination of a Tory government AND a recession should cure people of thinking the 80s were cool.

That's funny... I was hoping for a better class of music to come out of the UK over the next few years, for similar reasons.
posted by pompomtom at 6:19 PM on May 11, 2010


I shudder to imagine the fawning that will come now when Thatcher finally karks it.
Can the CoE sanctify a former PM if pressed by the current one?
posted by bystander at 7:15 PM on May 11, 2010


I think Clegg got the best deal possible. The hand he was dealt was basically just good enough to go set with, no matter what he did.

1) Align with Tories, LibDem supporters flee.

2) Align with Labour, LibDem manifesto dies in flames when the coalition collapses, because one vote, just one, would result in failure of supply or no confidence passing.

3) Force a minority government, get slaughtered next election for not being willing to rule, handing the country to the Tories.

So, what did he get? Five seats on the cabinet -- rumor is one of the will be Home Secretary, and the most important thing -- a three line whip on a referendum on proportional voting.

Given that the LibDems got 23% of the vote, and 10% of the seats -- that they'd gained one percent of the popular vote over last election, and for that, lost five seats, this was the card they had to get, and they got it. The UK's *very best chance* at election reform will happen, and it won't be in the House of Commons, it'll be on a real vote.

Write this in bold face on your mirror:

If you fuck this up, it's your own fault.

As to Lib/Labour? Labour told Clegg to fuck off. What was he supposed to do? Oh yeah, vote lockstep with Labour and shut up. There's a reason that Clegg went to the Tories, because the Tories *were actually willing and able to make a deal*.

Given all of that, the fact that they're now in government, with the real ability to make real changes that Liberal Democrats claim to support -- and the ability to destroy the Cameron ministry at any moment -- is a pretty damn incredible bit of political ju-jitsu. He took his complete fucking over by first past the post, and ended up stopping the Tory tide. The moment Cameron tries to go Thatcher is the moment the Cameron ministry falls.

Jesus, people? Did you really think Brown was going to stay? The country clearly voted Labour out, and what Clegg just gave you was a Tory government *under control*. The other option was going to result in a Tory majority government.

What you need to do now, LibDem supporter, is push like hell to make sure that AV referendum passes -- and not care who Clegg had to shack up with to get you that referendum. Labour wasn't going to give it to you -- they could have anytime in the last decade. The Tories weren't going to give it to you.

Clegg made them give it to you.

Then, after that, if you must, vote for whomever you want to -- and if you can do that, then remember -- it was Nick Fucking Clegg who stood up and made the deal that made that possible.
posted by eriko at 7:44 PM on May 11, 2010 [50 favorites]


Well put, eriko.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:17 PM on May 11, 2010


This will not end well for the Lib Dems or probably the UK.

On one hand, the Lib Dems will participate in a gutting of the civil service and a truly awful austerity program. On the other hand, no one wants to do that, minority governments are simply unable to make difficult choices such as spending cuts, so likely nothing much will change for 2 or 3 years, and the UK is going to experience a lost decade.

If the UK gets PropRep, it will make Canada look like the last big Commonwealth holdout of an archaic and unfair election system, so I truly hope this will happen.

It would be great if someone could figure out a truly workable prop-rep system. I think BC's David Schreck says it best:

It is interesting to ask why STV has not been adopted anywhere with large populations. Ireland's population is 4,156,000, Malta's is 403,532 and Tasmania's is 497,312. Australia has a population of 21,007,310 but STV is used for its senate, not for its lower house, and 98% of all voters for the Australian senate don't really use STV, they simply mark an "X" in what is called an "above-the-line" vote that accepts the list or "ticket" filed by the voter's preferred party. Why hasn't the Australian lower house adopted STV since Australians are presumably familiar with the system? Australia has 6 states and two territories. Why have 5 of Australia's states refused to adopt STV? Do they know something British Columbians, including members of the former Citizens' Assembly, don't know? Perhaps the answer is they know too much. Understanding STV can be a reason for rejecting it as an alternative to our current system.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:21 PM on May 11, 2010


CAMERON?!?!? For real? I thought the kid at the supermarket was joking when he told me this! (US supermarkets are the new place to get your news, I guess).
posted by Mael Oui at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2010


"It would be great if someone could figure out a truly workable prop-rep system"

We here in the outer colonies, and those clever Germans, do quite nicely with Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). So simple even a New Zealander can vote in it. It's not perfect, but then no voting system is.

We've had a succession of stable, fairly representative governments with good voter turnout so I call that pretty "workable".
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:28 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Proportional representation) won't be in the House of Commons, it'll be on a real vote

That's not very likely. Look at the first referendum on devolution for Scotland and Wales or the Australian referendum in 1999 on becoming a republic.

If the government preparing the referendum doesn't want a particular outcome, it can always find ways to avoid it. Any vote on AV will be on terms decided by the Sir Humphreys and various Tory party Parliamentary Secretaries. The Tories won't care that this will alienate the Lib Dems as by then they will be gearing up as incumbents to fight a new election on the theme of strong government and whatever else they can cook up in the meantime.

I should also point out that I said AV was fully proportional. I don't know why. What I had in mind was that it fully represents the preferences of the voters, i.e. no "wasted votes".
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:35 PM on May 11, 2010


"I shudder to imagine the fawning that will come now when Thatcher finally karks it."

I remember a line from Frankie Boyle when discussing the 20 million pound planned funeral for Thatcher.

"For twenty million pounds you could buy everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we'll dig her a hole so deep we can hand her back to Satan personally."

So, you know, not everyone will be celebrating. It's actually kind of amazing, not even Nixon was this hated, this long after his term in office.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:37 PM on May 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


He took his complete fucking over by first past the post, and ended up stopping the Tory tide.

The "Tory tide" gave the Tories a minority of seats; Clegg helped them form a majority government. As far as tide-stopping capacity goes, Clegg looks a right Canute.
posted by stammer at 10:16 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"PRIME MINISTER BALLS!!!"

I would get a bigger kick from Deputy PM Balls, serving under PM Johnson.
posted by markkraft at 10:58 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


MajorDundee, I'm married to a Scot, spend a good chunk of each year in Scotland, and have actually read up on Scottish and English history. Not a huge amount, but the popular accounts.

It's still weird. And no, I don't feel foolish.
posted by psolo at 11:49 PM on May 11, 2010


At least it means an end to the extended weekend of dating metaphors in the popular press.

Oh, ID cards is explicitly dead-o. Both parties were against in their manifesto. Cons because it cost too much, Libs because it was an out fucking right fucking out fucking rageous intrusion on civil liberties.

Haha, yeah, and thank fuck for that. Did you know transsexual people would have had to get a card in both sexes? Fucking lol roffle fuck off.

I'm closing my eyes, gritting my teeth, and hoping for some kind of voting reform at the end of this. However, I'm thankful that we didn't get the bracing tory majority everyone was predicting a month ago, I'm spitting anger at the Labour backbenchers who whined at even the possibility of a deal with the Lib Dems, and I'll start wishing on every star I see for eriko to be proved right.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:57 PM on May 11, 2010


Clegg just sold his party down the river for what? To be Deputy Prime Minister? A traditionally honorific post with no department to control, and one so important that the last person to hold it (and for ten years at that) was John fucking Prescott?


How short your memory is. A far better comparison would be Michael Heseltine, the last person who was deputy PM under a weak Tory leader. Deputy PM is what you make of it.
posted by rhymer at 12:00 AM on May 12, 2010


To be Deputy Prime Minister? A traditionally honorific post with no department to control

I hesitate to make this comparison, but think about the traditional "pitcher of warm spit" assessment of the US Vice-Presidency, and then think about what Dick Cheney did with it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:52 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was in danger of losing his seat. I stayed up until 4am on the off chance of being able to have "Balls out" as my Facebook status. I am 36.

