Strange Adventure 92


Well, here we are on the first morning of a new government. I continue to wait to see what the government actually does. What we know for certain is that we have got rid of a government of war criminal torturers who attacked our civil liberties. Some commenters were indignant yesterday that I refuse to presume this government will be worse. It hardly can be worse – but we shall see.

In terms of cabinet posts, the Lib Dems do not appear to have got that much. Nick Clegg is to be Deputy Prime Minister. That post has to date been famously powerless, even when it was “beefed up” nominally to put Prescott in charge of everything you could name. More to the point, we are going to have the odious George Osborne as Chancellor. Spending cuts are required, but are not made more acceptable by being delivered with a patrician sneer. The Tories seem like they are going to have all the “Great offices of state” – PM, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Defence Secretary. That will dominate the government agenda. The Lib Dems appear to have sold their soul for scraps.

Danny Alexander has been given the most thankless task of representing a Tory government in Scotland. I still believe this coalition will be an electoral disaster for the Lib Dems – and their being wiped out in next year’s Holyrood elections will be the start of it, which is a shame as I like Tavish Scottt.

Danny Alexander will be pitted against Alex Salmond. Alex is the most charismatic and talented politician in the UK – and gives the lie to the idea that a modern leader has to be “telegenic” to be popular. Scotland has a more collectivist view of society and will hate the spending cuts – which if Scotland could access its own hydrocarbons would not be necessary. The growing political distance between Scotland and the UK will in retrospect be the most important narrative of the next five years, with a hapless Danny Alexander able to do nothing about it.

It would seem to be too much for the Lib Dems to be given the other graveyard of political ambition, Northern Ireland, but don’t rule it out. Vince Cable’s precise role is unclear just yet, but plainly it will be subservient to George Osborne. The Lib Dems will also get given schools and something like paperclips. There will be a plethora of junior ministerial posts, but junior ministers have no influence at all on their Cabinet minister bosses.


92 thoughts on “Strange Adventure

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    I told you that the Tories would eat the Lib Dems for breakfast. They will eat the country for lunch. Then they will kill a few foxes and eat those for dinner. The Lib Dems ought to have let them rule as a weak, Minority Govt and let them carry the can and get slammed next time around, with the Lib Dems picking-up the South.

  • TheA1mighty

    I have just heard on Radio 4 that Vince Cable has been put in charge of banking reform. Which is nice. The City spivs will be grumbling into their champers.

  • Tony

    The LibDems have just committed ritual electoral suicide in our constituency that is for sure. As a local party worker I know how much work was done to establish that we were different and were reformers. Fat chance of ever selling that again.

    Give them a slap-up dinner and half a bottle of champagne, they hop straight in the back of the van.

  • brian

    Tony, so when you told voters you believed in PR and the inevitable coalition government that follows, did you tell them we’d only ever have Lib/War Criminal coalitions? Or what did you expect?

  • bert

    Let’s see if Nick Clegg keeps his views on the subject of _Control Orders_.

    See his article of February 2007, ‘This is a fork in the road’ reproduced here:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/2wa97tn

    “Control orders are unique in that they give a politician, rather than a judge, the power to curtail someone’s freedom without even giving the individual the reasons why.”

    Let’s also see how how the Toty/Lib Dem coalition will deal with ‘T e r r o r i s m’…..maybe ‘Al-Q’ will set off a wee frightener, just as was done when Gordy Brown took over from Blair.

    Research the name of “Thomas Lund Lack” a detective inspector with the Metropolitan Police, who was threatened with the OSA & then pled guilty to ‘misconduct in public office by disclosing a secret Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre report to a journalist’. ( see http://preview.tinyurl.com/3xlv6c7 )

    The JTAC report forewarned that an ‘attack would happen’ around the time of the premiership exchange (Blair/Brown) of June 2007, which is just what happened with the TigerTiger & Glasgow Airport terrorstuff.

    There’s more to this politics stuff than meets the eye…..

  • Craig

    bert

    I am quite hopeful on control orders, but who the Home Secretary will be will make a lot of difference and that seems the most important thing we do not yet know.

