The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Posts Tagged ‘gordon brown’

Cameron is new PM

Posted by That Other Mike on 11/05/2010

David Cameron has been asked to form a government. He also stated that he would attempt to form a formal coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, although this is contingent upon the agreement of the LibDem party apparatus rather than simply Nick Clegg’s say-so.

Assuming the deal goes ahead, I expect to see Clegg in a moderate-weight Cabinet post, such as the FO or Defence, and possibly bringing Vince Cable or someone of similar stature along in a minor post. We’re also likely to get a referendum on the Alternative Vote system, which troubles me, given that voting law is always a matter of legislation per se and that the Tories will campaign against it; still, AV is a step on the road towards PR, so it’s better than nothing.

This is all assuming that the Tories don’t fail vote at the Queen’s Speech right from the off, of course; this is procedurally equivalent to losing a motion of no confidence, and if they did lose the vote, the constitutional convention is that the government resigns or that Parliament is dissolved. The first option would result in a new government being asked to form, whether a minority Lib-Lab coalition government, or for the Tories to ditch Cameron and try again with someone else. I don’t see it happening, to be honest; Queen’s Speech measures tend to be couched in uncontroversial terms, even if manifesto pledges, and nobody wants to rock the boat too much following the recent drama.

We’ll see what happens; in an ideal world, given the current state of play, I could cope with a minority Tory government led by the One Nation faction and bolstered by the LibDems. My worry is that the Eurosceptic, Thatcherite tendencies of Cameron will come to the fore. As I said, though, we’ll see.

Update: Details of the coalition have been agreed. Surprisingly, Clegg is coming in as Deputy PM, which suggest that the LibDems drove a pretty hard bargain; presumably one of the bargaining chips on the table was the fact that they could sink any minority govt Tory agenda in play if they wanted to be obstructionist.

Four LibDems to go along as well; good show. And even Ken Clarke has made a comeback. Looks like it could be a moderate Tory strain, even allowing for the fact that Cabinets immediately post-election are transitional and often cosmetic exercises.

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Rebellion from the back

Posted by That Other Mike on 05/06/2008

Gordon Brown is once again facing a rebellion by backbench MPs, this time on new anti-terrorism laws. The issue in question is the new Counter-Terrorism Bill, a massive piece of legislation that would, among other things, give police the power to detain terrorism suspects for up to 42 days under certain circumstances before they would be required to press charges, the explicit ability to question suspects about further possible charges when lesser ones have already been brought, and give judges the right to impose longer sentences where alleged terrorism connections are considered an “aggravating factor”. Brown looking saturnine and vaguely creepy

You may already have guessed my response to the proposed terms of the Bill. Even with the proposed “safeguards” in place (such as the requirement for judicial approval), the provisions of it are deeply troubling.

This is one more sign that the current government needs to be brought to heel by its members –in this case, backbenchers– or to lose power entirely. We cannot preserve the principles of democracy and individual autonomy by destroying them entirely.

I would also remind everyone rushing to defend the limits on their freedoms that even during the worst parts of the Troubles, when there was a real and constantly present threat, we did not throw our liberties away.

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Rising levels of antisocial behaviour…

Posted by That Other Mike on 11/05/2008

… committed by the government in the face of the failure of its social polices.
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Johnson’s Election

Posted by That Other Mike on 05/05/2008

Well, they did it. Boris Johnson is now London Mayor.1 I’m aware that this comes a few days after the actual event; I do have a life, people.
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Labour suffers big council losses

Posted by That Other Mike on 02/05/2008

Labour is on course to suffer its worst performance in at least 40 years in the local elections in England and Wales.

BBC research suggests the party has fallen into third place nationally with 24% of votes, with the Conservatives on 44% and Lib Dems on 25%.

So far Labour has lost more than 160 seats with the Tories gaining 147.

Conservative leader David Cameron called it a “big moment”. Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the results were “very disappointing indeed”.

But Labour’s chief whip Geoff Hoon insisted there was “no crisis” for Gordon Brown.

‘Exceptional results’
The margin is similar to the drubbing received by Tory Prime Minister John Major in council elections in 1995, two years before he was ejected from Downing Street by Tony Blair.

Emphasis mine.

Just goes to show.

Local elections are a somewhat useful thermometer for the general health of government; by this measure, it appears the Brown regime has colon cancer.

Nothing much will change, inasmuch as actual policy is concerned; local government powers are actually mostly limited to administration and the like. Setting their own budgets is about as powerful as most of them get, so the effects may consist at most of some kind of slow down, and even that’s not a given.

The larger effect will be in a kind of feedback loop – the people don’t like the Government and inflict a massive blow on its credibility, which causes more people to consider voting outside the Labour field, and so on.

I’m trying to think of an apt simile here, but it escapes me; that aside, the Brown government is on its way out.

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Cue embarrassing climb-down in 3, 2, 1…

Posted by That Other Mike on 30/04/2008

After a backbench rebellion not seen since the last time someone said something about Europe, Gordon Brown’s Premiership has taken another hit:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has admitted making “mistakes” in abolishing the 10p rate of income tax.

He told the BBC the government “didn’t cover as well as we should have” losses to low earners without children and pensioners aged 60 to 64.

But Mr Brown said he was “listening” and “learning” as prime minister and that problems were “being dealt with”.

The government announced last week it would compensate those affected by the change, amid pressure from Labour MPs.

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Beginning of the end?

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/11/2007

This story hit the news today. The short version is that British electoral law requires names of those donating more than £5000 to political parties to be publicly available; this is an attempt to prevent individuals from exercising undue influence in government. Donations may not be given on behalf of others. The measure arose after various scandals where individuals were given peerages for large donations, or were awarded government contracts for them; although, notably, the measure seems not to have been too effective.
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