Monday, May 14, 2012

Is This the Beginning of the End of the Conservative Coalition In Britain?

A Government Saved by the Ineptness of the Opposition

In 2010 British voters elected a Conservative/Liberal Democrat party coalition to run the government, the first coalition government in Britain since the 1930’s.  It has not gone well.  First of all, the policy goal of the new government was to decrease the deficit, never mind the other economic and social problems in Britain.  So taxes were raised and more importantly, there were massive cuts in government spending and government employment.  The result, exactly what Econ 101 would have predicted.  The economy went back into recession.

The involvement in the Coalition has been a disaster for the junior partner Lib Dem party.  They essentially abandoned their core principles in return for getting party leaders into leadership positions in the government.  Voters don’t like that.  Support for the Lib Dem party has plummeted and election losses since 2010 have been substantial.  The party has literally committed electoral suicide and may not even be a factor in the next general election.

The Conservatives have been exposed as a bunch of sleazy politicians (ok, what other kind of politician is there) by the fact that they have had a totally inappropriate relationship with the News Corp. and its Chairman, Rupert Murdoch.  (News Corp. owns Fox News in this country, so no further description of their principles is needed.)  News Corp. had wanted to buy controlling interest in a highly profitable British satellite TV company, BSkyB and needed the government’s permission to do so. 

Despite denials to the contrary, it has now come out that the Conservative leaders had totally inappropriate and secret meetings and relationships with the News Corp. executives.  All of this is made even more disgusting by the fact that the newspapers controlled by the News Corp. in Britain switched their support from Labour to Conservative for the last election (wink, wink, nod, nod) and went on to claim credit for the Conservative victory.

Equally disastrous has been the government’s policy towards Britain National Health Service (NHS) which provides quality care for every resident.  The Coalition promised to preserve and strengthen the NHS.  Here is what happened when the Health Secretary addressed a conference of nurses and told them there was more clinical staff,

Nurses heckled and laughed at Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today after he claimed clinical staffing levels in the NHS had increased.

and told them that if there were any problems it was the responsibility of of the nurses to speak out. An official at the Royal College of Nursing explained it this way.

The claims were dismissed as "nonsense" by RCN general secretary Peter Carter.

Speaking to journalists, he said: "All this nonsense that there is more clinical staff now than there were a few years ago is simply not true."

And Mr Lansley was laughed at for saying nurses should take more responsibility because in the past whistleblowers have been ignored or persuaded not to speak out, according to Dr Carter.

The economy thing does not look good.  Europe is in the process of realizing the effects of an incredibly bad set of policy decisions towards Greece and other countries.  If the Greek issue is not settled and settled soon, Europe could well descend into a chaotic depression.  And Britain is highly dependent on European economic health, as the leader of the Lib Dem party had to explain to those in England who were watching Europe’s problems with glee.

Speaking in London the Deputy Prime Minister declared: "We as a country depend massively on the prosperity of the eurozone for our own prosperity, which is why I can never understand people who engage in schadenfreude - handwringing satisfaction that things are going wrong in the euro."
The point here is that when a government starts to suffer electoral losses and when a government starts to become a laughingstock, the end may be near.  In Britain’s case new elections are not due for several years, and more importantly, the major opposition party Labour has not shown itself to be worthy of governing.  Its leader, Ed Miliband is just not regarded as Prime Minister material.

But history has a way of not waiting, and as more unsavory details come out about the Conservatives and their relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his minions at News Corp, and as Britain’s economy sinks further because of its own policy and its dependence on Europe it is hard to see how Conservatives can survive to the next scheduled general election.  Yes, they are ok for this year, next year, well . . . 

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