Ultimately, the best you could have done, given that he held his seat, was "Close shave for Balls".
posted by knapah at 1:31 AM on May 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


Loving it. Question time should be very entertaining for the foreseeable future.
posted by Lolie at 2:02 AM on May 12, 2010


Tube workers welcome Cameron.
posted by handee at 2:20 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh look, the cabinet consists of 11 white men in suits.

10 mins on wikipedia at lunchtime tells me that 2/11 have studied anything vaguely scientific, 5/11 have some experience of state education, and 9/11 have experience of Oxbridge.

Cameron: private school, oxford (PPE)
Clegg: private school, cambridge (social anthropology)
Osborne: private school, oxford (history)
Hague: state school, oxford (PPE)
Fox: state school, glasgow (Medicine)
Lansley: private school, exeter (politics)
Cable: state school, cambridge (natural sciences & economics)
Huhne: private school, oxford (PPE)
Laws: private school, cambridge (economics)
Alexander: state school, oxford (PPE)
Gove: state and private schools, oxford (english)
posted by handee at 3:37 AM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meet the New Toff (Same as the Old Toffs): "You thought that George W. Bush was an ultra-rich kid with a sense of entitlement to rule and a mission to take care of fellow millionaires?" The second photo includes Boris Johnson on the far-right stair.
posted by gman at 3:45 AM on May 12, 2010




Oh look, the cabinet consists of 11 white men in suits.

Well, some of the Conservatives (Osborne, Hague, never mind Gove) look only vaguely human, so there's some diversity after all.
posted by Skeptic at 4:02 AM on May 12, 2010


Ken Clarke at justice might be good news for keeping the Human Rights Act, grant funding for noodly jazz and increased sales of British tobacco to Asian children.
posted by Abiezer at 4:25 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


eriko: I think Clegg got the best deal possible. The hand he was dealt was basically just good enough to go set with, no matter what he did.

1) Align with Tories, LibDem supporters flee.

2) Align with Labour, LibDem manifesto dies in flames when the coalition collapses, because one vote, just one, would result in failure of supply or no confidence passing.

3) Force a minority government, get slaughtered next election for not being willing to rule, handing the country to the Tories.


Clegg had no obligation to go with either Labour or the Tories. Indeed, given that he based much of the Lib Dem campaign on getting away from "old politics" as practiced by the Tories and Labour, he could have gotten plenty of mileage out of condemning them both. Obviously a Labour/Lib Dem/others coalition would have collapsed in a heap at the first sniff, so from a Lib Dem point of view, there's no point. If he believed all his campaign talk, then why form a coalition with one of the bad old parties and prop them up in power, when so many of his stated aims for governing were at odds with what the Tories were proposing?

A minority Tory government wouldn't necessarily get the Lib Dems slaughtered at the next election, either; it would instead very much look like a Tory party who, having claimed to understood the real mood of the country after 13 years of Labour, getting it vastly wrong. Because if you're going up against a ruiniously screwed economy, a ridiculed and reviled incumbent PM, two unpopular wars, and a whole host of other stuff and you still can't get a majority at all, then you've fucked it something royally. Remember, three months ago, Cameron was supposedly unassailable. And yet now, he can't even get a working majority? If that's how badly he runs an election campaign, why does he deserve to run the country, Clegg or no Clegg behind him? And then, on a minority government, he can't even bring consensus among the few allies he whips together among assorted Unionists in Northern Ireland (the most likely deal to be struck here)? This wouldn't get the Lib Dems slaughtered at a snap election for not being willing to rule; it would be prima facie evidence that the Tories are completely unfit to run the country, and Murdoch media might or not, that's probably how most people would see it: a weak, insubstantial Tory party with neither the muscle nor the intellect to enact their policies.


Given all of that, the fact that they're now in government, with the real ability to make real changes that Liberal Democrats claim to support -- and the ability to destroy the Cameron ministry at any moment -- is a pretty damn incredible bit of political ju-jitsu. He took his complete fucking over by first past the post, and ended up stopping the Tory tide. The moment Cameron tries to go Thatcher is the moment the Cameron ministry falls.

Clegg got the best possible deal to advance himself and his free-market solutioneers, who – in a pretty stark contrast to all this touchy-feely stuff in the campaign about standing up for the little people against the big bad wolves of statist Labourites and evil, big-business Tories – are as much for private involvement in the public sector as the Tories. Jesus, in the Orange Book, co-authored by Clegg and the bible of the right wing of the Lib Dems, Vince Cable even put forward the idea that the NHS should be replaced with private leath insurance, a la the US. And not even Thatcher, at her most malign and venal, managed to pull that particular bit of nastiness off – in fact, she didn't even dare try, no matter how big her majority. The only stuff that may separate the Tories and the Lib Dems in substantial terms is on Europe – but given the ideological similarities on markets and business between them, I'm pretty sure compromise can be made, even if it ends up with a bunch of grumbling Tory nutters pissing off to UKIP in the process.

Does he have the ability to destroy the Cameron government at the drop of a hat? Maybe (though I sincerely doubt it). The more important question is: why would he want to, when doing so would mean (i) losing the power he and his party have just been handed and (ii) in the event of another election, every right wing paper in the country going after him like a pack of hounds after a fox, screaming about how Clegg is a filthy little traitor to the country who prefers to think of his own petty little interests rather than those of the country and its government.

And he didn't end up stopping the Tory tide; rather, I'd argue, that he allowed it to breach the dykes, and it's going to soak the rest of us. Still, he's got a cabinet post, and so have some of his friends, and there's going to be a referendum on a completely useless variant on first past the post, so that's all right then.
posted by Len at 4:46 AM on May 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


We'll see your Prime Minister Balls and raise you Ambassador Dick Swett.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:01 AM on May 12, 2010



Theresa May appointed Home Secretary


AND women's minister. Can they she really do both?
posted by like_neon at 5:09 AM on May 12, 2010


An interesting update from the BBC at 11:50 on their live feed:
We understand that under the new agreement for fixed-term parliaments, the only way to remove the government between elections would be a vote of no confidence with the support of 55% of MPs. At present, any no confidence vote requires only 50%, plus one MP.
That would mean Cameron would only need 45% support to survive a vote of 'no confidence'. Conveniently, the number of Tory MPs is 306 - thats 47%. So the Lib Dems will not be able to play that particular bargaining card, unless rebel Tories joined them.
posted by memebake at 5:10 AM on May 12, 2010


like_neon well us women are good at multi-tasking.
posted by handee at 5:11 AM on May 12, 2010


She's a charmer, too.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:12 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


AND women's minister. Can they she really do both?
Bit of a clue as to the Tory view on gender issues.
posted by Abiezer at 5:12 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe the official title is Minister for Women and Equality and gays and blacks and all that crap.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:17 AM on May 12, 2010


An interesting update from the BBC at 11:50 on their live feed:
We understand that under the new agreement for fixed-term parliaments, the only way to remove the government between elections would be a vote of no confidence with the support of 55% of MPs. At present, any no confidence vote requires only 50%, plus one MP.
That would mean Cameron would only need 45% support to survive a vote of 'no confidence'. Conveniently, the number of Tory MPs is 306 - thats 47%. So the Lib Dems will not be able to play that particular bargaining card, unless rebel Tories joined them.


The Lib Dems signed up to that?

