A world in economic crisis

Will this be the change that we really can believe in?

Posted in United Kingdom by Aussie on May 12, 2010

Embracing change: Cameron forges historic coalition – Times Online

Socialism remains the failed experiment and the moribund condition of financial position of the U.K. remains the conclusive evidence that Socialism cannot hope to change society in a positive way.

For those of us from afar who remember the Margaret Thatcher government, we know that the U.K. can meet a crisis head on and turn it around. What we also know is that turning around the crisis causes a lot of pain. Margaret Thatcher was able to bring the U.K. out of the period of stagflation by being hard-headed and little bit bloody-minded. She fought against Argentina over the Falkland Islands and had a temporary win. At this point in time, there is another war brewing over the Falkland Islands, and now we know that what is at stake is an oil reserve. Argentina wants the profits from the oil discovery.

Last week the U.K. went to the polls, and after what was a tense time, the result ended up in a hung parliament with the British Labour Party losing more than 90 seats, the Liberal-Democrats losing 5 seats, and assorted smaller parties either gaining seats or remaining the same, whilst the Conservative Party, known as the Tories, won more then 90 seats, but did not win enough seats to avoid the hung parliament and to govern in their own right. This in turn led the Liberal-Democrats under Nick Clegg to negotiate with both the Conservatives and the Labour Party regarding forming a Coalition or at least allow the party with the largest number of seats to form a minority government. Since the declaration of the polls it has been a very tense time as the negotiations proceeded. At long last there has been a resolution and the U.K. has a new Prime Minister – David Cameron. The U.K. also has its first coalition since the end of the second world war – The Conservative-Liberal-Democrats have managed to make a deal to form what they hope will be a stable government.


The new coalition government in the UK faces many challenges in the near future. They must work together to turn around the budget deficit and yet at the same time they both need to work to protect the most vulnerable in British society – the elderly and the disabled.

In the future there will be a referendum on the vexing issue of the voting system. One of the platforms of the Liberal-Democrats is the move towards proportional representation. Another platform is a four year fixed-term parliament term, which would end the idea of going to the polls early (having seen how this works in Australia – there are several Australian states that have fixed terms, I have misgivings on the issue, especially when the government turns out to be corrupt). 

Another area where both groups will work together relates to reforms within the school system. The U.K. school system has been moribund for a very long period of time. It needs a good overhaul but I doubt that this will be achieved during the life of this particular coalition.

Of the other differences between the two parties, I hope that they will be able to put their differences aside in order to contribute to having a stable government that will work towards dismantling the worst of the welfare state. I doubt that there will be an end to PC in the U.K. because PC attitudes are simply too entrenched. On the other hand, I do hope that both parties will seek to tone it down a few notches, especially in bringing to an end creeping sharia – does Nick Clegg have the stomach to end that creeping sharia? I do not know.

I hope that I will be found to be correct that this change will lead to some very positive results. It would not have been possible for a Labour-Liberal-Democrat to be formed. For starters the members of the British Labour Party have become either too corrupt or they tended to be ego-maniacs in their belief that only they can rule in Great Britain, even as they had continued to do great harm to the U.K. economy with their welfare state policies.

My hope is that what will be restored is the work ethic, rather than a welfare state mentality. This will be hard to achieve because the welfare-state mentality is so deeply entrenched. Yet, there are plenty of areas where a new government can begin to make cuts e.g. not allowing the entitlement attitude of some members of the community to continue unabated. As hard as it might be, I see no reason for some benefits to be means tested, and in fact even with something like housing, I see no reason why there should not be some form of means-testing, or at least changes that will mean an end to a certain sector will not be able to collect benefits whilst having 4 wives and lots of children.

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  1. YTZ4Me said, on May 17, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I don’t believe that there will be any meaningful reform until there is a majority Conservative government. IMO Clegg is not going to sign off on any policies that erode the welfare state or the unions. The only thing that would precipitate any meaningful change, in my view, would be a national crisis that would rally the people around shared sacrifice — much like the bombing of London during WWII did.

    Minority governments can often be quite good, if there is genuine desire to work towards the common good, but more and more, that is no longer happening. Just look at how ineffective the Harper government has been in Canada — they have had to perogue parliament three times! in order to avoid a vote of non-confidence, not based on allegations of corruption or abuse, but simply political power.

