Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Wheels within wheels

As a dyed-in-the wool socialist, I'm dismayed by the new Tory government and even more dismayed that the Lib Dems have jumped into bed with them.

The last Tory government, dominated by Margaret Thatcher, led to massive unemployment, the rapid decline of manufacturing industry, the fettering of trade unions, a worsening of working conditions, a growing split between rich and poor, and crumbling public services.

Unfortunately the Labour government, which came to power pledging to reverse all those trends, ended up continuing them and in some cases accelerating them. They also brought social mobility to a halt. This is the main reason why Labour did so badly in the election, despite widespread distrust of the Tories.

But the Lib Dems' gung-ho love-in with the supposedly new-look Conservatives and supposedly egalitarian David Cameron is really extraordinary. This is the party that painted itself as well to the left of Labour and wanting a clean break from the two "old parties" stuck in out-of-date thinking. And now here they are hand-in-hand strolling to the altar as if this is a marriage made in heaven and a new age of enlightenment is upon us.

Are they more perceptive than we realise, or are they hopelessly naive about the cosmetically-enhanced Tories who've just been hiding all their elitist diehards while they pile up the votes? I suspect the latter, and I also suspect the Lib Dems will get a nasty shock when the Tories start stealthily reverting to their old attitudes, kicking the Lib Dems out of the way, and ignoring the poor and vulnerable just as they were doing 13 years ago.

This is an excellent analysis of the prospects for the coalition

18 comments:

Baino said...

Ah the joys of tabloid journalism. Same here, the trivial is exploded into the important and the real story remains hidden unless you watch one of two of our public channels. Our Liberal Government never rules. They're always in a coalition arrangement so I'm really not sure what all the fuss is about. They get cinnamon croissants? Hmm, bit peckish now.

Nick said...

Baino - Things are moving faster now, it looks like the coalition will be formally agreed very soon. Certainly the negotiations seem to have proceeded without much fuss. But everyone will be wondering if the coalition can hold together.

Nick said...

NB: Baino's comment was on my earlier version of the post, complaining about the endless media waffle on what might or might not happen, who might agree to what etc etc. Thank God we're now moving forward.

Rummuser said...

Welcome to the real world of politicians. It has been famously said by a politician, that politics is the art of the possible. That it can also be unprincipled is never stated but accepted by politicians the world over. Anything for political expediency. Coalition governments are the norm in India and what has happened in the UK does not surprise any of the interested observers here. The electorate makes the bed and it has to sleep on it. The real life price of democracy.

Leah said...

Nick, I am so clueless about your politics and really appreciated this briefing--very interesting and not a little disturbing! But anyway, thanks!

Leah said...

By "your" politics I meant, of course, the UK!

Nick said...

Ramana - What really bugs people is all the politicians pretending to be principled when we all know that most of the time they're not. If only they would just admit that they compromise and back-track constantly.

The electorate didn't make the bed though. They voted for specific parties and then hey presto the parties were all in cahoots with each other.

Nick said...

Leah - You're welcome! I've also learnt a lot about US politics from you, especially why some people were so vociferously against Obama's healthcare reforms.

Grannymar said...

Nick, are you taking bets for how long the smiles will last?

Nick said...

Grannymar - Good idea. And how about bets on when the coalition will collapse and there'll be another election?

Macy said...

Still at the irrational "if I take no notice they'll go away stage"
A cabinet with Gove AND Osborne in is just too horrible to think about

Nick said...

Macy - Unfortunately they're all too present and about to sting us with an emergency budget....

Wisewebwoman said...

Well Nick, as civilisation collapses it will truly be interesting to see who's left in the wheelhouse. Or should I pluralize that?
The corporate->lobbyists will have scattered having sucked out that last bits of everything so the pols will be on their own.
H'm.
And I'm quite optimistic actually.
If all us underlings behave ourselves and don't rampage, we should be alright.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - The trouble is, the more we behave ourselves the more confident the government is about pushing through huge public spending cuts and assuming we'll put up with the consequences.

Wisewebwoman said...

Ah Nick
The days of Big Guv are dead, my good man.
It is community living getting bigger and bigger.
I see it rebirthing in Ireland and Newfoundland and undoubtedly in other places of which I'm unaware.
XO

Nick said...

www - Are you saying you're not subject to any government cutbacks or taxes in Newfoundland? Hard to escape the clutches of government, surely?

Liz said...

I was always fond of Michael Foot ...

I can't see this coalition lasting but if it does I hope that the edges will be rubbed off the extreme views. It could prove to be a good thing. Maybe.

Nick said...

Liz - I certainly hope the more extreme policies will be softened (or scrapped) but the hardline Tories are a forceful lot and they won't always take no for an answer. I can't see the coalition lasting more than six months myself.