Prime Minister David Cameron has good reason to smile. His Conservative Party won in the British General Elections for Parliament that then create the executive that administers the government, and he won handily. The surprise success of the Conservative Party in the U.K. elections, and the near wipe-out of Labour in Scotland, could have ramifications for the country as a whole and its future in the European Union (EU).
But first let me point out that the Conservative Party in Britain does not promote the same agenda as the U.S. conservative party, the GOP. In the UK Conservatives ran on:
- Higher taxes on higher earnings; both personal and corporate (although both labor and commerce policy continue to work for the “creators of jobs” rather than the “holders of jobs” still).
- Significant efforts to address wealth diversity to strengthen the middle class under the supposition that raising the middle pulls up the lower class largely through greater access to working capital and a smaller tax burden.
- Stepping away from war footing with expressions of grave disappointment about the negative impact of war on the UK at home and the unfortunate after effects of war particularly the Middle East.
- Pride in the relationship with the United States and in particular with the administration of Barack Obama.
- Investment in UK infrastructure and in jobs programs overall with a noted return to emphasis on “the trades.”
- Investment in non-military foreign aid.
There were American Conservatives who would promote such an Agenda….they no longer reside in the GOP. Think Eisenhower. Think Buckley.
What did win out that sounds very much like GOP rhetoric here are:
- Austerity in Welfare Programs with a shift to emphasis on Middle Class expansion in support of the supposition that what Lifts the Middle lifts the Lower classes but with the lower (often working) laboring and unemployed carrying a lot of the burden.
- Austerity in public sector wages with freezes across the board
- Austerity in programs that support undocumented immigrants
- And one that liberals here would largely support: Austerity in tax exemptions, tax subsidies for the high end earners
The message that won out appears to be “It’s steady as she goes. We’re going to have a continuation of austerity, but in a fairly moderate way. Monetary policy in turn will tighten, but in a gradual manner,” Jacob Nell, chief UK economist at Morgan Stanley, told CNBC.
Where were the shifts in votes? Liberal Democrats lost seats as their supporters, angry with the alliance with the Conservatives, simply did not vote or moved to Labour, or decided to thrown in their lot with the Conservatives overtly to curry favor. Labor lost seats overall but most particularly in Scotland to the Scottish National Party, a distressing result for Cameron who campaigned on keeping the United Kingdom, united.
What are the big issues facing the Cameron Government?
- Holding on to Scotland with attention to Wales that is making similar demands.
- Sustaining the economic recovery and growing it in the middle class particularly
- Deciding on the future of Britain’s place in the European Economic Community
- Developing a “robust” foreign policy that does not require the insertion of British troops into open warfare.
Conservatives 324 seats
Labour 228 seats
Liberal Democrats 8
Independence Party 1
Green Party 1
Scottish National Party 56
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