    Changing to a US style system where the Prime Minister is in power for a four years would end this type of abuse and politicking, but on the other hand … think of how things would change in the US if the Republicans were to win a majority in the Congress in 2010 and be able to vote “non-confidence” and oust Obama? So there are advantages to the parliamentary system.

    In any event, it is long overdue for both Canada and Australia to shed the remaining shackles of British colonialism and become Republics. Perhaps part of that transition will be a trending towards US type governing. It would be nice to have a Senate that is elected, not appointed. 😉

    Sorry for the O/T.

  2. ozzieaussie said, on May 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    The Prime Minister is the leader of the party in power, and the US comparison here is the role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The President, on the other hand is the equivalent of the Queen or King of England. This is why the US style would not work in England.

    I am more familiar with the situation in Australia, and the UK House of Commons is most like the House of Representatives in Australia. Over here, just like in the UK the Prime Minister is the leader of the Government of the day. We have a Governor General who is the Queen’s representative.

    I do not agree with Australia becoming a Republic, unless of course that dill Prince Charles was to become the King of England. There are certainly advantages to remaining as we are, rather than becoming a Republic in the American mold. We in fact have a lot of freedom from England right now. The other thing is that it worked to our advantage when we were saddled with the incompetent Whitlam government. The end result, when Whitlam was sacked was not the crisis that the left would have you believe. In fact a number of us cheered when he was sacked because of the damage that he was doing to the economy of Australia as he was pushing us towards a socialist state. On top of that, the voters in Australia were overwhelming in their response to that situation – Whitlam did not return to power.

    I am not so sure that I agree with your analysis about Clegg. I see him as wanting to reform the welfare state to some degree. None of the parties are willing to dismantle the NHS or even social security, but they can agree to tighten the rules so that the illegal immigrants cannot take advantage of the system.

    The same would be true in Australia. No party will dismantle our Medicare system (pity really because it sucks to some extent) but they are willing to make changes, and then along comes the ALP, back in government and those really good changes are dismantled once again. Usually this is a sign of the ALP attempting to again impose Socialism upon us.

  3. ozzieaussie said, on May 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I should point out that in Australia the Senate is elected. It is only in the UK where the upper chamber, the House of Lords is not elected.

    I do believe in having a Bicameral system of Parliament. This is why I am reasonably happy with the Australian system. We do have the power to oust those who are not performing. Senators have a 6 year term with half being elected every election. Only if there is a double dissolution would we get the opportunity to elect the whole chamber at once.

    • YTZ4Me said, on May 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for clarifying. I didn’t realize the Australian Senate is elected. The Senate is not elected in Canada, the Senators are still appointed, and it usually becomes a lifetime appointment. I am not happy with that system at all. Patronage appointments have no place in a modern society. As well, my aunt, who retained her Australian citizenship, can still vote in Australian elections. Ex-pat Canadians do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections; only Residents can. As I am not a US citizen, I can not vote in the US either, so am effectively disenfranchised.

      • ozzieaussie said, on May 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

        This is why I do think that Australia does in fact have the best system, and we do not need to follow the route to a Republic.

        I can give two really good examples of the Senate doing its role for the benefit of Australia. The first example is contentious, but not to those who voted Gough Whitlam out of power :). There was a crisis and the Senate refused supply to the Whitlam government in order to try and force an election. Whitlam was refusing to budge when he was sacked by the Governor-General. Under the circumstances of the scandal involving that Government I am glad that the Senate took that very legitimate step.

        The second example is more recent and involves the moves to stop our version of crap n tax from moving forward. In our Senate we have minor parties and at the moment the Greens have roughly 5 members plus there are at least 2 other independents. The Greens did not like the bill because according to them it did not go far enough for their ideology. We had a leadership spill in the Opposition (Tony Abbott became leader) and as a result of that spill the Opposition Senators no longer had to vote according to what the party leader (Malcolm Turnbull ex Goldman Sachs type) had wanted. Abbott gave them a free vote. The Opposition Senators combined with the Greens to defeat the bill. This should have triggered a double dissolution…. the weasel who is our Prime Minister ducked…..

        On that note I should point out that KRUDD had wanted to get the bill through before the Copenhagen conference. He failed… good.

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