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May 12, 2010



I'm guessing someone is already working up the angle to take in the wake of the any future terrorist action.

Igor Belanov

They'll oppose the cuts, and that's hardly opposing from the right is it?

I think they might lose some authoritarian tendencies while out of government and the LibCons will gain some under the influence of the police, home office and some hard-right Tories. ID cards were always likely to go under the Tories due to expense, and there was a clear case that they were unworkable as well. Plus, don't forget that the Tories had billboards attacking Gordon Brown for letting 80'000 criminals out early. They're hardly the political wing of the Howard League, even allied with the Libs.

Chris Williams

Strike me down, but I've just read the coaliiton agreement and while I disagree with some of it (jobs, workfare, massive cuts, likely shape of Browne report) there are swathes where I was nodding along. Nukes, Heathrow, and the comprehensive committment to a great repeal, Glass-Stegal, no new coal without (pixieland) CCS, forex.

Yeah, there are all sorts of things that aren't in it: they may well be about to drop the good one (elected police commissioners) and add in all sorts of Goveian shite, but most of this wouldn't have looked out of place in the Labour manifesto. Now I feel dirty.


"They'll oppose the cuts, and that's hardly opposing from the right is it?"

I did say "where they can". I mean, I hope that Labour will evolve towards being a left libertarian party, but it surely isn't that right now, and all its instincts and practices are to close down any possible critique from the right by adopting those positions itself. The party's current ideology (for want of a better word) reminds me of Peronism more than anything else.

Igor Belanov

Throughout the Blair/Brown era New Labout was effectively a managerialist party and now they've got nothing to manage. Thus I think there will be some change in ideology, though whether this comes in a leftward switch on economic or liberal issues I'm not sure. I think you're right in saying that they'll want to look tough on crime/terrorism/surveillance, but then I think you're getting too excited about this coalition position since I think it's mainly to temporarily appease the LibDems.


They weren't Peronist. Maybe some superficial differences. I think Clinton is probably the place to look. Certainly Blair was a more successful heir to that than Obama. Actually come to think of it:
Clinton -> Blair
Brown -> Obama. Other than the theatrical speeches, it kinda works. Though I think I'd probably prefer Brown in person.

Chris: why elected police commissioners? I've never noticed that it works particularly well in the US. Though having heard my fellow citizens discuss the election over the last couple of days I think I may be ready to give up on democracy entirely...


superificial similarities not differences as above.


Not that they were particularly good, but the Tories were actually somewhat better than New Labour on civil liberties even before their alliance, so I don't think this is just temporary appeasement of the Libs - their participation adds strength to the Tories' libertarian wing.

And that commitment they made to put 20 Libs in the government in some position or other means that they've got their majority on the payroll vote alone.

Also, check out the agreement: overall it looks like a very solid centre right manifesto and I suspect a party that campaigned on that from the outset could have got a majority on its own. That and the five year parliament stuff makes it look like the throat slitting will be delayed, or at least that this is the intention.

Chris Williams

Cian: because it moves a crucial area of practical government out of the hands of 'the Crown' and into those of the electorate. Sure, there are huge limits, but it's an important symbolic difference.


Yeah I get the theoretical reasons for doing it. Its just that the only place I know of where they do this in practice is the US. Maybe you disagree (you'd presumably know more about it than me) and the results seem worse to me. I think it would increase the ability of the Tabloids to manipulate law and order, and political pressure to lock somebody up. Am I wrong?


Elected judges seem to be more of a factor in this in the US than elected police commissioners, Cian.


There's a lot of good stuff in that. Certainly better than anything Labour proposed recently. And its very clever politics, if Cameron can pull it off. Definitely a modernization of the Tories, and it will mess with a centre-right Labour leader's head.

Trouble is. You still have Osbourne, most of the funding came from hedge-funds, etc and the Tory right are still there. And there's no real plan for moving to a post-financial future.


I think part of the Cameron Tory leadership's enthusiasm for the coalition stems from the fact that the Lib Dems now essentially form a counterweight to the right-wing of the Tories. Imagine what "fun" Cameron would have had if he'd tried to lead a minority government or even a flimsy majority. After all there's the relatively recent example of Major and the Euro rebels to avoid.


It's almost as if the Lib dems were called in as an outside consultancy with a brief to build a viable Tory government. Scratch the 'almost'

Chris Williams

It there's a bomb in it, it's Europe: there's a level of detail in the Europe bits which is likely to provide some blue lines for the Libdems.


"I've just read the coaliiton agreement"

Yes, all very good'n'that but there are a few big holes where policy areas were completely left out, such as crime, the future of the HRA, Afghanistan and transport. Is there much on health, for that matter? It's mostly theoretical stuff, if you look at it, it only seems good because it's only going into the bits where the parties might disagree fundamentally.


There do seem to be some areas not yet gone into. Cameron and Clegg said as much this afternoon at their press conference: "we haven't fully explored each other's orifices" was the way they put it.


On policy, they can paper over disagreements by agreeing to do nothing, pleading lack of money. At any rate it's always an option. I think the lack of mention of the HRA means that they won't bother trying to repeal it, for instance. This does look like it's meant to last for a while, so meantime why create trouble?

maybe the first crisis point will come when it's time to reshuffle cabinet memberships. Does a Tory PM get to sack a Lib Dem minister? Does he have to accept a Lib Dem replacement? and so on.

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