Wow, they really were desperate for power. That's almost as naive as taking Deputy Prime Minister rather than one of the Great Offices of State.
posted by knapah at 5:20 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Len, your biggest problem with Clegg and the LibDems appears to be that they are not Labour. I'm afraid you'll have to live with it, it certainly doesn't appear to bother them or their six and a half million voters. As for the Orange Book, it must be noted that many, if not most Continental countries provide universal healthcare in a similar way to what was proposed there: off the top of my head I can think of Germany, Holland and Belgium. I personally prefer single-payer, but I've lived in all those three countries and I never felt that their healthcare systems embodied "heinous Thatcherism".
posted by Skeptic at 5:24 AM on May 12, 2010


re: Clegg taking Deputy instead of one of the Great Offices - I think he might know what he's doing there. It will leave him time to co-ordinate with the other Lib members of the Cabinet, and do a lot of bargaining and deal-brokering. As in, he will get to concentrate more on being leader of the Lib Dem faction, rather than having to actually run anything.
posted by memebake at 5:27 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


it certainly doesn't appear to bother them or their six and a half million voters.
You will discover how utterly wrong you are here in forthcoming elections. Setting aside the many Labour tactical voters that make up a significant portion of that figure, the bulk of the core Lib Dem vote saw itself as certainly anti-Tory and broadly progressive. They're in for a hiding at the polls for some years to come.
posted by Abiezer at 5:35 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Blogger at Splintered Sunrise making the same point:
There’s a basic psephological point here. The Lib Dems benefit a lot from tactical voting, as we know. Since they failed to make the much-anticipated breakthrough against Labour in the northern cities, their MPs tend to sit for rural and suburban constituencies in the south. Their main rivals in those seats are the Tories; twice as many Lib Dem MPs have a Tory as their nearest challenger as a Labourite. They benefit rather a lot from squeezing Labour votes on the basis that they are the best-placed anti-Tory candidates. So, how easy will fighting elections on an anti-Tory basis be now? And that’s without considering Simon Hughes or Sarah Teather, who have held off Labour challenges on the basis of positioning themselves to Labour’s left. Hughes’ seat is safe, but I fear wee Sarah may be toast.

One thing about the maths. The Lib Dems hold 57 seats in the Commons. If we take majorities of less than 10% – which is to say seats that would be vulnerable on a 5% swing – as being marginal, that encompasses a full 27 of those 57, and some of those majorities are very small indeed. If pissed-off Lib Dem voters decamp to Labour or the Greens in any numbers – or if some choose to vote real Tory rather than ersatz Tory – then Cleggy had better hope that he gets PR as part of the deal. With PR, he could lose half his votes and come out ahead in terms of seats. Without PR, the Lib Dems could be Donald Ducked in a very serious way.

And oh yes, he’d better hope that law on fixed-term parliaments is rushed through quickly, for if I was Nick Clegg I wouldn’t want to be facing my voters any time soon.
posted by Abiezer at 5:43 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


like_neon: Theresa May appointed Home Secretary

Oh look, they've got one woman in the cabinet. Good for them.
posted by Kattullus at 5:49 AM on May 12, 2010


What he said. Great comment eriko. I think you have summed it all up rather well. It definitely seems to be a way forward out of the morass.
posted by adamvasco at 6:07 AM on May 12, 2010


Indeed, given that he based much of the Lib Dem campaign on getting away from "old politics" as practiced by the Tories and Labour, he could have gotten plenty of mileage out of condemning them both.

Funny, the old politics as practiced by Tory and Labour would have been to never ever enter a coalition, just keep forcing elections until one of them got a majority, then fuck the opinion of the other side.

Clegg would have been destroyed. The Conservatives would have failed to rule for a few weeks, the right wing press would have nailed the LibDems every single day, then the new election in July would have been an absolute Tory Majority.

There were two answers coming out of this election. Tory Majority or Coalition. Labour would not form a coalition with the LibDems. Therefore, the only options left were Tory-Labour (hah!), Tory Majority or what you have now.

If you'd not worn the goddamn noseplugs and give Clegg 120 seats, then maybe he could have made a LibLab coalition work, or had even more influence in the LibConDem government you have now. But you didn't.

You gave shite to the LibDems and expected them to save you, and they've managed the best deal they could to try, and yet, you condemn them.

You know what? Part of me hopes this collapses in the next few months, and Cameron gets his full majority, just to show you where your idiocy is leading you, but I like the UK too much. I'd have *killed* to have had an opportunity like this in the Bush eras.

They could have just handed the fucking country to Cameron. Would that have made you happy? No, as a matter of fact, you would have torn into them with the "I didn't vote for a Cameron Government" song again. It didn't matter what Clegg did, it wasn't going to be what you wanted, because he had 57 seats to work with, and you need to face the fact that the Tory party won the most seats and the largest share of the popular vote -- 7% more than Labour, 13% more than LibDem.

Nobody voted for a coalition government, true -- but not enough people voted for a Cameron, a Clegg, or a Brown Majority government, so that's what you're going to get.

Yes, a Lib-Lab coalition would have been preferable, too bad Labour wasn't interested in any way, shape or form, and didn't have discipline to make it work -- never mind the Green Party stating quite clearly that they would not enter a coalition, so that's one less. Lab/Lib/SNP was only 322, and with Labour's rebellious backbench? It was doomed.

So: for a progressive, this is a pretty grim election. Hint: Don't fucking hang your hopes on Labour when Labour ignored you for 12 years. But that's water by the bridge. What you need to look at is what the possible results of this election were, one that had the Conservatives on the cusp of a majority.

LibDem stuffed that, and then Clegg got a coalition that has a chance, just a chance, of doing some good things, of getting PR, and of blunting the Tory rise, so that the next five years, while not great, will not be Thatcher again.

You should be thankful, and if you stuff this coalition in the next few months, if you convince the country that LibDems cannot be trusted, you *will* have a Cameron Majority by the end of the year, and they will be the majority, unchecked, for five full years.

Do. Not. Fuck. This. Up.
posted by eriko at 6:20 AM on May 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


memebake: An interesting update from the BBC at 11:50 on their live feed:
We understand that under the new agreement for fixed-term parliaments, the only way to remove the government between elections would be a vote of no confidence with the support of 55% of MPs. At present, any no confidence vote requires only 50%, plus one MP.
That would mean Cameron would only need 45% support to survive a vote of 'no confidence'. Conveniently, the number of Tory MPs is 306 - thats 47%. So the Lib Dems will not be able to play that particular bargaining card, unless rebel Tories joined them.


That the Lib Dems signed up for this sort of thing shows you how serious they are about making things more democratic. Seriously, they spend an entire campaign banging on about electoral reform, and one of the conditions of joining government they agree to is making it more difficult to hold the government to account on a vote? Fuck them.

Skeptic: Len, your biggest problem with Clegg and the LibDems appears to be that they are not Labour. I'm afraid you'll have to live with it, it certainly doesn't appear to bother them or their six and a half million voters. As for the Orange Book, it must be noted that many, if not most Continental countries provide universal healthcare in a similar way to what was proposed there: off the top of my head I can think of Germany, Holland and Belgium. I personally prefer single-payer, but I've lived in all those three countries and I never felt that their healthcare systems embodied "heinous Thatcherism".

No, my biggest problem with Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems is that they're Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. (On the other hand, my biggest problem with Labour is that they're not Labour – or at least not the Labour that was born from, and represented, the working classes in this country. To be honest, other than a few good social policies over the past 13 years, they've been fucking horrendous, on everything from civil liberties to the economy to Iraq and Afghanistan.) What bothers me about the Lib Dems – and obviously this doesn't make them unique amongst political parties – is that they've sold out their core base for a shot at whatever power they can get their hands on, and it's going to fuck the rest of us over as much as it's going to fuck their core, broadly-left leaning voters. If I was a standard Lib Dem voter right now, I'd be absolutely incandescent.

Oh, and Cameron and Clegg walking out to two lecterns in the No. 10 Rose Garden: what the fuck is this, some am-dram version of The West Wing?
posted by Len at 6:22 AM on May 12, 2010


It is interesting to ask why STV has not been adopted anywhere with large populations

Entrenched interests. It is very hard to get a two party system to vote in any form of PR, because PR would almost certainly allow other parties to grow in influence, which would weaken the two parties in power.

This is why you see Democrat/Republican and Conservative/Labour fighting PR. It's not because it isn't workable, it's because that would result in less power for the D/R or C/L parties.

