The Con-Dem Nation


“Prime Ministers should be voted into 10 Downing Street by the people of Britain, not because their party has stitched up some deal”
David Cameron, in Essex – 24th April 2010

Yesterday, I watched David Cameron walk into Downing Street, because his party had stitched up some deal.

The reason being, the good of the markets!

MUST KEEP THE MARKETS HAPPY!

Apparently, we have to enact deep and harsh cuts to public spending, because the markets wont like it if we don’t. The markets wont like if we close tax loopholes for the rich. The markets wont like if we ever suggest helping those who need it most. The markets don’t particularly like Democracy.

It seems Labour were right. You vote Clegg, you get Cameron.
I cannot pretend I’m not massively disappointed by the Liberal Democrats getting into bed with the Conservatives. I’m disappointed for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, when it came to the election, the idea that the Liberal Democrats might enter into coalition with the Tories was a possibility of course, but very very slight. It seemed ridiculous to me that a party of the centre left, with policies far closer to Labour than the Tories, would seriously consider a partnership. They are so far apart on policies over Europe, Trident, the deficit, the environment, immigration, and electoral reform that I wonder – and actually, still wonder – how they could possibly reconcile.

And secondly, I voted Liberal Democrat, because they appeared to be the real new progressives in UK politics. I did not vote them on an anti-Tory vote. Any vote for me, would have been anti-Tory voting. I voted Lib Dem, because I agree with them on Trident, and Europe, the environment and on the need to be careful with spending cuts rather than deep and swift. I agreed with them when Clegg told us at DMU that the very wealthy people who get around paying their fair share in tax, should be made to pay what they owe. That is what I wanted to hear. To suddenly team together with the old regressives in UK politics, a group whose main concern is protecting the very wealthy, is a bit of a betrayal. However, at the same time, it is far better to have a cente-left party diluting the extravagances of the right winged party, than it is to have a Tory majority.

I do believe that any real chance of electoral reform, of a PR system of electing our Governmental officials, is now over. The Liberal Democrats will never get that chance again. They have sold that idea, for a bit of power. And it was sold for a bit of power. The Liberal Democrats chief negotiating team were; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, David Laws and Andrew Stunell. Three of the Lib Dem Cabinet positions already given, actually given just as the chief negotiating team left the negotiations were; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, and David Laws. How nice.

The details of the coalition arrangement are as follows:
Prime Minister: David Cameron – Tory
Cameron’s bitch Deputy PM: Nick Clegg – Lib Dem
Chancellor: George Osbourne – Tory
Home Secretary: Theresa May
Foreign Secretary: William Hague – Tory
Defence Secretary: Dr Liam Fox – Tory
Health Secretary: Andrew Lansley – Tory
Business and Banking: Vince Cable – Lib Dem
Justice Secretary: Kenneth Clarke (seriously!) – Tory since 1882.
Energy and Climate Change: Chris Huhne – Lib Dem
Work and Pensions Secretary: David Laws – Lib Dem
Scotland Secretary: Danny Alexander – Lib Dem

Policy compromises:
The Liberal Democrats have agreed to accommodate the Tories idea to cap non-EU immigration.
The Liberal Democrats have agreed to accommodate the Tories on swift deep £12bn cuts to public services and an emergency budget.
They have both agreed to a fixed term 5 year parliament, meaning no election until 2015.
Any transfer of powers to the EU will first have to pass a UK referendum.
The Liberal Democrats have agreed to drop their plans for a tax on mansions worth over £2m.
The Conservatives have agreed to drop their plans for a rise in the threshold for inheritance tax.
The Conservatives still plan to recognise marriage in the tax system.
The Conservatives have agreed to hold a referendum on Alternative Vote. Which, doesn’t benefit the Liberals at all. SCORE!

So, to sum up, the Liberals have backed down on Europe, Trident, Electoral reform and the Economy. So what actually have they managed to gain? The scrapping of the inheritance tax threshold? Is that it? A Liberal voice in cabinet or at the treasury, is meaningless, if their policies in the main areas they campaigned on, have been dropped in favour of Tory policies.

My main problem is the deep swift cuts that will come. I consider them totally unnecessary. They are purely to please the markets, and not to help the people of Britain. Especially the most vulnerable. I expect an emergency budget, to attack “LABOUR’S EVIL JOBS TAX!” but then, put up VAT quite horrendously.

However, I cannot fully blame the Liberal Democrats for this ever so slight betrayal of the trust of their left-leaning support. Whilst I will absolutely never vote Liberal Democrat again, I cannot help but think the Labour Party purposely spoiled talks between themselves and the Liberals for a possible Progressive coalition. If so, I have to say, quite a clever move by the Labour Party.

