UK Coalition a 'New Kind of Politics' - But Not For Scotland

May 12, 2010United Kingdomby EW News Desk Team

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The Conservatives and Liberals have formed a coalition they call a 'new kind of politics' - but not new enough to represent all of the United Kingdom.

 

Great Britain has been transfixed by an election last Thursday that resulted in no clear winner.

The Conservatives and Liberals have formed a coalition they call a 'new kind of politics' - but not new enough to represent all of the United Kingdom.

 

Great Britain has been transfixed by an election last Thursday that resulted in no clear winner.

For days the horse-trading raged while exhausted TV pundits camped out at Westminister, getting into fights with politicians and insulting activists.

In the end Gordon Brown, panned as he was by the British media, handled himself with great dignity in the way he bowed out, although there was still a funny side.

And so here it is, a coalition government in the UK. Although the norm across Europe, those self-same exhausted pundits can tell you (and often did) that this is the first hung parliament since 1974, the first coalition since Churchill formed one in World War II, and the first peacetime coalition for almost a hundred years.

Not only that, but it is the one that would have been least expected a year ago, namely one between the right wing Conservatives, or Tories, and the center left Liberal Democrats. The two parties leaders have called it a 'new kind of politics' and a historic and seismic moment.

David Cameron, the Tory leader, has been installed as Prime Minister, and the Lib's Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister. Appearing relaxed together - and as two former public [i.e. private] school boys of the same age, why shouldn't they be - they described this as a formal five year coalition that would be stable.

They have already drawn up an outline of their policies that include policies from both manifestos and some compromises, which they say are based on some fundamental principles; fixing the spiralling public debt, with indications that as much as 6 Billion pounds of cuts in public spending may be on the way; reforming the political system after the expenses scandals; and other key areas such as education, greening the economy and tax reform. Significantly, there are pledges to investigate breaking up the TBTF banks, limit bonuses and impose levies.

There is a 'love in' mood between the press and the new coalition at the moment, and there is certainly a lot of relief. Be warned, however, that the British press tends to build up its idols for the greater pleasure of knocking them down later - just look at what happened to Blair and then Brown.

Perhaps most significant for the keen observer is the way that the British nations are increasingly going separate ways in their political views.

While England swung strongly to the Conservatives, who got 37% of the national vote, Scotland actually swung away from them. Labour actually increased their share, while the Tories dropped to a mere 15% and one seat. Labour also won a majority in Wales. The Scots still shudder at the memory of Margaret Thatcher in power, and have accused the Liberals of doing a deal with the devil that they think will come back to haunt them.

So while the Lib-Con coalition does bring a majority of both votes and seats, and a refreshing plurality of views, what it cannot do is truly claim to represent the United Kingdom.

 

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