Friday, 6 April 2012

Anybody Waiting In The Wings?

In May 2010, the United Kingdom general election resulted in no political party achieving sufficient support to form a working majority government on their own. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party therefore entered into a Coalition Government together with the Conservative leader David Cameron becoming Prime Minister whilst Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister. Wittily they have been renamed the Con-Dems.
Governments, as Tony Blair once said, are not in power to be popular and since May 2010 the coalition have been anything but popular as widespread demonstrations and strikes have proved.
If neither the Conservatives or the Lib-Dems had enough votes to rule on their own previously, now that they have managed to anger the majority of the country with their actions since taking power, the chances of either getting anything close to a majority this time around is unlikely to say the least.
The teachers unions have now voted to strike and as jobs in the Public Service have been slashed and those that remain have seen their pay frozen, it is unlikely the pair in Coalition will be getting many votes from that direction.
The Lib Dems lost every student vote when they reneged on their 'we won't put up student fees' promise by putting up student fees as soon as they were handed the keys to the door. And then scrapped EMA for students just to sweep away any students who may have still voted for them.
The attempted privatisation of the NHS has led to massive demonstrations and the over the top internet surveillance plans, the granny tax, the scrapping of the 50% tax rate, 3 million unemployment, cash for access, plans to privatise the police and forests and the myriad of other things the Tories have done to get peoples backs up, you can't help but think just who is going to vote for either of these two next time?
Surely all the Labour Party have to do is just sit quietly on the opposition benches and watch the calendar to the next election but all the latest opinion polls only just put Labour in front of the Tories.
Evidence if any was needed that the voters thinking is that the Conservatives are terrible, but Labour are only marginally better than them.
If ever there was a time for a new party to step in, it's now while the choice is either a Conservative rock or a Labour hard place.
Someone who promises to stamp on the firms that practise tax evasion as well as hit the bankers, stop sacking private sector workers, reinstate EMA for students and bring a halt to the horrendously wrongheaded privatisation agenda would be a shoo-in.


Nog said...

You're not being fair or reasonable. Political parties never do everything they promise to do. Many campaign season political promises can be pretty dumb anyways and we want politicians to keep forgetting them.

A lot of the unreasonable promises (i.e. raise spending and cut taxes at the same time) regularly demanded of politicians are really just methods that voters and majorities use to justify complaining about politicians doing exactly what they were actually elected to do.

The UK government also has better things to do than fiddle with pie-cutting, like undoing recent ultra-regressive changes to its legal system by re-implementing the general prohibition against double jeopardy, re-implement jury trials in all criminal cases.

"Someone who promises to stamp on the firms that practise tax evasion as well as hit the bankers, stop sacking [public] sector workers, reinstate EMA for students and bring a halt to the horrendously wrongheaded privatisation agenda would be a shoo-in."

This is what should be promised?
-Substantially increase spending
-Keep taxes about the same or raise them slightly
-Destroy the only group of people (the bankers) who will be able to help spare the UK for a little while from a catastrophic economic and political collapse when policies 1 & 2 are implemented

And may God help the UK if someone who gets elected on these promises actually does them.

Cheezy said...

@Lucy: "The Lib Dems lost every student vote when they reneged on their 'we won't put up student fees' promise by putting up student fees as soon as they were handed the keys to the door."

Logically, we can't really hold them accountable for this. We could do if we'd voted in a majority Lib-Dem government, but we didn't do that. The Lib-Dems are the junior partner in a coalition government, therefore a lot of the policies in their manifesto were always going to 'go west' when the horse-trading began.

If you're saying that they should have had the freezing of student as one of their 'non-negotiable' deal-breakers then that's fair enough; however if the Tories had been similarly intransigent in their own position then this would have triggered another election. Which most of us didn't really want, surely?

I'm not saying the Lib-Dems don't suck. They do. Just saying that the constituent parties in a coalition government can't be held to implement manifesto promises in the same way that majority governments can.

@Nog: The UK government has introduced some 'regressive' laws in recent years... perhaps the best example being some of our anti-terrorist legislation, which clearly violate habeas corpus... On the other hand, amending the law regarding double jeopardy is actually very progressive, and a realistic acknowledgement that the past couple of decades have seen amazing advances in forensic and DNA evidence. Basically, it was becoming increasingly clear that people were getting away with murder. People this.

This new provision isn't being used willy nilly. In order for a new trial to take place, the DPP has to be convinced that there is grounds for a new investigation, and then equally convinced that 'new & compelling' evidence has been found. Then the case needs to be referred to the Court of Appeal, who will decide whether all of the evidence, had it been available to the trial jury, could have altered the verdict. If this is all fulfilled, then the go-ahead can be given for a new trial.

It doesn't happen that much then. In fact, the first man to face a retrial after the new law was introduced didn't actually go to trial, as he came forward and admitted that he did it (knowing that the new forensic evidence would send him down).

When it progressed through Parliament in 2005 it was reasonably controversial, but it's not now. In fact, other common law jurisdictions (e.g. Australia) are increasingly going the same way.

Lucy said...

Thing is Nog, what the parties promise are all we have to go on and it seems too easy to let them off saying well, we didn't really expect them to keep their promises anyway.
If a party came along promising all those things, it would get in power because they are among the main reasons the Government is so unpopular. Those promises would soothe the furrowed brow of the masses who generally feel they are being hit hardest. Not saying they would be good for the country, just that it would gain a party power.

What annoyed me even more after Clegg broke his promise Cheezy was when he said he wished he had never signed the pledge so we come back to the first point i made to Nog. His party gained so much of the student vote on the strength of that pledge which enabled them to make up the Government so to go back on it, and then say he wished he had never done it was a double kick in teeth for students. I think they will be decimated in the next election which is a shame for our democracy unless another party emerges.

Cheezy said...

I'm not up on exactly what Clegg said regarding this. If he did say "I wish I'd never signed the pledge" then he's even more of an idiot than I thought. All he needed to say was that "We'd have liked to have implemented the policy but unfortunately the fact that we have a coalition partner means that we can't follow through on all of the promises in our manifesto". That would have been easy to understand, and (for many) easy to forgive too. He's daft.

So many people in this country (politicians and otherwise) just don't seem to be 'getting' coalition government yet. In particular the Lib-Dems need to realise that they can support a policy in the house, in the sense of voting for it in order to keep the government viable, but afterwards, outside the house, they can assure the public that it would be different if, next time, the public votes them in as a majority government. Fair enough that Lib-Dem Cabinet ministers can't operate in this way, but they can make sure the Lib-Dem viewpoint gets disseminated in other ways, by different people. The party's unwillingness to differentiate itself, as a political 'brand', from the Tories is assuring their destruction as a political force - maybe permanently?

Anonymous said...

"Conservatives are terrible, but Labour are only marginally better than them."

funny, i feel that way about american parties. the dems are terrible and republicans are only marginally better. both would make the founding fathers cry. everything the founders did to minimize government and here we are spending half or our working lives paying taxes to fund the government - HALF OF MY WOKRING LIFE! - and they just turn around and giver it to almost half of americans who do not work at all... this cannot be right.


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