Before the talks had even begun officially, people like Peter Hain were saying Labour should be back into opposition for a while. There seemed no desire to create a progressive alliance.
If I were a Labour strategist, i’d say that they should take a while to reorganise, let this Tory/Liberal coalition do what they have to do (the Liberals were bound to be forced to compromise on Europe and on the economy and swift deep cuts), because this next five years is going to be pretty poisonous when it comes to how deeply cuts are going to annoy a very very large majority of the public……. and then Labour will be in a far stronger position at the next general election. The Tories will look like bastards again, a lot of people who voted Tory this time are going to regret very quickly, and a vast majority of the Liberals left leaning support, will not vote Liberal again.

I think it works to Labour’s favour for the next general election. Appoint a new leader, move to the left, oppose all these needless swift cuts, and The Tories, i’d guess, will not last longer than one term.

We now need a true party of the Left. We need to fight the bigots on the issue of immigration and not allow the Liberals, Labour and the Tories the right to set the discourse on the subject (the discourse, is simply them giving into media set opinion). We need new ways to fight the deficit rather than allowing the discourse to surround deep cuts to public services. We need real progressives, that aren’t market bitches.

Will electing a Milliband as leader of the Labour Party achieve that?
No.

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21 Responses to The Con-Dem Nation

  1. Graf says:

    Looks like all the important folios are held by the Tories!

  2. Peter Reynolds says:

    Cynic!

    Sour grapes!

    “Yesterday, I watched David Cameron walk into Downing Street, because his party had stitched up some deal.”

    NO! David Cameron was elected by a 2 million vote margin to be prime minister. Fair enough, yes, Nick Clegg is there because he stitched up a deal – but what a deal!

    “The markets wont like if we close tax loopholes for the rich. The markets wont like if we ever suggest helping those who need it most. The markets don’t particularly like Democracy.”

    NONSENSE! Absolute left-wing, Scargill-level twaddle!

    “a group whose main concern is protecting the very wealthy”

    More of the same! Who’s the bigot now?

    “Cameron’s bitch Deputy PM: Nick Clegg – Lib Dem”

    Abuse is the last refuge of scoundrels and that you’re not so grow up!

    “quite a clever move by the Labour Party.”

    No such thing. That’s an oxymoron.

    “We need to fight the bigots on the issue of immigration”

    Crass. You’re a lot smarter than Gordon Brown so why are you making the same mistake as him? What, talking about immigration is racist is it?

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/an-obama-of-change/

  3. “NO! David Cameron was elected by a 2 million vote margin to be prime minister. Fair enough, yes, Nick Clegg is there because he stitched up a deal – but what a deal!”
    – And yet, he still didn’t pull a majority. He didn’t pass the post. He couldn’t even see the post. In fact, more people voted against having Cameron as PM, by a huge margin, than otherwise.

    “NONSENSE! Absolute left-wing, Scargill-level twaddle!”
    – Markets don’t particularly care about democracy. Look at Nicaragua. They had a loved democratically elected government. The moment social reforms became a serious issue……… market liberals (Reagan) decided it wasn’t good enough, and funded a coup. Same in Iran in the 50s. Same in Chile. Same in El Salvador. The IMF uses the same principles across Africa. Look at my post on the IMF and Ghana. The Market always comes first now.
    Anyone who isn’t a fan of the free market, is not automatically a child of Scargill.

    “a group whose main concern is protecting the very wealthy. whose the bigot now”
    – So, demanding vast cuts to public services immediately, whilst at the same time offering a huge inheritance tax cut, corporation tax cuts, and no plans to close tax loopholes that the very wealthy use to bleed the system dry…….. is not protecting wealth? Stop playing innocent. We all know who the Tories are, we all know what they believe.

    ““quite a clever move by the Labour Party.”
    – Abuse is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Grow up 🙂

    “Crass. You’re a lot smarter than Gordon Brown so why are you making the same mistake as him? What, talking about immigration is racist is it?”
    – Brown made no mistake. Saying “What are you gonna do about the Eastern Europeans” is bigoted. A couple of my Polish friends were fucking raged by what she said. Why pick on Eastern Europeans? Why group people together? Are they not individuals? Would I not be considered bigoted for saying “What are you gonna do about all those blacks?”
    And no, asking about immigration does not make you a bigot. It has a stigma attached because most people just simply want tougher rules for entering the Country. They have no plan to actually combat the root cause of mass migration; poverty and global inequality. We have a “brick up the country, and fuck everyone who wants to come in, but I still want to buy my clothes cheap, so keep exploiting!” attitude. Until we address the very human issue of inequality, addressing the abstract notion of immigration is futile. Sticking to the principles of an out dated Colonial-esque vision of nation states, and being entirely separate from the fucking outrageous injustices the wealthy nations commit across the World, whilst at the same time playing the victim whenever those who have been the product of the injustice and inequality want to come here, is short sighted, and idiotic…. not bigoted.

