Centrists Caution Cameron Against Overreaching

As Britain’s David Cameron installed his second cabinet on Monday, he was urged by centrists not to interpret last week’s election victory as a mandate for radical change.

It is the prime minister’s unenviable task to keep his tribe happy but prevent it from behaving like a restorationist sect, writes Matthew d’Ancona in The Guardian newspaper. With only a razor-thin majority in Parliament, Cameron can’t afford to upset his more reactionary backbenchers, nor can he allow his party to lurch to the right or it will alienate voters in the next election.

The issue most likely to stir a rebellion is Europe, as it did for John Mayor, the last Conservative prime minister before Cameron came to power in 2010. He similarly commanded a small majority and party infighting contributed to a devastating defeat in 1997 when the Conservatives lost half their seats.

Cameron has already given Euroskeptics an in-out referendum on Britain’s European Union membership. But d’Ancona warns that the Tory right may not “take yes for an answer.” They could push Cameron to demand unreasonable concessions from other European countries, such as restrictions on the free movement of labor or a deep cut in Britain’s contribution to the union’s budget. If the prime minister gives in to such pressure, he would set himself up for failure in Brussels and raise the chance that British voters decide to opt out altogether.

Conservative Party leaders recognize the danger of overreach, writes the Financial Times‘s Janan Ganesh. “They know well enough that Britain has not become Texas overnight.” Read more “Centrists Caution Cameron Against Overreaching”

Why Liberals Should Rejoice in David Cameron’s Reelection

Liberals who worry that Prime Minister David Cameron’s reelection on Thursday marks the demise of an internationalist Britain in favor of “Little England” fail to appreciate just how much the Conservative Party leader has done for liberalism.

Nick Clegg, Cameron’s former deputy, was understandably bitter when he stepped down as Liberal Democrat leader on Friday. Having lost all but eight seats in Parliament, the traditional third party in British politics was replaced by the Scottish nationalists who won 56 seats.

“Years of remorseless economic and social hardship following the crash in 2008 and the grinding insecurities of globalization have led for people to reach to new certainties,” Clegg said. “The politics of identity, of nationalism, of us versus them is now on the rise.”

He could have said the same about any Western democracy. The conclusion he drew from this, however, was wrong.

Liberalism, here, as well as across Europe, is not faring well against the politics of fear.

His left-leaning brand of liberalism, no. But former Liberal Democrat voters in England didn’t switch to the United Kingdom Independence Party which represents those politics of fear. They voted for Cameron’s Conservatives instead because he advances a type of liberalism that works.

Clegg isn’t alone in underestimating Cameron’s liberalism. Read more “Why Liberals Should Rejoice in David Cameron’s Reelection”

Scottish Nationalists Bound to Disappoint Supporters

Edinburgh Scotland
Skyline of Edinburgh, Scotland (Unsplash/Joe Tree)

Despite winning 56 out of Scotland’s 59 seats in Britain’s general election on Thursday, the Scottish National Party is almost certain to disappoint its supporters.

The nationalists were expecting to play kingmakers in the new Parliament. Polls had shown neither Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives nor the opposition Labour Party winning an outright majority. With the SNP set to take over almost all of Labour’s seats in Scotland, it was projected to be able to give the socialists a majority.

But the Conservatives eked out a majority of their own while Labour did worse than expected. It went down from 257 to 232 seats when 323 are needed for a working majority. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Bound to Disappoint Supporters”

Britain’s Cameron Stays in Power, Other Leaders Resign

David Cameron
British prime minister David Cameron delivers a press conference outside his office at 10 Downing Street in London, England, May 23, 2013 (10 Downing Street)

British prime minister David Cameron stayed in power on Thursday, promising to government for “one nation” in his second term.

Cameron’s Conservative Party won an overall majority of 331 seats in the House of Commons on Thursday — defying polls that had predicted a hung parliament.

The Liberal Democrats, who governed in coalition with the Conservatives for the last five years, suffered what leader Nick Clegg described on Friday as a “crushing” defeat. The party fell from 56 to eight seats.

Clegg resigned as leader, saying, “It’s simply heartbreaking to see so many friends and colleagues who have served their constituents over so many years abruptly lose their seats because of forces entirely beyond their control.” Read more “Britain’s Cameron Stays in Power, Other Leaders Resign”

Britain’s Labour Party Has Itself to Blame for Defeat

With Britain’s Labour Party expected to lose Thursday’s general election, falling from 257 to 232 seats in the BBC’s forecast, The Telegraph‘s Dan Hodges argues that the party has only itself to blame for this defeat.

