Saturday, May 08, 2010


After a late evening at Nuffield College in Oxford, we all seemed to agree that the outcome was the best we could have hoped for. After all, the Tories did not get an outright majority and, looking at their actual policies, a Lib-Lab coalition would make the most sense. Unlike the free market German Free Democrats (FDP), the Liberal Democrats are in many ways more of European-style social democrats (see below). But such an analysis fails to take into account a number of things. First, Nick Glegg has promised to first seek a coalition with the largest party, second, what the lib-dems most of all want is electoral reform and third, with this in mind, if Brown is seen as desperately clinging to power, a future referendum on whether or not to switch to a proportional electoral system may in effect become a referendum on the coalition instead.

In any case, I must admit that as a foreigner I know too little to really speculate. Meanwhile, all hell seems to have broken out on the world markets. In the best of worlds, judicious politicians would use the current economic crisis to complete the European monetary union with a strong fiscal and political union. In reality, Merkel in particular has shown an exemplary lack of leadership and a profound inability to communicate to her voters how dependent the European countries already are on each other. With idealism already in short supply throughout the continent, and leading intellectuals retreating into being “critical” rather than recognizing how fragile the liberal project really is, we seem to be in for a rough ride.


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