  4. “Prime Ministers should be voted into 10 Downing Street by the people of Britain, not because their party has stitched up some deal”
    David Cameron, in Essex – 24th April 2010

    The idea that we elect a Prime Minister is a fiction (aided by X factor style debates). We elect MPs (however imperfectly) and the Prime Minister is in effect indirectly elected by them because he or she has to command a majority in the House of Commons. When one party has a majority we get the pre-stitched up choice of that party; when no party has the majority the stitch up has to be done after the event.

    So this boils down to: Do we want:
    1) a parliamentary system, where we elected representatives and they in effect elect the government – if so how do we want to see the method of electing that parliament improved, or
    2) a genuine presidential system, where our ballot paper says Brown, Cameron, Clegg (Foggy, Compo and Cleggy) and we elect a “presiding minister” directly (who then appoints the executive) with a separate election for the legislature?

    The latter could lead to a minority “presiding minister” with absolute power, or under AV, “presiding ministers” who will always be from the left or from the right. See-Saw politics with a conspiracy of acceptance between left and right because each knows they will get their inevitable turn. That pushes me back towards favouring a parliamentary system, hopefully elected under a system that means my vote counts and I can choose to support (or not support) an individual rather than a party list*. Then we need to be more adult in our election campaigning and get away from the cult of presentation and personality (over principle and policy) caused by X-factor style debates.

    In a democracy, we must tolerate a range of views; the corollary of that is that we have to accept that governments which do not get a clear majority have to “compromise” (possibly a more appropriate term than “stitch up”).

    I like the punning title, but I think you may have missed a nascent political development. This is actually a Liberal-Christian Democrat Coalition where the Social Democrats in the Liberal-Democrat party have been rail-roaded by the Whiggish Liberals, and the Tories in the Conservative Party have been rail-roaded by the Christian Democrats. They may all cling together to make it work, but under a reformed voting system (such as STV*), the parties could split into their constituent parts (ditto Labour between Socialists & Democratic Socialists). Then we the electorate could express more precisely the flavour of representative that we want, which could lead to more comfortable coalitions.

    So take your pick

    * Tebbitt Tories
    * Cameron Conservatives
    * Laws Liberals
    * Shirley Williams Social Democrats
    * David Miliband Democratic Socialists
    * Scargill Socialists

  5. Black Flag says:

    now need a true party of the Left

    Futile, you need to find no party, Left, Right, Middle, Up, Down, In or Out.

    The moment the People give up believing solutions are best delivered by beating their neighbors, then only will they become relieved of the tyranny they so seem to love.

  6. Black Flag, if we must endure a system based on market principles, then I want a party of progressives to provide limitations on the excesses of market privilege.

  7. Black Flag says:

    Futile,

    Why do you want to “limit” a free man’s voluntary action?

    What “God-knowledge” exists for you to tap into to know which voluntary action between two parties should be stopped?

  8. Peter Reynolds says:

    You are a charming combination of cynic, ingenue and conspiracy theorist.

    Quibble all you want. David Cameron won the election.

    Markets are akin to human nature. They can’t be denied. They must be regulated.

    Fairness is a central tenet of the coalition and of the Tory ideas that I subscribe to. Whining about successful people adjusting their affairs to best advantage is trying to defy human nature again. The answer is radical simplification of the tax system and the ludicrously complex welfare state.

    Like most people I am outraged at the way that parts of our country and our culture have been swamped by immigration. Your naive approach to immigration is completely unrealistic! “Why pick on Eastern Europeans?” Because hundreds of thousands of them suddenly arrived in our country and people are entitled to be concerned! Once again you’re trying to fight against human nature.

    Immigration is a very practical and real problem that has been avoided because of the curse of politically correct thinking like yours. The “abstract notion” is “poverty and global inequality”. Yeah man, I have hippy ideals too but get real, charity begins at home. Pay the British people that respect and they’ll be more generous and effective at tackling global inequality than any high minded, lala, socialist diktat.

    I love you too.

  9. Black Flag says:

    Peter,

    Explain why the voluntary choices of free people need to be regulated/

  10. Peter Reynolds says:

    To reign in the darker side of human nature, e.g.
    you can’t let bankers fiddle the books to pay themselves huge bonuses

  11. Black Flag says:

    Peter,

    What is the darker side exists between VOLUNTARY trade?

    If a man ‘fiddles’ with his books, why do you insist that you must buy his product?

  12. Peter Reynolds says:

    …you can’t let children buy alcohol, you can’t allow petrol to be sold out of huge open tanks where you take out what you want with a big jug, you can’t allow animals to be transported over national boundaries without health checks, you can’t allow the purchase of powerful drugs without some sort of regulation, you can’t allow a market in shares without some rules and regulation…

    Need I go on?