People rarely vote to reduce their own power, and when they do, we hold them up as heros (see Cincinnatus and Washington, for two quick examples.)
posted by eriko at 6:24 AM on May 12, 2010


You gave shite to the LibDems and expected them to save you, and they've managed the best deal they could to try, and yet, you condemn them.
But they didn't save us eriko - that was the core Labour vote turning out despite the party in government having been such a betrayal. The Lib Dems have abandoned two key planks of their manifesto - no immediate cuts and PR (the referendum on AV is a long way from being PR).
You should be thankful, and if you stuff this coalition in the next few months, if you convince the country that LibDems cannot be trusted, you *will* have a Cameron Majority by the end of the year, and they will be the majority, unchecked, for five full years.
Again, I think you're reading this entirely wrong. Cameron had an 18 point lead in the polls not so long back, but as the prospect of a Tory government loomed larger than melted away to the poor showing we have just seen. He's not going to increase his support heading up a government introducing austerity cuts.
posted by Abiezer at 6:29 AM on May 12, 2010


Abiezer - I can tell you that we were never going to get PR out of the conservatives. Never never never. The biggest party in parliament wasn't going to sign up to that. AV is not what the Lib Dems wanted either but it is a step in the right direction, and a hell of a lot better than FPTP. This isn't abandoning anything - it is called a realistic compromise.

You are also ignoring the fact that the Lib Dems are about to realise their policies in government. Instead of "abandoning" them, we are actually seeing them happen in reality. That is a significant improvement, wouldn't you say?

And this isn't just a question of Tories cutting themselves into unelectability. There is a bit more to this than politics. The country needs a strong, unified government to see it through the crisis. We can get that in a coalition. We also don't want a rerun of the Thatcher years. That won't happen this time, not with Lib Dems in the cabinet.

Dave may be in Downing Street, but I'll tell you what I am telling everyone else - a Tory government with Lib Dems in it is not a Tory government.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 6:42 AM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


eriko: You gave shite to the LibDems and expected them to save you, and they've managed the best deal they could to try, and yet, you condemn them.
I didn't expect the Lib Dems to do shit for me, let alone "save me" from a Tory government, which, unless you've missed something, is mostly what we're currently looking at, coalition mutual-love in or not.

[on a Tory minority government]: Clegg would have been destroyed. The Conservatives would have failed to rule for a few weeks, the right wing press would have nailed the LibDems every single day, then the new election in July would have been an absolute Tory Majority.

Again, I think that you're reading this absolutely arse about face: as I said before, they were suppsed to have a total lock on this election three months ago. Any fucking it up would (and is, on the drop in poll numbers) be entirely down to them, and given that the right wing press went all-out to destroy Labour and the Lib Dems over the past month – all the while bigging Cameron up as "the change we need" – and that the public plainly didn't buy it, what makes you think they'd buy it after three months of Cameron flailing around in No. 10 and looking like a lightweight completely out of his depth?

If you'd not worn the goddamn noseplugs and give Clegg 120 seats, then maybe he could have made a LibLab coalition work, or had even more influence in the LibConDem government you have now. But you didn't.
There is no way on God's green earth – or on any other one, for that matter – that the Lib Dems could ever have gotten 120 seats as things stand, given the geographical spread of their voter base. Is that a case for electoral reform? Yes. But don't fucking blame me and others like me for not bringing about what was a complete and total political impossibility.
posted by Len at 6:47 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and sorry, Skeptic, I meant to reply to this previously:
As for the Orange Book, it must be noted that many, if not most Continental countries provide universal healthcare in a similar way to what was proposed there: off the top of my head I can think of Germany, Holland and Belgium. I personally prefer single-payer, but I've lived in all those three countries and I never felt that their healthcare systems embodied "heinous Thatcherism".

Of course those countries and their health care systems don't embody heinous Thatcherism. However, Cable's plan was to dismantle an already existing and functioning social health care system and replace it with a private model. And that, which ever way you cut it, is definitely heinous Thatcherism.
posted by Len at 6:55 AM on May 12, 2010


That would mean Cameron would only need 45% support to survive a vote of 'no confidence'. Conveniently, the number of Tory MPs is 306 - thats 47%.

I don't understand this. Is it even possible to so easily change non-confidence rules? And if it's true, then why do the Tories even need to form a government with the Lib Dems, if they can survive a non-confidence vote without their support?
posted by KokuRyu at 6:57 AM on May 12, 2010


I can tell you that we were never going to get PR out of the conservatives...You are also ignoring the fact that the Lib Dems are about to realise their policies in government. Instead of "abandoning" them, we are actually seeing them happen in reality.
We all know that about PR, which only points up the foolishness of the coalition. From what I've seen so far, the only policies of any significance the Lib Dems are likely to realise are the 10,000 quid tax band and a couple of things the Tories were offering anyway.
posted by Abiezer at 7:05 AM on May 12, 2010


KoyuRyu Is it even possible to so easily change non-confidence rules?

Its a legislation change that will need to be voted on in parliament, so the LibDems must have signed up to support the change.
posted by memebake at 7:09 AM on May 12, 2010


the bulk of the core Lib Dem vote saw itself as certainly anti-Tory and broadly progressive. They're in for a hiding at the polls for some years to come.

...unless they can demonstrate over the next few years that their coalition agreement has kept the most egregious side of the Tories at bay, in a way that mollifies some currently disgruntled voters and might even woo others; and they get the "completely useless variant on first past the post" (as Len put it) which brings them Labour preferences in seats where Labour runs a distant third and helps them win some marginal Tory seats, brings them Tory preferences that help them win some Labour marginals, and compensates overall for some loss in the primary (first preference) vote.

If the Lib Dems had a fairer voting system - and any system is fairer than first-past-the-post in a multi-party state - they could afford to piss off a fair chunk of their voters and still end up ahead of where they are now.

Sure, it's a gamble. Which of the options on the table wasn't?
posted by rory at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2010


Can't see how they could achieve that distance from the upcoming austerity measures, rory. If they do baulk at one of the budgets and bring the coalition down, they'll look like they're fickle and going against this line of 'stable government' and the fact that they've gone for a full coalition and embedded themselves so deeply into its cabinet (plus I think Clegg and Cable's proclivities) suggest they're not going to do that.
posted by Abiezer at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Abiezer, I agree that the austerity measures are political poison, which is why nobody wanted to talk about them, but the next few months are going to bring revelation after revelation about exactly how economically screwed the UK is, and none of the surrounding ignomony is going to stick to the incoming government unless whatever they do in coming months demonstrably puts us deeper in the hole. People won't like the cuts in services, but at the same time we'll be watching the examples of places like Greece and seeing how it could have been worse - and half the country will be cursing the government that brought us to this point. Which won't be seen as Cameron's - not in 2010, 2011, or even 2012.

And where would the Labour party have been - never mind the Lib Dems - if the Lib Dems had let Labour continue as a minority government, given that a progressive coalition with a stable majority was unachievable? Labour would have stumbled on, having to build separate majorities for each and every piece of legislation before the House, winning a few but losing so many that they became further and further entrenched in the public eye as Losers, until the inevitable vote of no confidence, early election, landslide defeat and loss of office for a generation. Good grief, it's not even idle speculation, it's the story of the Callaghan government!

Labour supporters should be relieved not to be facing all that. The day for mourning the loss of power was Friday, not today - and in truth the days to mourn were from two years ago until about a month ago, when it looked like a Tory landslide in 2010 was the only realistic possibility.
posted by rory at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just chiming in to say that this discussion is extremely enlightening. Politic discussion across most boards seems horrendously tribal, reactionary, and stultifyingly ill-informed, so thanks to all who have avoided the obvious fruitless avenues on this one.

Passions are high at the moment, but it's good to see both credible optimism and pessimism, pragmatic attempts to parse the situation and disappointed/disgruntled idealism in this thread about the coalition, free of too much ideaology.

Interesting reading!
posted by Cantdosleepy at 8:02 AM on May 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


rory - I think your second two paras are key to why Labour apparently didn't make any serious efforts at a coalition in the end. I presume they're banking on the wheels coming off the coalition sooner rather than later and then a grinning Miliband to sweep them back to power. How inspiring. Not.
I do think the argument Brown made about taking money out of the economy earlier rather than later is probably sound in terms of the present economic consensus and certainly will provide a basis for Labour in opposition if they're even half competent to make the political opprobrium accompanying the cuts stick.
posted by Abiezer at 8:12 AM on May 12, 2010


Moving on to more important issues than, you know, the politics...

