Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 political scenarios

So, according to Steve Richards, "Cameron has not got as much to offer Clegg" in 2015 if there was a hung parliament after the election, as there was in 2010.(Independent, 31/12/13) Really? Okay, so there`s nothing like electoral reform or Lords reform, but so what? There is still the offer of deputy PM, and clearly, that will suffice, as Clegg has shown no determination whatsoever to cling on to liberal principles,reneging on student fees, social mobility, equality of opportunity, and fairness in taxation. His recent outbursts suggest little more than desperation, with the criticism of the Gladstone era coming to mind, "too little,too late".
   What Richards also fails to mention is that Cable is more likely to be in the Lib Dem driving seat, as Clegg`s failure to regain the confidence of voters is likely to be evident after the Euro elections. Also Cable has already started his leadership bid; not content with jibes like Tories "in a panic over immigration", he`s questioned the wisdom of selling off the state-owned blood plasma company, and commented on London "draining the life out of the rest of the country". Always more perceptive than Clegg, although that clearly does not take a lot, Cable looks like he`s putting himself forward as the man Labour might like to deal with, if necessary.
   A worse scenario, ignored in the article, is the one where the Euro elections not only see off Clegg, they place the Tories in third place behind Labour and Ukip, requiring Cameron to make a Tory-Ukip electoral pact, guaranteeing Ukip seats in Parliament. Labour also, is in danger of losing votes to Ukip, which makes it essential Miliband comes up quickly with some concrete ideas to win back disillusioned working class votes, and the way to do this should not include Tory-like "tough on" welfare and immigration proposals. Going on the attack in the one other area of populist politics available to Labour strategists is far preferable; by making the rich pay a fair share in a progressive tax system, by imposing strict regulation and punishment, where necessary, on the banks and other financial institutions, and by passing legislation to reduce the ridiculous "tax gap" of £35bn, Labour could improve its chances of outright victory in 2015. Even if it failed, it would still have its principles intact, which is more than can be said for the other parties!

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