A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Integrity? It's Politics As Usual--Clegg Goes Back on His Word

In an earlier posting, I had praised Nick Clegg for his strength in keeping to his word that he would support the party that won the most seats.  He had said that he would not entertain talks with the Labour party and was reported to have had a heated exchange with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I spoke too soon.

What a difference four days make!  Apparently, Clegg after talking to the Conservatives went behind Cameron's back and  is now also in talks with Labour. Brown (who says he is resigning and allowing someone else to take over the party in the fall) wants to stay and help in the transition of a possible "Labour-Lib Dem" coalition.  Clegg is playing both ends against the middle....because he can. Meanwhile, Britain is going to hell in a handbasket. The idea of Labour slogging it out in a painful, slow death in the next few months (which I predict will be some of the hardest in our history) is incredibly self-serving. Brown is not tenacious, he is being arrogant and insisting that his party (with him at the helm, mind you, until there is another election, make no bones about that) remain in power until another election is called. How long will that be? They say in October...but it can drag on a lot longer. What if George Bush had decided that he wanted to stay in longer despite the fact that Obama had won the race? There would have been rioting in the streets of America.

Even with the Lib Dems, Labour will still not have a full and clear majority. The word is that the Lib Dem members knowing that they may face another election in the fall (with a new Labour leader) do not necessarily want to hitch their wagon to Gordon Brown's fizzled out star.It is reported that the Lib Dems are more willing to go with the Conservative majority, but Clegg is still sniffing around for something better. The Lib Dems want the electoral system reformed. Former Conservative leader, William Hague (pictured with Big Ben here) spoke about an hour ago, and said that the Conservatives would be willing to consider electoral reform (and would concede on that point to the Lib Dems) if (and only if) it was put form in a referendum to allow the British people to decide democratically. The Conservatives were not supporting electoral reform, but they were willing to give that to the Lib Dems if they came on board. This is no small concession. If Brown and his coalition Lab-Lib government decide to change the electorate, it will  not be done as a referendum. They will pass it and that's it. Tough. That's how they handed the people of Great Britain to the European Union on a silver platter. Brown just decided for everyone. Whatever bit of democracy is left in this country its about to sing its swan song.

If Labour is to have any mandate, they will not only have to court the Lib Dems, they will have to cut deals with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. These deals will certainly involve promises of pumping massive amounts of money into programs in these countries and plunging Britain into further debt. There is no doubt that they need the resources, but finding fiscally responsible ways to do that is not the way Labour operates.

Well, Mr Clegg, I thought you were a man of your word. You promised that you would support the government that had won with the most votes. And you are not doing that. Do you want to sell your party to the highest bidder? Do you want to limp along for the next few months with the bedraggled and beaten Labour Party simply to cut  deals while the British economy is tanking? Do you want to subject the MPs in your party to another election knowing that they will have to account for the travesty that is unfolding as we speak?  Do you want to be known as a politician or a statesman?

Be very careful because what you decide may alter not just your political future but the future of every man, woman and child on this big island.

I didn't support you, Mr Clegg because your policies were too much like Labour, but I thought you were cut from a different cloth. Apparently you are not...it's still very shiny polyester.