...I'm pretty certain Michael Gove is Kurk Hummel from Glee.


I only watch it because the Missus makes me. Honest.
posted by garius at 8:39 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aim: Lib Dems having a real shot at running the place

Requires: Change to the voting system

How: Lib Dems in power
- Problem, with current voting system, never going to happen

How: Progressive alliance with Labour:
- Problem, Labour told them to go fuck themselves.
- Problem, even if Labour hadn't told them to go fuck themselves, still short of seats, requiring frankly unworkable rainbow coalition.

How: Coalition with Tories
- Problem?


I really don't get it. For me, this is the best possible, achievable, result for the Lib Dems.
posted by djgh at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I realise this is a bit far-fetched, but has anyone considered the possibility that Clegg genuinely cares about a more representative electoral system?

All this talk about the Lib Dems being destroyed for not supporting a Tory government by the press, or for supporting them by tactical voters later on seems to me to be missing the point slightly.
The Lib Dems are never going to form a government under the current system...their policies, particularly around electoral reform, are never going to be adopted by either of the two major parties. Even if AV is the only payback the Lib Dems get out of holding their noses and supporting every potential bit of foaming at the mouth Thatcherite legislative insanity that old-school Labour supporters seem to think the new government will be champing at the bit to pass, they will have advanced their political agenda further than they ever have before.
Perhaps they actually believe that some form of electoral reform is worth the risk of a few more decades in the political wilderness. What have they got to lose here? Does anyone think that we'd actually see a sufficiently massive swing towards the Lib Dems in the next election that they'd have some chance of reforming the electoral system on their own? In the next five elections? How about the next ten?

Throw in their similar stances on civil liberties and reduction in the size and scope of the state, and you've got the basics for a working coalition government. Neither party is likely to get everything they want out of it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they kept things ticking over for quite some time, maybe even the full four years.
posted by Kreiger at 8:56 AM on May 12, 2010


....ooooooooooor what djgh said.
posted by Kreiger at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2010


I'm also on the side of, "This is the best realistically possible outcome for the Lib Dems".

I'm not a UK citizen but I've been living here for 3+ years and have found this whole election period really fascinating!

They got like 50 seats, that's nothing! And yet they are now going to have a chance to get some of their policies implemented. They are going to be in cabinet seats. They are going to have some ability to keep the Tories in check (some). They are going to be all over the news all the time instead of an afterthought. This is lightyears ahead of what they could have dreamed possible just a year ago. No wonder there was a unanimous vote for the coalition.

No one is claiming they are now running the government, but they're finally playing in the same playground and not just watching from across the street.
posted by like_neon at 8:58 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


awesome thread. i knew i shouldn't have gone to bed after writing my comment. just to address a few issues which have come up:

1) "Replaced by the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-cutting, barely elected Etonian.
posted by blucevalo at 10:26 PM on May 11 [16 favorites +] [!] "

i am no tory, but cameron did not take UK into 2 illegal wars. Yeah, i know, they stood by and let it happen. also he hasn't bottled anything (yet). brown bottled it when he became unelected PM and wouldn't call an election in case he lost. he is paying for that now.

2) "First of all, those 13b € are merely a guarantee, not a cash bail-out. The possibility they'll never have to be disburse is about 99%....I'd therefore advice against scoffing about sovereign debt bailouts, because you may find yourselves at the receiving end sooner rather than later"

So you think the greek debt will not have to be paid, that their creditors will just shrug and walk away? i doubt it. and yes, i know. we are about a trillion in debt + interest on the bonds issued, and there is no money left. we will see the IMF here soon, laying down the law.

3) "Oy marienbad, I hardly think "Scotsman" warrants inclusion in a list like that. He's still British, just like every Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish citizen of the United Kingdom. They get to be Prime Minister too, you know."

and ""us poor english will pay more and more tax to fund this, becomming increasingly poorer

"giggleworthy for their patent stupidity if they weren't so filled with the weird internal xenophobia that the Scots and the English uniquely manage."

er, wut? Xenophobia? lets see now, scottish MPs can vote in UK parliament and in scottish parliament. but not vice-versa. So when it came to (for e.g.) free prescriptions, they voted yes in scotland and no in england, hence we ENGLISH are paying more tax so the SCOTTISH can have free prescriptions. and somehow this is fine because we are all british? righty ho. and again, you think this bailout will not cost the british tax payer? our own banking bailouts and so on are costing us.

and yes, we are all going to have to pay more tax, whichever party took power there is going to have to be tax raises. that 1 trillion aint gonna pay itself off. so how it is laughable i don't know.

4) "finally the bottling, lying, war-mongering, tax-raising, unelected scotsman is gone.

Drop "Scotsman" from this and you've got Churchill.
posted by bonaldi at 10:52 PM on May 11 [1 favorite +] [!] "

comparing brown to churchill? are you fucking insane? jeez. so in your estimation WW2 is the same as afghanistan and iraq?

5) "Marienbad- surely your well-informed elequence would go down better over at the Daily Mail site?"

again, er wut? no sorry because: no mention of immigrants mate. also, as a working-class white british man, please don't insult me because i do not like a someone who is unelected and scottish. the scots want independance. we should give it to them.

6) "Hint: Don't fucking hang your hopes on Labour when Labour ignored you for 12 years."

yes so true. this is what they have done to the ordinary working class people of britain. no banking regulation, mass immigration, 2 wars which they lied their way into and we have to pay for, bank bailouts which we also have to pay for. and so on.

wow, who knew that british politics could be so interesting. frankly i dont think it matters who runs the plavce, as i said before, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. interestingly the disparity between ruch and poor has approximately doubled since Labour came to power, so how an eton educated toff can do any worse i don't know.

and i hate the toffs. all that fucking "we are the upper classes" bullshit, thinking they have a right to certain jobs and priviledges. but ultimately, i just do not believe labour have a clue how to get us out of the mess they have created, and browns proposed increase in NI is laughable. we are a consumer society, this is how the money goes round (and acts like a sponge to suck it all up for the rich) and is how the economy grows - people make money and spend it. shurely cutting peoples spending power would negatively impact the economy? IANAE so if i am wrong you can come and correct me, but i want details in understandable form. (ie those a sun reader can undertand... *falls off chair laughing* - i kid i kid)

M
posted by marienbad at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2010


comparing brown to churchill? are you fucking insane? jeez. so in your estimation WW2 is the same as afghanistan and iraq?

Can we have grumblebee to thread to hand this guy his bigoted ass on a plate over the matter of comparisons, please?
posted by bonaldi at 9:53 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really don't get it. For me, this is the best possible, achievable, result for the Lib Dems.
The problem lies in your opener: "Aim: Lib Dems having a real shot at running the place." What they have here is a real shot at propping up a Tory government that will be implementing some deeply unpopular policies, tarring themselves by association and in return getting some minor input to tax policy and a referendum on the least radical type of voting reform - that their coalition partners will campaign against.
Not worth the candle, certainly not to their base whose aim, unlike senior party figures it seems, was more than just power at any price. (Not that I personally give a shit about the Lib Dems electoral prospects)
posted by Abiezer at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2010


The problem lies in your opener: "Aim: Lib Dems having a real shot at running the place." What they have here is a real shot at propping up a Tory government that will be implementing some deeply unpopular policies, tarring themselves by association and in return getting some minor input to tax policy and a referendum on the least radical type of voting reform - that their coalition partners will campaign against.

Who said I meant in this parliament?

Long-term, this can only help the Lib Dems.
posted by djgh at 10:24 AM on May 12, 2010


marienbad: er, wut? Xenophobia? lets see now, scottish MPs can vote in UK parliament and in scottish parliament. but not vice-versa. So when it came to (for e.g.) free prescriptions, they voted yes in scotland and no in england, hence we ENGLISH are paying more tax so the SCOTTISH can have free prescriptions.

