Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another election

In Frankfurt, waiting for flight LH 4728 which will take me right into the closing moments of the British general election. Tonight I plan to be in Oxford with some political theorists, watching what I am afraid will be a pretty miserable affair. Though I of course hope that Brown will make some surprise gains, it makes me sad that people are still buying into “compassionate conservatism” (for a bit of reality check on what it actually means, I recommend this piece by Johann Hari in The Independent). As for the liberal democrats and Nick Glegg they may have some very good policy ideas such as abolishing tuition fees for universities, rising the taxes on capital-gains and not spending £20+ billion to maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent but they will in any case remain the junior partner in a future government.

Unlike the Swedish social democrats, Labour does not have a track record of being fiscal responsible and it is uncertain if they, or anyone for that matter, will be able to make the very harsh cuts that will be necessary to come to terms with the £175 billion deficit, not to mention the trillion pounds or so in debt that Britain has accumulated. Much like Sweden in the nineties, these will be hard times and a challenge to all progressive ambitions. One can only hope that they will have the courage to let the majority of the burden fall on the rich.



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