Category Archives: political instability

Cameron, conjurer of terrible political problems out of thin air

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.51.15The re-election of the British prime minister David Cameron, writes Dalrymple,

solves nothing of the crisis of political legitimacy in Britain (constitutional legitimacy is something else).

With turnout of 66 percent

and the British party system balkanised, Cameron won re-election with the suffrage of 24.7 percent of the adult population. A vote for the Scottish National Party weighed nearly 150 times more heavily as far as representation was concerned as did a vote for the United Kingdom Independence Party. (It took 25,974 votes to elect an SNP member of parliament, 3,881,129 to elect a Ukip one.) A vote for the SNP weighed 25 times more than a vote for the Greens. The SNP won 50 percent of the votes in Scotland but 95 percent of the seats.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.18.10The British now live, Dalrymple points out,

in an unrepresentative democracy.

Cameron

promised a referendum on membership of the European Union, a promise that would be difficult even for Houdini to escape; and if it goes against membership, the Scots, who are Europhile but anti-English, might declare their independence and try to remain in the European Union.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 08.15.47Nor would independence

be without potential for creating deep divisions, bitterness, and conflict in Scotland itself. The potential for chaos north and south of the border is enormous.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.58.05One of Britain’s prevailing assets has been its political stability. But that stability

has evaporated, probably for good—with potentially disastrous results for its financial sector, upon which it so strongly (though foolishly) depends.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 08.05.05Terrible political problems

have been conjured out of nothing except the ambition of politicians.

And

the country’s deeper problems—its low productivity, its abysmal cultural and educational levels—remain not only unanswered, but unremarked.

Britain’s election disaster

Lynton Crosby: political engineer

Winner: political engineer Lynton Crosby

The worst possible outcome for the Greece of the North Sea

Examining the results of the 2015 UK general election, Dalrymple notes that now,

to all Britain’s intractable problems — low productivity, abysmal cultural level, addiction to debt — have been added political instability and the prospect of chaos.

The poll, he writes, was both one of the most important, and one of the most boring, for many years.

It was important because

Winner: Nicola Sturgeon resembles an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress

Winner: Nicola Sturgeon resembles an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress

it destroyed Britain’s reputation for political stability. This is of enormous significance for a country that is so heavily dependent on financial services, having little else to offer the world, for money doesn’t like political turmoil. Half a trillion dollars has left and might not come back.

It was boring because

all the candidates were boring. Apart from Nicola Sturgeon, who looked like an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress, all the three main candidates contrived to look the same. They had smooth, characterless faces and often eschewed [neck-] ties for fear of intimidating with smartness the slobs and slatterns who are one of the country’s largest constituencies.

Loser

Loser: conflict and chaos are coming

The candidates looked less like people than

products designed by political engineers.

Neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg nor Ed Miliband ever cracked a joke,

at least not knowingly. No one in Britain can tell any longer the difference between earnestness and seriousness. A joke will only get you into trouble — someone will take it literally and be offended. It is best not to make one, even if you are capable of it, which in these three cases is doubtful.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 23.59.36Cameron remains prime minister, but that is

not the same thing as political stability.

Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.19.59was workable and not grotesquely unfair when there were two overwhelmingly preponderant parties, but with the balkanisation of the political scene, the system is unworkable. The British now live in an unrepresentative democracy which produces gross distortions in parliament.

3.9m votes = 1 seat; 1.4m votes = 56 seats

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 23.58.23The biggest swing was to the UK Independence Party. It received 12.6% of the votes and one seat, compared with the Scottish National Party’s 4.7% of the votes and 56 seats. Dalrymple concludes:

No system that produces such a result can retain its legitimacy.

The system has given the SNP a near-monopoly of Scottish seats, so that

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 00.04.41the representation of Scotland in parliament would be worthy of the results of a Soviet election.

Moreover, for as long as the threat of Scottish independence remains,

stability cannot return to Britain. Chaos and conflict are just around the corner.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 08.18.12Britain’s one

indisputably successful and world-beating economic activity [apart from binge-drinking], namely financial skulduggery, might contract or collapse, because such skulduggery needs an environment of political stability.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 10.34.06Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.18.10