Friday, May 14, 2010

It's the Dave 'n' Nick show!

We finally have a brand-new government here in Britain—and it's being run by a Clam.
The election resulted in the predicted hung parliament—which means no party won enough seats to claim a majority rule—but the Conservatives won the most. Labour came second and the Liberal Democrats third.
For five days, there was a lot of political wrangling. There was a lot of handshaking, hand-wringing and deals being struck. But, despite their second-place showing, Labour knew their time was up, and Gordon Brown executed perhaps his greatest decision of his entire five-year tenure by stepping down. Technically, he had the right to stay at No. 10 till September, but he intelligently chose to resign, paving the way for a new coalition government to take over. Gordon Brown eventually showed his mettle and recognized the will of the people, and we must give him credit for that.
The Conservative leader David Cameron is now Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister (the British equivalent of a Vice President) is Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. The two managed to hammer out a Cabinet that is mostly Conservative in make-up but with enough of a sprinkling of Liberal Democrats to, what they hope, will reign in the more strident Right-wingers of Cameron's cabinet.
It's really weird, having a Deputy PM that is of a different party—and different political outlook—than the Prime Minister. But the two leaders have promised to work together closely for the next five years. They have both received a warm congratulatory response by President Obama.
Cameron, without too much trouble from Mr. Clegg, has solidified Britain's commitment to Afghanistan, set an annual limit for non-EU immigration, protected their promise to reform education by raising standards and weakening teachers' union power, appointed a tough Home Office to deal with crime and to cut the red tape for more effective policing, and scrapped Labour's ID scheme. Hopefully, this will mean a significant loosening of our stifling database state. A return to greater civil liberty will be much welcomed.
The new government will also hopefully tackle the welfare culture, getting millions back in jobs, and slash benefits for slackers. They plan on cutting the deficit through the public sector, not by raising taxes.
If there are any roadblocks or unpopular decisions, both parties will bear the burden of blame. That, right there, is one benefit of a coalition government.
David Cameron is a gentleman as well as a pragmatist and Nick Clegg, Leftie idealist though he may be, is no less of a likeable man. And they're both young. Both men are only 43 years of age. Gordon Brown was already active in campus politics by 1972; in that same year, Clegg and Cameron were going grocery shopping with their mommies and asking if they could have the sugary cereal. I'm proud to have two of my fellow Gen-X'ers in charge.
Both men appear to have forgiven any election campaign rancor and buried whatever axes they may previously have tried to swing at each other. (One editorial cartoon, published in the wake of the Rose Garden press conference, showed Clegg as Jerry and Cameron as Tom!) I do believe, not even naïvely, that these two mean business.
Cameron and Clegg—Clam for short—represent a refreshing and much-welcomed change of government. Well done, fellas. Now get to work, because there's a heck of a lot to be done.


SandWalker said...

Some interesting points here, Nightdragon, but it must be pointed out that most sociologists and demographers place Cameron and Clegg in Generation Jones, not X.

British GenJonesers were born 1955-1967, between the Boomers and Generation X. Here is an article about this from yesterday:

And here is a press release from today, from Dods, which is the definitive Parliamentary publisher:

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rocslinger said...

Intrigiuing concept, coalition government. I can see some advantages and some disadvantages. As long as a government is some form of indirect democracy than it's all good.

Nightdragon said...


I think this proves that British democracy is healthier than ever. It's the end of "old" politics, that's for sure. The two parties aren't merging, they're just working together in a coalition, led by Conservatives, and this is good. Both liberals and conservatives feel they have something at stake in this government. And most Lib Dems are actually OK -- they're free-market liberals, not socialists. With the exception of the most adamant Right-wingers, most Conservatives are finding some surprising common ground between themselves and the Lib Dems.

I was very proud to be in this country during its election time and was grateful to observe how things turned out. I don't think I've ever been prouder to be on British soil than I am now; that's how enthused by this gov't I am. Of course, that could change at any time, but I'm enjoying the moment.