Tuesday, May 11, 2010

whoever gets in, the tories get in

It's not just a hung parliament, but an incredibly precariously hung parliament - I'm fighting the temptation to say 'well hung parliament' as nobody needs to graphically imagine Cameron and Clegg gleefully swordfighting with their cocks - and no simple deal except a Tory-LibDem coalition can win a majority.

Any party in government will still be a long way from where we could and should be. There will still be racist immigration policy, no serious climate policy, and an over-riding commitment to accelerating the great engine of our destruction, economic growth. This is before we consider the inherent problem of the nation state that, like any centralised authority, seeks to defend its own power at whatever cost before it would even consider acting in anyone else's interest.

So, in wider terms, in what we can imagine and what we're capable of and what we actually need to do to ensure a long-term just society, there is barely enough room to put a cigarette paper between the parties. But, as Johann Hari says, that cigarette paper is big enough to make a pretty fat roll-up. Certainly, the Conservatives are demonstrably further away from a fair world and would put more obstacles in the path that goes towards it.

Nobody can pretend having the Tories in power would be no different to the others. Their commitment to the rich far exceeds Labour's, and the policies Labour instituted to give a trickle of wealth from rich to poor would be reversed.

Choosing the lesser of two evils isn't a bad thing. The cliche makes it sound bad, but it's a good thing. You get less evil.
- Noam Chomsky

But still, I am scared that a Labour-Liberal coalition would actually give us the most rampant Conservative government. Alistair Darling admitted pre-election that the cuts we'll see in the coming years will be worse than anything Thatcher ever did.

So whoever's in power next will have to slash public services, raise unemployment, and generally make themselves deeply unpopular. Because a Labour-LibDem coalition needs other parties to make up a majority, they will have to make serious concessions to non-English nationalists. Top of their list will be lighter cuts for their particular nation.

The Tories will be shouting from the sidelines that they wouldn't do anything so bad, and that this is what we get for having a Frankenstein coalition government. This tension - amongst others - pulls the coalition apart, we have another general election in a few months time, the Tories get in with an actual majority and we have five years of full-throttle Tory rule.

Whereas if the Tories get in now with the LibDems, they take all the flak for the cuts, Labour regroup and get a shiny new leader, people somehow think this is not the same people that cleared the path for the neoliberal excesses that caused the recession, nor the people who waged the Iraq war, and when the Tory-LibDem coalition comes apart then there's a general election and the Tories are booted out.

It's kind of like a social vaccination, a little dose to make us generate the antibodies, a booster as we've not had Tories for 13 years and our immunity has diminished.

Cameron goes out on his arse, and (just like the BNP appear poised to do) the grassroots of the party say this experiment with a moderate leader and slick PR front was a failure and they fly their vicious true colours again, alienating themselves from the great mass of people. It'll be like they'd just carried on with Iain Duncan-Smith as leader. The fact that you can't really remember him proves my point.

Then again, all this banks on the Tory-LibDem coalition collapsing fairly quickly, even though it has a bite-size majority that could lurch on for quite some time. It also has the Tories steering the first, most savage cuts that set the direction and momentum for future ones.

It also presumes that Labour, or at least Labour-LibDem, would win a snap election. The Tories might win it instead. They might even do so having called it before we've had chance to have that promised referendum on a new voting system.

So, whoever the LibDems get into bed with, we still have the shadow of Tory rule over us for a long time to come.


Anonymous said...

Haven't forgotten IDS, but am DELIGHTED to see Brown go.

The heads of the same statue change again...

Dunc said...

Then again, all this banks on the Tory-LibDem coalition collapsing fairly quickly

Which is the very thing that they're going to move first to prevent, with a 5-year fixed term Parliament and moving the goalposts on a confidence vote so that the Tories would win one on their own with their current minority.

merrick said...

Dunc, they're committed to it being 55% of MPs for the confidence vote, so I think i'm right in saying the tories fall a sliver short at the mo.

Dunc said...

It's 55%, so that's 357.5 votes needed to bring down the government. The Tories have 306 seats out of 650, so there are only 344 "not Tories". However you round it, you would need at least 13 Tories to vote against their own government to force an election.

I'm curious as to how they came up with the 55% number... I mean, fair enough, you could probably make a reasonable argument that it should require a super-majority to bring down the government (not one that I'd agree with, but anyway...) but why that specific number? Could it be because it's close enough to 50% to not sound entirely unreasonable, but just far enough for the Tories to survive every other member voting against them, with some allowance for unavoidable non-attendances?

merrick said...

Dunc, I think you're right, I can't see any other reason for the 55% thing.

Additionally, I think the power of recall was an amazing proposition that they're going to dodge out of.

They're saying that if 10% of voters in a constituency ask for it, the MP is recalled and it forces a by-election. Imagine if we'd had that in the build-up to the Iraq war.

However, the Con-Dems are saying it's 10% and the MP has been involved in serious wrongdoing. clearly, they want to aim it at summat like a dodgy expenses claim, so ahve to have a lower threshold than 'convicted of a crime'. But conversely they don't want us to have the power if we disagree strongly over stuff like the war or the poll tax.

It'll be interesting to see precisely how they frame it, but I'm betting that 'serious wrongdoing' is their shield.

Dunc said...

It'll be interesting to see precisely how they frame it, but I'm betting that 'serious wrongdoing' is their shield.

Yeah, that would figure. Not that I'd be in the least surprised if the entire idea is quietly dropped as soon as possible... In fact, I'll be surprised if it isn't.