  • Tony

    Good questions. I believe in STV as a fairer representation of what democracy should be delivering. If we were where we are now because of a fair election via STV, then there would have been no deception. There would have been a fair election so the numbers would not be random, unrepresentative, unfair and unrealistic as they are. I agree that STV will deliver coalitions and the LibDems are more than ready to get on with making democracy work.

    What we have this morning is anything but democracy, it is a cooked-up dirty deal for power-sharing. The sort of ‘old politics’ which is precisely what Nick Clegg avowed to replaced with ‘new politics’. I agree that with STV we’ll have to get used to power-sharing, but the only way it will work is if (i) the numbers are right in the first place and (ii) the voting public understood the ground rules before the election which created the numbers.

    Where we are now is a pathetic media-driven re-run of 1974. The LibDem Executive has sold out just to get at most a year’s worth of sniffing power from closer proximity than otherwise.

    I doubt if the Conservative party workers will be any more enthusiastic overall than we are, but at least they have their leader in No.10 in charge.

  • writerman

    This result makes me even more sceptical about the Westminster system, or representative, parliamentary, democracy.

    I think, ideally, I’d like to see a far more direct, federal, devolved, democratic system; only this would require a substantial and structural re-distribution of power in society, and I just don’t think the current system is interested in seeing its own demise.

    I believe this result, and political constalation, is even more of the same old, same old, not “new politics” at all. The Liberal’s support for the grossly expensive and unecessary Trident system, shows just how little change there is going to be in practical terms.

  • Craig

    Mmmm – I remain hopeful on Trident, too. I expect the Tories may twig we can’t afford it pretty quickly.

  • Chris Marsden

    Cheer up Craig. You want Scots independence and it will be easier with a reasonable man who actually wants to abolish his own job in favour of Home Rule.

    Also, if LibDems get Justice and Home, that’s a combination of Great Offices – let Liam Fox deal with budget cuts rather than Paddy. We can trumpet abolishing tax for low paid and stopping inheritance tax.

    LibDems should make their advances on civil liberties, let Hague deal with the mess in Afghanistan and be impotent in Europe, and lets see if we can reform the Lords and the Lothian question…to start with!

  • Terry

    They’re both going to eat the little people for breakfast.

    I see they’re going for Cable’s CGT increase, but the Tories have managed to get an opt out for business. Hey fuckin ho.

    That means that only the little people buying a few shares or whatever will get hit.

    Well done Vince.

  • bert

    Craig,

    The press has been quiet about the new Home Secretary, however a PA report of 9 hours ago states:

    “One glaring omission on Tuesday night was the identity of the new Home Secretary.

    It was looking increasingly like the Tories’ shadow Chris Grayling had missed out on the crucial position, with his Lib Dem rival Chris Huhne and Conservative shadow education spokesman Michael Gove being tipped for the role.

    Michael Gove, Oh FFS….

    http://stefzucconi.blogspot.com/2007/12/policy-exchange-hate-tank-busted.html

    More on the case of Thomas Lund Lack here:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/3xy4lq

  • Chris_Sh

    Dep PM is actually the best post for NC. He’s not a hostage to fortune, as he would be if he was something like Hom Sec. In the absence of DC he will become defacto PM and do PMQs etc (and in case you may have forgotten, that will be in about 4 months time).

  • Terry

    Dale is hearing rumours of Gove for Justice or Home Sec.

    So that’s civil liberties down the toilet too.

    This is already looking like a total waste of space. All the Lib Dems are doing is propping up a Tory govt and allowing them to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do as a minority.

    The Lib Dems have got nothing substantive at all other than green leather and jags.

  • Terry

    It’s not Huhne anyway, as he’s getting environment or some other waste tip.

    Dale is saying Gove.

    God fuckin help us all!

  • Vronsky

    “The growing political distance between Scotland and the UK will in retrospect be the most important narrative of the next five years”

    Probably a good result for the SNP, in a bitter sort of way. We now have a big stick to beat the ‘Liberals’ – their collaboration with the Tories, and another big stick to beat Labour – they could have stopped the Tories but didn’t.