Point 1: Scottish MPs vote in Westminster; they do not vote in Holyrood, but MSPs do. So in Scotland, MSPs voted for free prescriptions. Quite why Westminster voted no on the same thing – and I agree it would have been great if the voted yes – is now the fault of a bunch of MSPs who don't vote in London is beyond me.

Point 2: Xenophobia. All this "we ENGLISH are paying more tax so the SCOTTISH can have free [x]" is exactly the same kind of langauge that the Mail and the Telegraph use when appealing to a particular type of English voter in order to stoke their resentment at another nation in the UK, and divert attention from much more pressing issues.

If you want to see a concrete example of how this technique is used to divide the poor and the working class of both countries – because this is essentially a class argument more than anything else – see this side by side comparison of editorials in the Scottish and English editions of the Sun. (Posted by feafulsymmetry in the last election thread.)

They're taking you for a mug, mate. Don't ever forget that.
posted by Len at 10:24 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Main job I see for the LibDems - not letting the Tories fuck up the NHS or the BBC.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


We'll have to wait and see I suppose, djgh. As I said further up above I think quite the reverse, this will screw them for many a long year.
posted by Abiezer at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2010


scottish MPs can vote in UK parliament and in scottish parliament

No, they can't. Scottish MPs do not sit at Holyrood.

So when it came to (for e.g.) free prescriptions

Health is one of the devolved powers. The Scottish government felt this move, at a relatively low cost of around 70m would benefit its people. I am not aware if there was a vote on free prescriptions at Westminster, but if you feel its important back a political party that supports them. If you'd rather have a separate English assembly for English matters campaign for one.

Lots of money is spent in parts of the country that will have no direct benefit to other regions. Taxpayers in Scotland pay into the pool too. Most of them will never have cause to use the Jubilee line, they never visted the Millenium dome and won't go to the Olympics. They might visit Wembley and get their money's worth in turf and goalposts though.
posted by IanMorr at 10:29 AM on May 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nevar forget!!! *shakes impotent fist at IanMorr*
posted by Abiezer at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Essentially, this whole Scotland/England mess comes down to one thing.

Do you think that the union of England and Scotland is a good or bad thing?

There's no way you can just focus on the money issue when there's so much more involved.

It's also a lot more complicated than GRAR TAX!, but that's a really nice inaccurate framing to get people riled up.

Firstly, income tax rates are the same. You pay no more tax than someone on the same wage in Scotland.

Secondly, what you're annoyed about is the allocation of public expenditure. It's true, in certain matters where the Barnett forumla is used, Scotland does get more money per head than in England! However, this is only really a reflection of the greater need for the tax money.
The Barnett formula is perhaps being used as a transitional device to bring public expenditure per head in the 'Celtic Fringe' closer to the levels that a needs assessment might imply. Pressure for its replacement is likely not only to come from dissatisfied English regions, but also from the Celtic Fringe once it is recognised that a needs assessment would perhaps provide a more generous settlement.
Source (I've only read the abstract)

The free prescriptions thing is a bit of an attention grabber. However, my understanding is that it wasn't mandated that Scotland should get extra money above and beyond what it already receives. It was a decision on the allocation of the money they already have.

Essentially, it's their money and they're doing with it what they like. England could do the same, but obviously the party in charge at the time had different priorities. Maybe this will change.

And I know what you're thinking: "This Barnett formula's outrageous!"

Luckily:
Scotland’s public spending levels face dramatic reductions, with both the Tories and Liberal Democrats committed to scrapping the Barnett formula and replacing it with a system that distributes taxpayers’ money based on need.
Source

Points:
- All public spending levels will be reduced. Telegraph spinning this one as England sticking one to the Scots. Naughty Telegraph.
- The Barnett formula is currently getting levels to where they need to be to represent a needs based level of expenditure. So really, replacing like with like to a certain extent. And as quoted above, Scotland might get more on a needs-based assessment.
posted by djgh at 11:18 AM on May 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thank bloody goodness.
posted by jpcooper at 12:31 PM on May 12, 2010


Marienbad - Thanks for returning to the thread and clarifying your positions.

Can I please request that you no longer use the phrase 'unelected', please? I'm not sure if you've read some of the responses above, but it's a totally incorrect description. We don't have a presidential election. No PM is elected through direct votes from the British populace. We elect MPs and the MPs decide who gets to fill the post of prime minister. Please stop spreading the slur that Gordon Brown was somehow Prime Minister illegitimately - it's bad for the conversation here, and its bad for the wider political discourse in general.

If you are in favour of a presidential system, then please feel free to argue for it, but do so with the knowledge that 'unelected' in the sense you are using it applies to every Prime Minister we have ever had.

Thanks!
posted by Cantdosleepy at 12:52 PM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't get all the Tory hate in this thread. Cameron wasn't an MP the last time there was a Tory government.The sins of the father and all that. The guy's been in power 1 day but he's already worse than a team of people that led us into and lied to us about Iraq, who failed to regulate the banks, who've failed to cut government spending in any way and pushed a huge deficit not onto older, wealthier Tory voters but the UK's young.

Artw: Main job I see for the LibDems - not letting the Tories fuck up the NHS or the BBC

Anyway, on the BBC. I don't think anyone in the Tory party at present would go after the BBC with the same venom and persistence that that odious little shit Alastair Campbell did. He forced out the Director General. The BBC effectively got put on trial. And not by pantomime villains in the Tory party.

Now some of the right wing press? 'anging's too good for 'em.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:21 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't get all the Tory hate in this thread. Cameron wasn't an MP the last time there was a Tory government.The sins of the father and all that. The guy's been in power 1 day but he's already worse than a team of people that led us into and lied to us about Iraq, who failed to regulate the banks, who've failed to cut government spending in any way and pushed a huge deficit not onto older, wealthier Tory voters but the UK's young.

You actually think the Conservative Party has changed? I admit that New Labour are nearly as bad, particularly the Blairite side, but at least they put some impetus on protecting the poorest people in our society.

The Tories, were they not held back a little by the Lib Dems, would be quite happy to cut taxes for the rich and cut public spending in areas that disproportionately impact upon the most vulnerable people in our society. In fact, I fear that will happen regardless of any Lib Dem input.

Read this and it might help you to understand the fears.

And believe me when I say that what the Tories did last time they were in power will be colouring people's perceptions of them for at least another generation to come. The impact of the Thatcher years will only be reduced if the Cameron government is worse. A scary thought.

(I'm Irish, we have particularly unpleasant memories of Thatcher and the Tories. And we have very long memories.)
posted by knapah at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Cameron didn't want to be associated with the historical Tory legacy he could have pursued politics in a different party. Things move on of course, but they don't come from nowhere and exist in a vacuum. Which parts of the bad Labour actions you list would the Tories have done any different? They were pro-war and pro-deregulation. That's not to defend Labour - they were shits of course; just against the notion that it would have been much different under anyone else.
All of the parties were planning to socialise capitalism's bad debts, the Tories (aided and abetted by Clegg and chums) will do it sooner and more brutally than Labour would have. All the code words in Cameron's speeches so far and in the outline Lib Dem/Tory pact point to a particularly brutal assault on social protections in the offing, and much as I wasn't keen on ID cards, scrapping them isn't much of a compensation.
posted by Abiezer at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I should also point out that Cameron worked for the Conservative Research Department between 1988 and 1993, and was an adviser to John Major during his government. He was then special advisor to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, at the time of Black Wednesday.

He's up to his neck in the nasty party.
posted by knapah at 1:51 PM on May 12, 2010


I'm reasonably sure that Osborne won't last long as Chancellor.

It would appear that grey hair and black eyebrows are a pre-requisite.