Hodges, a former Labour Party official, has been highly critical of Ed Miliband’s leadership for years.

He believes it was a mistake for Labour to refuse to apologize for its mismanagement of the economy when it was last in power until the final days of the campaign. This allowed Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives, who could now win an overall majority, to credibly claim that Labour could not be trusted with command of the world’s fifth largest economy again. Read more “Britain’s Labour Party Has Itself to Blame for Defeat”

Britain’s Conservatives Beat Expectations, Win Election

British parliament London
Aerial view of the Palace of Westminster in London, England (iStock/Robert Ingelhart)
  • Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has won 330 seats in the House of Commons, a gain of 28 and four more than are needed for a majority.
  • David Cameron is due to stay on as prime minister.
  • Labour went down from 256 to 232 seats. The Liberal Democrats, who have governed in a coalition with Cameron since 2010, lost 48 of their 56 seats.
  • The Scottish National Party took 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.
  • Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party failed to win any seats. Read more “Britain’s Conservatives Beat Expectations, Win Election”

With British Election Days Away, Reason to Question Polls

With surveys showing Britain’s Conservative and Labour Parties neck and neck for Thursday’s election, both are hoping to prove the pollsters wrong. There is reason to believe they might.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s party is hoping for a replay of the 1992 election when the polls predicted a narrow win for the opposition Labour Party but John Mayor actually won a comfortable majority in the House of Commons with 42 percent support.

Labour may want to repeat a more recent experience. In 2010, the polls gave it between 24 and 29 percent support, with most predicting 28 percent. In fact, it got 30 percent support although it still lost 91 seats.

May 2015, the New Statesman‘s election website, reports that in all but one of the twenty most recent elections, pollsters overestimated Labour’s support. The exception was 2010 when they overestimated the Liberal Democrats’ popularity instead.

This should be encouraging to the Conservatives who are urging voters to stick with a successful government rather than risk an unstable Labour alliance with the Scottish National Party. But with less than a week to go before the election, they had probably expected to be up by now. The Conservatives have delivered on their key promises to reduce the deficit and revitalize the British economy. Labour, by contrast, has lurched to the left under Ed Miliband’s leadership when voters have traditionally punished the socialist party when it veered too far from the center. Read more “With British Election Days Away, Reason to Question Polls”

Five More Years: British Should Reelect Cameron, Clegg

David Cameron Pedro Passos Coelho
Prime Ministers David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Pedro Passos Coelho of Portugal meet in Lisbon, September 4, 2015 (10 Downing Street/Adam Brown)

With Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives expected to once again fall short of a parliamentary majority in the election this week, this website is hoping the Liberal Democrats will scrape together enough seats to keep the two parties in power. The last five years of coalition government have been stable and successful. The alternative, a Labour government held to ransom by Scottish separatists, would be anything but. Read more “Five More Years: British Should Reelect Cameron, Clegg”

Scottish Nationalists Less Progressive Than They Claim

David Cameron Alex Salmond
British prime minister David Cameron greets Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, in Edinburgh, October 15, 2012 (Scottish Government)

Stories published in the Financial Times and New Statesman this weekend argue that the Scottish National Party is actually more corporatist than socialist and that Labour voters may in for a disappointment if the two go into coalition together.

With polls showing the nationalists winning as many as 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the general election next week, a minority Labour government would probably need their support to stay in power.

Some leftwingers relish the prospect, seeing the SNP as a less compromising progressive party that would presumably tug Labour to the left. Nicola Sturgeon, the party leader and Scottish first minister, has taken Labour’s Ed Miliband to task for accepting many of the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures and often reminds voters the National Health Service north of the border is more generously funded.

Left-wing voters should be careful what they wish for, though, argues the New Statesman, a magazine that supports Labour. The SNP “has no ideological core” and is first and foremost a separatist movement. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Less Progressive Than They Claim”

Labour’s Miliband Rules Out Deal with Scottish Nationalists

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband on Thursday ruled out a coalition with the Scottish National Party if his party falls short of a parliamentary majority next month.

“If the price of having a Labour government is a deal or coalition with the SNP, it’s not going to happen,” Miliband said during a Q&A session with voters that was broadcast by the BBC. Read more “Labour’s Miliband Rules Out Deal with Scottish Nationalists”