Conservatives Have Neglected Their Responsibility to the Union

The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014
The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014 (Julien Carnot)

The full name of Britain’s ruling party is the Conservative and Unionist Party, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they have governed lately. Read more

Senate Obamacare Replacement Isn’t Better Than House Version

A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18
A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18 (Lorie Shaull)

After weeks of cloak and dagger, Senate Republicans have finally unveiled their plan to replace Obamacare and now we know why they worked on it in secret.

When Republicans in the House released their plan in March, I wrote here that they had managed to unite health-care commentators from the left and the right in consternation. Read more

Resist the Strongman’s Siren Call

Monument on Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington DC, November 12, 2012
Monument on Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington DC, November 12, 2012 (Laurabl)

Larry Summers, a top economic advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, tells Axios that today’s economic challenges — artificial intelligence, automation, globalization — require a leader on the scale of Germany’s Otto von Bismarck, England’s William Gladstone or America’s Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt:

I think it would be a gross misreading of history to think that a laissez-faire, preserve-what-is and don’t-add-anything-new in terms of public institutions and public programs will be sufficient to enable our societies to deal with these trends, which are very much under way.

But that assumes transformational leadership is a condition for transformational change, which is doubtful.

And Summers should be careful what he wishes for. Clamoring for a strongman can open the door to less benign figures. Just look at Donald “I-alone-can-fix-it” Trump. Read more

Does the British Election Mean Anything for America?

British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27
British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

As always, yes and no.

Yes, because the ideology of austerity-driven neoliberalism, that which is championed by Theresa May’s suddenly flailing government, is a major component of the ruling Republican Party in the United States. It’s what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, believes in: cuts to public services to benefit the private market.

Yes, because Brexit, the alt-right-driven anti-immigrant, anti-globalization geopolitical self-harm project is propelled by the same forces that elected the current head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.

But also no. Read more

Conservatives Need to Reevaluate Beliefs After Defeat

British prime minister Theresa May
British prime minister Theresa May (PA/Philip Toscano)

Given the vote share Labour has accrued in England under Jeremy Corbyn, ideas from Britain’s mid- to late-twentieth century are once again mainstream — and they pose an ideological challenge to the liberal consensus that is in many ways deeper than last year’s vote to leave the EU. Read more

What Good Is a Two-Party System If It Doesn’t Provide Stability?

View of the Houses of Parliament in London, England, December 21, 2011
View of the Houses of Parliament in London, England, December 21, 2011 (Ben Sutherland)

There is a lazy assumption in much of the British election coverage that the return of two-party politics was the only good news of the night.

Between them, the Conservatives and Labour won 82 percent support on Thursday, up from 67 percent in 2015.

Yet neither party has a majority. The biggest party is in disarray. The second party has no way to form a government. It is quite likely there will be another election later this year or next. Read more

Liberal Democrats Are the Least Bad Option in Britain’s Election

British Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron
British Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron (Shutterstock/Finbarr Webster)

This British election is an impossible choice for liberals like us.

We can’t possibly support Jeremy Corbyn, whose policies of nationalization and unilateral nuclear disarmament would compound the disaster of Brexit — which he did far too little to prevent — many times over.

But we are not impressed with Theresa May either. She was the best possible candidate to succeed David Cameron last summer, but only because the alternatives were worse. Many British voters could make the same calculation this week. Read more