    Some were puzzled by Salmond’s offer to join a rainbow coalition with Labour, the Great Satan, but it was a clever finesse: if Labour agreed they would further damage the Union in English eyes (bloody Scots running things again), if they didn’t they would damage the Union in Scottish eyes (vote Labour, get Tory).

  • writerman

    I beg to differ, Craig. I don’t think there is a chance in hell of Trident being cancelled, for a variety of reasons that have precious little to do with what we can, or cannot afford.

    Also, I don’t believe we’ll see a “fairer” electoral system based on PR either, at least not the kind of PR you would recognise as PR.

    In my opinion the Liberals have had it too “easy” for too long. They could adopt attitudes and policies that were essentially “free” and without “cost” because they were so removed from having real power and responsibility. They didn’t have to face the challenge of paying a price for their policies. Now, however, things have changed. The Liberals will be forced to show their true colours and where they actually stand on a whole range of issues. This will be a difficult transition for them. Like waking up from a dream, and stepping into the harsh light of reality.

    Personally I think we need to constantly remind ourselves that campaign rhetoric and nice speeches designed to appeal to everyone, more or less, are one thing; but government is something else entirely. Promisses made on the campaign trail are worth virtually nothing.

    Futhermore, can one really have a “fair” electoral system in an “unfair” society?

    Murdoch will still have the Sun at his disposal, and I won’t. Democracy requires Democrats and an engaged citzenry to function. Do we have that anymore? Haven’t we really become “consumers” rather than citizens?

    I am, what I consume. Isn’t this the prime characteristic of modern man in the post-political world, where the ideology and culture of the market reigns supreme?

    Still, Craig, I hope you’re right about this new government, not so much for myself, as I’m economically bulletproof, even in this Depression, at least for the present; it’s “ordinary people” that concern me. I think they are going to be crushed under the wheels of permanent depression.

  • Paul Johnston

    Just a thought but all those who rightly castigated labour on human/civil rights will now see what difference the new government makes. IMHO probably not a lot!

    Paul J

  • Anonymous

    ‘I refuse to presume this government will be worse. It hardly can be worse – but we shall see.’

    Indeed Murray, they wanted us to invade Iraq much sooner. Poor Iran.

  • Craig

    paul

    I am hopeful you are wrong. I don’t believe even Tories are as hostile to civil liberties as NuLab. But time will tell.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    It will be interesting to see whether New “Labour” learns any lessons from defeat. I support parties based on their policies, not tribal loyalty, so if they remembered some socialist principles, renounced their 13 year attack on civil liberties and changed their foreign policy etc, I’d consider voting for them in future. I suspect they’ll elect a Millipede as leader however, and carry on just as before with the same corrupt war mongers in place. Unfortunately, despite this, they may well get back in again at the next election when people vote against the party/parties they blame for the cuts, having forgotten who was responsible for the deregulation which brought about the need for the austerity measures in the first place.

  • Terry

    BBC now reporting that Gove is “quite likely” to get the Home Office.

    He’s a well-known civil libertarian with a special fondness for muslims.

    Alan Johnson has ruled himself out of the Labour leadership contest.

    New politics all round then.

  • Terry

    The simple truth is that PR for the HoL doesn’t matter a fig in the grand scheme of things.

    Hasn’t it crossed your mind that if the Tories don’t mind PR for the HoL why do they mind it for the Commons.

  • brian

    It’s people like you that mean the rest of us can’t buy two packets of paracetamol at the chemists.

  • Terry

    I remember Thatcher very well. People forget just how universally she was hated in her early years.

    It took the Falklands war to garner her any support.

    And I have to say that this is all beginning to look a bit samey.

  • Reality check

    Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    The Labour party will do all it can to win back the support of their financial/madia masters. They and most of the trade union leaders are the shepherds and their members and supporters the sheep. Labour will do anything to win back the support of their masters, anything.

    Watch as they support (one way or another) the tory party in the coming years, they will say one thing and do another, all for show that will be Labour.

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