Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Our Obama

I’m ever so excited.

After a few days of intense negotiations, resignations and compromises The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has a new Prime Minister and its first coalition government since World War Two. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats enter into a full coalition, with Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister and four other cabinet posts to sweeten the deal. This is the first time in generations that the Lib Dems, or their predecessors the Liberals, have held power in cabinet. This is an exciting time for them.

Labour are defeated, but will live to fight another day. There was talk before the election that humiliation at the polls would break the party up, it’s funny how much can change in a week. Gordon stepped down as leader, Harriet Harman temporarily stepping into his shoes whilst the party decides on who will face Cameron as leader of the opposition in the next five years.

On a separate note, Harriet Harman has mentioned that she herself will not stand in the Labour leadership race. I think this is a great shame. She is a woman with character and balls, she is not scared to call herself a feminist and regularly out-shone Gordon when she stood in for him at Prime Minister’s Questions. If she maintains the stance that she does not want to run, it will be a great shame.

This is essentially going to be a time for Labour to dust themselves off, straighten their ties and go into effective opposition. I think after three terms they were getting a bit cocky. I’m a great believer in bringing down the powerful a peg or two.

The Liberal Democrats have gotten some stick for this coalition. Lib and Con are on separate sides of the political divide, after years of mudslinging in parliament and the name calling of the election how, are they expected to form an effective government with which they have very little in common ideologically?

A follower of mine on Twitter said that she would no longer be calling herself a Lib Dem supporter, that they had “sold out” to the Tories. I would not agree with this view. The only stable option for a government was this Lib-Con alliance. If they had decided to go with Labour they would have still had to form a minority government, with no majority to pass legislation. I believe this would have been catastrophic for our financial markets, and would not have bared well for our country as the rest of Europe is in turmoil. We needed stability and a government that could govern effectively. This was the only option.

What I find interesting about the Lib Dem’s situation are the cabinet posts being offered, especially that of Clegg’s new role as Deputy PM. What will he do with a job that in the UK has very little power and does little more than stand in for the PM when they are on holiday or abroad?

So the Tories got in. They get to keep their cap on immigration, their plan for “Sweedish style” schools and the renewal of trident. They yield to the Lib Dems a referendum on the voting system (which, if it doesn’t pass, I will be very annoyed about), reducing tax burdens to lower earners and more funding for schools that take on poorer pupils.

I must say, with Cameron’s speech as he entered Number 10, he looked like Prime Minister, he looked ready to govern. He talked of compromise and working together. This is what the British people voted for, he respected that, I respect him for respecting that.

Yesterday the Prime Minister and his deputy held a joint press conference in the garden of Number 10. I am honestly blown away. I could almost say that I am proud of our politicians for reaching compromise, agreeing to work together and respecting the wishes of the British people… almost. This coalition will either sink or swim together. I sincerely hope current amicable relations within the coalition are maintained.

We truly are seeing history in the making. And who’d have thought it would have just involved politicians agreeing to disagree and trying their best to get along? This is democracy, this is our Obama… just without a black man.


RoboticNeurotic said...

Your optimism inspires me. I thank you for it.

genna said...

It is most unfortunate that your level-headed commentary is marred by an Ann Coulter banner ad at the top of the page right now! Oh, the irony.

As an American, I'm fascinated to watch this new age in British politics unfold. Our two-party system can't get anything done. I hope your new government can prove to the world that opposing parties can still shut up and do things.

Dave said...

I agree, I've been very impressed with the politicians pretty much since election night. It's only a start but at least it's a good start!

tamoomin said...

I'm was so impressed by the cooperation between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg yesterday. I'm glad you share my hope in this government. This is modern politics making history! :)

7 said...

Maybe my words will sound little harsh here, but in a friendly way (if it’s possible).
I can totally understand your excitement for this “historic” event happening in UK general election. Although, in Europe we have the tendency to run after any extreme right parties when a market/financial problem is faced, and this (as you called) Lib-Con alliance or coalition is not an exception, even thought it must be applauded with some caveats.
The concept of Conservatives (or Tories) and Liberal Democrats have not changed as the extreme right and the moderate party in any country. What happened in your country just show how fears and political interests join again older brothers. Even though, I’m not in Europe anymore or familiar with all UK’s political history their origin are the same. Of course, this is a Democracy victory or I’d rather say this is the pure manifestation of the Democracy itself, but let’s not fool ourselves with any politicians agreement. I’m not here to drop all your enthusiasm down, but in any circumstances we must see the picture under its title compared to what he is actually painting.

Anonymous said...

I'm still undecided on this whole coalition government. I mean, yes it's hisotric, novel and a little inspiring - but on the other hand, Conservatives and Liberals working together? They're chalk and cheese! But if they can make it work, then I tip my hat off to them. Already we have seen Clegg manage to force Lib Dem ideas through and seen Cameron hold back on some of the more radical Tory's hoping everything will carry on going well!