UK Elections: ‘Brexit’ or Ex-Brits?
The near century long era of Conservative-Labour British government duopoly ceased in 2010 when a weak Conservative Party formed a coalition to finally end the fiscally reckless Blair/Brown era.
After one term as junior coalition partners, Liberal Democrat support is collapsing. Their voters cannot accept that government reality trumps their sandal wearing grass roots’ economic incoherence. However the duopoly has been further blown apart as the previously fringe Scottish National Party (SNP), UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Greens who polled just 6% between them at the last election may each poll significantly higher. (The “first past the post” constituency electoral system means a large party can win with as little as 35% of the vote).
While the Conservatives and Labour are level pegging in opinion polls, Labour is favored by smaller constituency sizes in (left-leaning) cities and profoundly Socialist Scotland, leaving the Tories needing more votes to get even the same number of seats.
Prime Minister David Cameron, having “chillaxed” his way through five years in 10 Downing Street (failing to deliver boundary reform en route) is making heavy weather of what ought to be a simple message: only he has any policy coherence to continue rebuilding an economy ravaged by the previous administration. Cameron has not truly tamed the spendthrift government machine, but the UK economy appears healthy - certainly compared to the eurozone basket cases. A relatively flexible economy continues to deliver benefits e.g. 5.5 percent unemployment (slightly below even the USA). However, debt remains a ticking time bomb: 80 percent higher than when Labour left office. The blob remains out of control, contrary to the core falsehood beloved of socialist media led by the BBC behemoth. “Austerity” is a myth: The British government will spend at least £50 billion ($75 billion) more this year then when Labour left office in 2010.
The politics of Labour leader Ed Miliband are strongly influenced by his Marxist Father and union paymasters. Having been exposed possessing two kitchens in his multi-million dollar London home, Miliband's leftist position says it all about Britain’s hypocritical political classes who, from positions of gilded inheritance, seek to deny workers upwards mobility by espousing an anti-wealth agenda.
However Miliband does not hold a monopoly on economic incoherence - it is tragically commonplace in the vote to become chief amongst Britain’s current generation of political pygmies. True, the Conservatives are the least worst - they ‘merely’ take unwarranted credit for taming the debt monster. Other opposition parties preach variations of unsustainable economics which have driven various independent think tanks to despair of key party manifestos. The Greens deserve special mention for a lunatic fringe invitation to abandon modern technology and endorse an anarchic pre-industrialized feudalism when the Union of England and Scotland was in its infancy.
Then again this may yet be a final United Kingdom general election. From London the Tories foolishly claim they can renegotiate EU governance followed by a referendum on membership, while the SNP is marching towards Scottish dominance. This is an election where south of the border they are considering ‘Brexit’ while to the north they want to be ex-Brits.
Interestingly only two post war Labour governments have won a majority of English votes (Attlee 1945, Blair 1997 & 2001). Meanwhile SNP’s strong grassroots campaign allied with posturing madness in the Venezuelan mode (i.e. bereft of economic reality) appears likely to carry the SNP to a near whitewash in Scotland. Regardless of policy, the notion of a narrow fringe regional party representing no more than 5.3 million Scots effectively calling the government shots for 58 million other citizens is dangerous territory for democracy - particularly as constituency size bias may mean Labour governing the UK without achieving a majority of votes in England either.
Perhaps charismatic SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants to be the tail wagging a Labour coalition dog precisely because it will sufficiently inflame England to encourage them to sue for divorce. Labour governing with the SNP will again demonstrate the naked political ambition of Ed Miliband, even if it means sacrificing his Scottish party and weakening Britain’s defense by abandoning the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Whoever wins on May 7 (probably not outright, a coalition seems most likely), Britain’s influence is at risk. Less military spending and foreign influence will follow, particularly as Labour, amongst other parties, have explicitly anti-enterprise policies which will threaten wealth creation for all.
The UK is at a watershed, stay close to Europe and risk ongoing decline, or cut loose (perhaps even divorce the troublesome Scots) and find a new light touch approach to government which can ensure renewed prosperity. Sadly none of the parties coherently propose any clear future vision for growth. In 2015, it’s a question of ‘GOV.UK: charismatic leader required, economic coherence would be an added benefit...’
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.