Heh.
posted by djgh at 2:05 PM on May 12, 2010


The guy's been in power 1 day but he's already worse than a team of people that led us into and lied to us about Iraq, who failed to regulate the banks, who've failed to cut government spending in any way and pushed a huge deficit not onto older, wealthier Tory voters but the UK's young

You mean the guy who voted strongly and consistently for the Iraq war, who leads an economically right-wing party that lobbied hard for less bank regulation, and who would have raised the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million had he not been unable to win an election even with a strong wind behind him? Oh, and who also on his first day pledged to re-write the constitution so that his minority government can't be thrown out of power -- even if it can no longer command a majority.

That the guy you mean?
posted by bonaldi at 2:32 PM on May 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


And believe me when I say that what the Tories did last time they were in power will be colouring people's perceptions of them for at least another generation to come. The impact of the Thatcher years will only be reduced if the Cameron government is worse. A scary thought.

I can't echo that more. The Thatcher government burnt a big blazing scar across everyone and everything. It is, indeed, the biggest problem the Conservative party faces.

Everyone remembers Thatcher -- the problem is a large number of people do not remember her fondly, and rightfully so. Imagine the years where Bush II had Congress at his beck and call.

Imagine that for twelve years.

That's what Thatcher means to the UK. That's why so many are flinching at the thought of the Tories in power -- even in colation.

And, to be honest, I cannot blame them one bit.
posted by eriko at 7:05 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and who also on his first day pledged to re-write the constitution so that his minority government can't be thrown out of power -- even if it can no longer command a majority.

There's two sides to that coin. The reason NuLab stayed in power that long, and that Thatcher/Major stayed in power that long, is that they got to call elections when they wanted to, and they picked the best times to do so. Brown just ran out of airspeed and altitude, and had to call one when he was well and truly screwed.

Fixed term isn't perfect -- but neither is random term. I'm not sure if I like fixed term in the case of a majority government, but I think a fixed term -- May, 2015, ends the Lib-Con alliance if nothing else does -- is exactly the correct answer.

They've made a deal to put aside differences for five years -- and exactly five years -- to make a workable government. This is the right attitude. I'm torn on fixed parliaments as a general rule, but in this case, it's the right answer -- though I would have said three years, not five, given the coalition and the chance at some form of AV.

But maybe five years was the price the LibDems had to pay to get that referendum. In which case -- they did the right thing.
posted by eriko at 7:24 PM on May 12, 2010


I wonder whether people who voted for Thatcher will get their comeuppance in the next life..
posted by jb at 7:33 PM on May 12, 2010


Yeah, there's a case either way for fixed term, but this 55% thing doesn't really give you fixed terms: the last Labour govt could still have called an election at any time under that system.

If you want fixed term it has to be fixed so that any reasonable majority can't knock it down -- probably no parliamentary dissolution power at all, plus an automatic dissolution if no government can be formed some reasonable period of time after a vote of no confidence passes.

All this 55% thing does is protect both Conservatives and LibDems in this one relatively unique situation. It should be an agreement, not constitutional law.
posted by bonaldi at 7:47 PM on May 12, 2010


My understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, is that the 55% vote is for the dissolution of Parliament (ie a new election). So a 50% + 1 member vote of no confidence could result in a Labour-Liberal coalition, or a minority government, until the term runs out.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:15 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fixed term parliaments are designed to stop the party in power from going to the polls early to take advantage of some temporary boost to their popularity (a war against some South American country or an England victory in the World Cup or the like). They are not designed to keep parties in power when they have lost the support of Parliament.

Bear in mind that the UK doesn't have a constitutional court. Issues like this rely on everyone respecting convention and putting the Monarch in the awkward and anachronistic position of having to be the ultimate arbiter.

Clegg seems to be keen on the idea as part of his move to make the UK more democratic but he seems only to have been able to sell it to Cameron as a means of governing for five years without any real support.

Votes of confidence are not some magic process; they're simply a way of showing that a party (or coalition) can or cannot actually govern. If you can't win one, you have to go. Passing a law early on in a term saying that 45% is a majority is absurd. It shows a lack of understanding of, or respect for, the constitution (or both). A government that can't win a confidence motion on a simple majority can't govern because they can't get legislation through. Or are they planning on passing an Act that says 45% is enough to pass a Bill?
posted by GeckoDundee at 8:15 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brown wasn't even elected leader by his own party actually.
posted by A189Nut at 10:45 PM on May 12, 2010


You've missed the point Gecko - failing a vote of no confidence (50%+1) topples the government, not the parliament as it demonstrates they no longer represent the will of parliament - and it's up to parliament to find a new setup (presumably the grouping that toppled the first government) that does command a majority of the house.

Traditionally under british politics, toppling the government has also resulted in an immediate general election - which makes some kind of sense when you have a two party system - but is anachronistic in a multi party coalition parliament that is common everywhere but here.

So a no confidence vote will still do exactly what is says on the tin, i.e. demonstrate parliament no longer has confidence in the government, triggering a change in government (and very likely PM to boot), but does NOT automatically result in the dissolution of parliament itself, thus leaving the existing parliament to clean up it's own mess.

To call an early GE itself, given the PM will no longer have the power to call a snap election, that requires a supermajority vote, i.e. 55%. That *stops* a government with a simple majority from being able to call a snap election. It's rather pointless taking the power away from the PM, if all he needs to do is win a straight vote in the house to call one at will. It's actually a surprisingly foresighted additional constraint on government power, unlike how the current press are spinning it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:20 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And to avoid confusion for international users, by government I mean the executive, i.e. the british usage, not the US usage where government refers to the whole organisation.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:24 PM on May 12, 2010


You mean the guy who voted strongly and consistently for the Iraq war

Yes, that guy. Whatever else he is he's *not* the guy who cooked up the dodgy dossier that drove public sentiment on the vote, he's not the one who allowed the banks to fail, he's not the one who's controlled parliament for 13 years while the gap between rich and poor grew.

And yet.. to read the hating going on, you'd think it had been 13 years of Tory government and we hadn't just had a Labour government doing precisely those things. It's not just the Tory hating I don't understand but some of the implied nostalgia for the outgoing Labour government.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:24 AM on May 13, 2010


Thanks, ArkhanJG, though I actually understand the distinction. I was going by what was being reported (i.e. a new standard for confidence motions). i_am_joe's_spleen's comment clarified what the policy is likely to really mean just as I was posting. So it seems this is not a new restriction on confidence motions but rather a watered down version of a fixed term.

It means a government will have to serve out its full term unless it has 55% of the vote in Parliament in which case it can risk going early.

The blog entry i_am_joe's_spleen links to is very useful for following what's actually being proposed (assuming it's right - we haven't seen any detail yet).
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:30 AM on May 13, 2010


Joder ! There’s a lot of biting and gnashing of teeth going on. Politics is war without the bloodshed. Politics equals Power and Power currupts, so don’t put on your surprised faces when idealistic ideas get compromised.
For eighty years there has been a two party system with everyone saying the third party have some good ideas but there is never going to be enough of them to form a government. A Vote for Lib or LibDem was considered a protest vote – vote wasted etc. with a couple of constituences in the West of England and Scotland being an exception.
The voices in the background have now come to the front. Suck it up. Judge them on what they achieve or do not achieve. Thatcherism was hateful; Old Labor was / is living in the past, fixated on class warfare and NeoCon Labour turned into a bunch of chancers.
In many ways LibDems are labourlite and they should act as a significant brake on the nationalistic / fascist right of the “Nasty Party” especially in regards to Europe; and especially in trying to keep those on the bottom levels of society afloat.
posted by adamvasco at 1:37 AM on May 13, 2010


And on re-reading your post;
It's rather pointless taking the power away from the PM, if all he needs to do is win a straight vote in the house to call one at will.

That's exactly all he'll need to do. A Bill to Amend the "Super Majority Dissolution Act (2010)", will only need 50% +1 to pass, after which a PM could call an election even if every MP but him or her were against it.
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:39 AM on May 13, 2010


That's exactly all he'll need to do.

That's always an issue with Westminster style governments, which are built on Parliamentary Supremacy. Nothing can bind Parliament, even Parliament itself, so yes, if Camerclegg wanted an early election, they could do it in two steps, first, a majority to overturn the dissolution rule, then then dissolve.

