Friday, July 2, 2010

Coalition Fever

The recent coalition formed by Britain’s Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats and the Tories under James Cameron, has led to wild speculation by the punditry in this country about the possible coalitions that could come out of the next election. Call it coalition fever!

Though, they managed to hammer out an agreement between them, in a remarkably short period of time (6 days!), the newlyweds in this marriage may discover that they have more in common than they realized when they decided to take the plunge. In the process, hopefully, giving the coalition movement in Canada, particularly between the Dippers and Grits, new impetus.

Of course, every marriage, especially one that was as hastily put together as this one, is bound to have some unforeseen troubles. In this case, how to resolve the difference of opinion on the matter of reducing Britain’s massive debt crisis? Lib Dems made it clear that they favoured raising taxes, whereas their Tory counterparts, employing typical thatcherite logic, want to cut public spending and dismantle the social safety net. The solution was an idea that Harper would doubtless need to look up in his dictionary: compromise! As the official document states “the main burden of deficit reduction (will) be borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes.”

Perhaps most interesting, is the compromise worked out on the issue of electoral reform. The Lib Dems (like the NDP) want to introduce some form of proportional representation in the UK. Whereas, the Tories think every thing is right as rain with the current system. In the end, they both decided that they would hold a referendum on the question, giving the people a chance to decide if they like it and both parties a chance to make their case.

Given that Harper’s Tories are nowhere near majority levels in the polls and haven’t been since the last prorogation in December, I suppose we won’t hear the chattering classes shutting up about this issue anytime soon! Perhaps, we should all be giving the British example some serious thought in Canada.

The Future is Unwritten

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