  13. Black Flag says:

    Peter,

    …children…

    Who are you to determine what my children may or may not do? They are not your children.

    …fuel…

    If I want to take the risk, what right do you have to interfere – and threaten my life to prevent …. my life being threatened?!?!

    If you don’t want to petrol in a jug, you don’t buy. But leave me alone.

    …animals…

    They are my animals, not yours. If by my action, I cause harm, then you have rightful action – but who are you to determine what is or is not ‘ok’ to transfer? What is your doctrine?

    …drugs…

    Why not? Its my body, not yours.

    ..market..

    If you do not want to buy what I sell, then go away in peace. You have no right to determine what others can buy or sell – you are neither the buyer or the seller!!

    Peter, if you believe you have a right to interfere with my non-violent actions by force, then you grant me the right to interfere with your actions by force.

    I suggest you should be very careful in granting that right.

  14. Peter Reynolds says:

    I admire your adherence to your principle. I thought I was pretty free market, individualist, small state, etc. but I’m looking to my right and you’re almost out of sight!

    I’ll come as far in your direction as I can but you can’t avoid a minimum of rules and regulation for reasons of: public safety, protection of the vulnerable, mutual understanding, education and information. Set me free but please show me the way!

  15. Black Flag says:

    Peter,

    It is more a multi-dimensional rainbow between “Statism” (belief that government can solve problems) and anti-Statism (belief that government causes human suffering).

    “Rules” – non-violent social enforcement of certain behaviors. Check.

    “Regulation, ie: Law” – violent enforcement of social edicts. Depends on what edict you wish to enforce by violence.

    It is a human right to use violence to resist an initiation of violence – the use of self-defense.

    No man has the right to use violence on non-violent men. Therefore, neither does any organization or abstraction created by men carry such a right.

    The Rightful use of violence is to protect from, mitigate and restitution the from the act of violence.

    Law=violence.

    Thus, it is Rightful to use Law to prohibit, mitigation, protect and provide restitution from violence. Check.

    It is Not Rightful to use Law to enforce edicts on non-violent men. No Check here.

    Using violence to force ‘understanding’. Nope.
    Using violence to force ‘education’. Nope.
    Using violence to force some vague ‘public safety’. Nope.
    Using violence to protect the innocent from violence. Check.

    …etc.

    So, doctrine:
    Clear and
    Present
    Danger.

    If you can demonstrate:

    Clear (not vague, presumed, or merely possible),

    Present (not tomorrow, not yesterday, not across a sea or somewhere else)

    Danger (not dislike, disgusting, or immoral)

    – then, as a free man you do not have to be stupid and wait for the knife to thrust into your heart before you shoot your attacker.

  16. Peter Reynolds says:

    My eldest son graduated in PPE from UEA last year. You remind me of the peeps I took at his philosophy papers. Sometimes I’m so glad I missed out on that part of formal education!

    Nevertheless, I think there are improbable leaps in your logic. Regulations are in some ways softer than rules in that they guide and channel rather than proscribe. The vast majority of rules, regulations and, yes, even laws require only “non-violent social enforcement”. The only laws that can justify violent enforcement are those against violence itself. Rules, regulations and laws that are enforced through voluntary co-operation or “non-violent social enforcement” are the very fabric of society.

    Surely?

  17. Black Flag says:

    Peter,

    …Nevertheless, I think there are improbable leaps in your logic…..

    It starts quite simply.

    “Do you have the right to use violence on non-violent men?”

    Why or why not?

    Ideas are powerful.

    All ideas come from an expression of principle.

    If a man perverts his principles to gain only a temporary advantage, what good comes of it?

    …Regulations are in some ways softer than rules in that they guide and channel rather than proscribe….

    Non-violent society enforcement can carry incredibly profound consequences.

    However, all (no exception) of regulation carries the promise of violence to enforce it. Whether violence is actually used, or if the mere threat is sufficient (shrug).

    You’re jaywalking ticket will be enforced up to and including your death, if necessary.

    All law -no exceptions- contain the promise of violence. That is what makes it a ‘law’ and not ‘a suggestion’.

  18. I’ve got $5 on Black Flag being a hige fan of Ayn Rand.

    🙂

  19. Black Flag says:

    Insenstive,

    Huge? Hmmm… how about “just a fan”.

  20. Graf says:

    I was close! 🙂

  21. Peter Reynolds says:

    I spoke to my son who started to panic when he realised the lowlifes his father is hanging around with. “He must be pure philosophy”, he said. “I’ve never met one who wasn’t in terminal depression. Ayn Rand? She’s a complete nutter”

    Let me out. Let me out of here! Arrggh! Help!

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