However, there is that other chamber. The peers can't block things forever, but they could seriously throw a monkey wrench into this -- if the Super Majority Dissolution Act (2010) passed as law, then the bill to remove it would also have to pass as law, meaning approval by the peers and assent by the crown would be required.

Indeed, one starts to think that if the coalition goal of making the House of Lords a proportionally election body happens, than the current limits on what the Lords can do should be removed, given that they'll be just as representative as the Commons are today.
posted by eriko at 2:22 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]




Good point, eriko. In fact it looks as though the "Lords" will be a candidate for MMS style PR making it more representative than the Commons pretty early on. I haven't read the proposals for upper house reform, but yeah, all the traditional limits have their origins in the notion of the Commons as the Representative House. Interesting times indeed.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:03 AM on May 13, 2010


So a 50% + 1 member vote of no confidence could result in a Labour-Liberal coalition, or a minority government, until the term runs out.
Yes, that's the problem: if there's no mechanism to automatically dissolve in the event no government can form, then a zombie government can roll on until the end of term -- in fact, in the current situation, a Tory govt couldn't vote to dissolve without help, and the other parties couldn't unite against it to dissolve.

It's rather pointless taking the power away from the PM, if all he needs to do is win a straight vote in the house to call one at will.
Well, in this case you're arguing that the barrier is too low, because most governments of the past 30 years have been able to muster 55% -- and Labour was only one vote short in the 2005 term.

But if what you want to do is protect a fixed-term and allow for reshuffles without elections (which is a dodgy principle, but is what we've currently got), there's no need for any parliamentary power to dissolve, at 51% at 55% or at 95%. You simply fix the term, with the provision that if a government can't form a workable majority 30 days after it loses the confidence of the parliament, an election is automatic.

All the 55% amounts is badly-thought-out constitutional whimsy that's designed only to semi-protect this particular coalition in these particular circumstances. And that's bad politics, and bad policy.
posted by bonaldi at 6:22 AM on May 13, 2010


What the hell is up with how few women ministers there are in the UK? Cameron has four (none of them Liberal) and Labour wasn't much better.
posted by Kattullus at 7:11 AM on May 13, 2010


Margaret Beckett: "It's a sadness in many ways but I think it's a consequence of there not being enough women coming through and not having been given that level of experience where it makes people say 'yes they're okay'."
posted by adamvasco at 7:19 AM on May 13, 2010


The more I think about it, the more I'm really annoyed they have only one woman in cabinet and she's holding TWO positions, one of which is Minister for Women and Equality.

I can understand that this role would probably need a woman or someone from a minority background (or both!). And I understand that they probably needed to give a woman a pretty prominent role, like Home Secretary. But BOTH? Would it have killed them to have TWO women? It just really undermines the importance of the Women and Equality role.

I can't believe Nick Clegg let the Tories get away with that so that's one thing I do hold against the Lib Dems.

I'm not a UK citizen but who can I complain to? Do I have a right to complain?
posted by like_neon at 12:17 PM on May 13, 2010


Just to clarify regarding the unelected PM issue. I understand how it works, and do not want presidential elections here. However, the leader of the party is sorta who people vote for, thatch in 79, blair in 97, so in that way he was unvoted for. Also i don't like the idea of someone stepping down and someone else taking over without a vote, like some sort of dynastic sucession. This isn't the monarchy (speaking of which, where's my guillotine?)

"comparing brown to churchill? are you fucking insane? jeez. so in your estimation WW2 is the same as afghanistan and iraq?

Can we have grumblebee to thread to hand this guy his bigoted ass on a plate over the matter of comparisons, please?
posted by bonaldi at 5:53 PM on May 12 [1 favorite +] [!] "

how is this bigoted?

Just to further clarify, as i kinda posted in anger and haste...

I wrote: "this is what they have done to the ordinary working class people of britain. no banking regulation, mass immigration, 2 wars which they lied their way into"

i am not blaming immigrants coming here for a better life. who wouldn't move to a country where you could earn 4-5 times what you're earning now, with a much higher standard of living? The problem is, Labour specifically said "british jobs for british workers", while pursuing a poicy of mass immigration, which has the impacts of keeping the minimum wage down and pushing up property prices through scarcity. so the poor got poorer. screwed over by Labour.
posted by marienbad at 12:19 PM on May 13, 2010


Britain's New PM Supports Gay Refugees

He has a chance to prove it in the case of Kiana Firouz.
posted by homunculus at 5:33 PM on May 13, 2010


Does anybody know of an equivalent of the Obameter for the new government? I wouldn't mind being able to easily keep track of how the policies in that coalition agreement go.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 8:49 AM on May 14, 2010


Further to my 'this will screw the Lib Dems' thesis, a comment nicked wholesale from CiF:
Furthermore, check the opinion polls since the election.

ComRes
Con +1
Lab +4
LD -3

ICM
Con +1
Lab +3
LD -3

I have looked back to 1992. In every election the gap between winner & loser widened post-election. This time it has narrowed by 3 points.

Here is all the detail - for those of us who enjoy the numbers:

Pre and post election ICM polls 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 compared.

1992

LAB 38% then 34%
CON 38% then 45%
LIB 20% then 17%
OTH 4% then 4%

Thats an 11% widening to the winning party

1997

LAB 43% then 61%
CON 33% then 23%
LIB 18% then 12%
OTH 6% then 4%

Thats a 28% widening for the winning party.

2001

LAB 43% then 46%
CON 32% then 30%
LIB 19% then 18%
OTH 6% then 6%

Thats a 5% widening for the winning party.

2005

LAB 38% then 38%
CON 32% then 31%
LIB 22% then 23%
OTH 8% then 8%

Just a 1% widening for the winning party.

2010

LAB 28% then 33%
CON 36% then 38%
LIB 26% then 21%
OTH 10% then 8%

A 3% shrinking of the lead for the winning party.
posted by Abiezer at 6:47 AM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


British Coalition Offers Reform Plan
Defying those who said it might be paralyzed by internal divisions, Britain’s new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on Wednesday unveiled the most ambitious plan in decades for upending the highly centralized and often intrusive way the country is governed.

The plan, as laid out by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, would roll back a proliferation of “nanny state” laws, non-elected administrative bodies and surveillance systems — many of them a product of Labour’s 13 years in power — that critics say have curbed individual freedoms and enlarged state powers to a degree unrivaled by most other democratic societies.
posted by homunculus at 8:58 AM on May 20, 2010


There's another thread about Kiana Firouz, btw.
posted by homunculus at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2010






This is a consequence of devolution, and seen from one perspective, devolution has now made the United Kingdom more or less ungovernable. It is very hard to imagine how a Conservative administration in Westminster, even with the support of the Liberal Democrats, will be able to impose painful spending cuts on Scotland and expect to survive there as a political force. Alex Salmond, the SNP first minister, is already cranking up the moral outrage at the mere thought of it. The Liberal Democrats do give the new government the ballast of some Scottish MPs (11 in all), but in reality it was the Lib Dems who suffered most in Scotland at the election – it was the only major party that saw its share of the vote drop significantly. Even its traditional gripes about proportional representation don’t hold in Scotland – there they get exactly what they deserve (just under 19 per cent of the votes, just under 19 per cent of the seats). However you juggle the numbers, in Scottish terms this new Westminster government really is a coalition of losers. But in the end it was even harder to see how that other possible coalition of losers – a Labour/ Lib Dem alliance – could have forced through tax rises in England, where the Tories have a clear majority of seats and had a margin of victory over Labour in the popular vote of more than 11 per cent. Politics in the UK is now comprehensively out of sync. If the public finances were in better shape, this might not matter so much. But with horribly difficult choices to be made by whoever is in power, the pressures are bound to build.
From Is this the end of the UK? by David Runciman.

As a bonus, if you hail from a non-cricket playing nation you can have a taste of how infuriating sports metaphors can be for the non-sports literate.
posted by Kattullus at 4:04 PM on May 21, 2010


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