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Does David Cameron Have a Future After Latest Election Defeat?

His moderation may be his — and the UK economy's — undoing.

by
Mike McNally

Bio

March 10, 2013 - 12:00 am
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In the wake of another special-election drubbing in Britain, questions are again being asked about the future of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. While he has no shortage of critics on the left, more significant is the growing dissent within his own party. If the knives are not quite out for Cameron yet, some of his MPs are certainly hovering close to the cutlery.

The latest special election (they’re called by-elections in the UK) was won by the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives’ partners in the coalition government. The Lib Dem victory was not unexpected; the problem for Cameron is that his party was beaten into third place by UKIP, the anti-European Union, tough-on-immigration party that has been attracting growing numbers of former Tory voters.

Meanwhile, Britain’s economy stubbornly refuses to grow, and although unemployment has been falling, so have been living standards as stagnant wages are outstripped by inflation. The pound is close to recent historic lows against both the dollar and the euro, with both inflation and the fall in sterling exacerbated by the Bank of England’s ongoing policy of using quantitative easing — printing money — to try to jumpstart the economy.

Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne have failed to bring borrowing under control, and last month the UK lost its AAA credit rating with Moody’s. The downgrade isn’t the end of the world — Britain’s borrowing costs remain low, and after the U.S. was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s in 2011, its borrowing costs fell — but the downgrade is a political setback, if not a serious economic one.

Increasingly, Cameron is under pressure from many in his party to adopt more traditionally Tory policies on the economy, public spending, and immigration ahead of the 2015 general election. Not only, goes the argument, are these policies necessary in their own right; they’ll also neutralize the UKIP threat, and prevent a repeat of the 2010 election when UKIP is widely thought to have denied the Tories an outright majority by splitting the small-c conservative vote in marginal seats.

Responding to the latest setback, Cameron has insisted he will not “lurch” to the right, although in the run-up to last week’s contest he was showing signs of doing just that with talk of curtailing immigrants’ access to benefits and healthcare — precisely the sorts of issues on which he’s been outflanked by UKIP. His detractors, however, suspect it was only talk, designed to steal UKIP’s thunder.

Cameron’s ministers have also been floating policies designed to win back lost voters, notably the withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. The Court has made a habit of preventing Britain from deporting suspected terrorists on the grounds that they might be tortured, and from deporting foreign criminals because it would breach their “right to a family life.”

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All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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The 70s and 80s are going to play out all over again in the UK. The current Tory government are the equivalent of Heath's Tory government of the early 70s - weak, ineffectual, poncy, back-pedalling. They'll be hammered at the next election in '15 by the Labour socialists, who will dig the country into even worse economic territory with more tax, spending and borrowing. Then in '20 the Tories will have gotten their act together, gotten some real conservatives in there, and the country will repair itself (relatively speaking, of course) over the next 15 years with successive Tory governments.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry for double post. I forgot that the new comments system puts new material at the top. Mods please delete the extra one when convenient. :)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I sincerely hope he doesn't. All he (or George Osborne, the Chancellor) have to offer is more of the same - propping up the greedy, dishonest sociopaths in the City of London and protecting them from what should be the consequences of their greed, pumping billions of pounds of freshly printed money into the banks - where it promptly disappears, never to be seen again by anyone who actually works for a living.

The proposed cap on banking industry bonuses should be revised - to zero. The bankers cannot be trusted. Else why would RBS, which lost over £5 BILLION last year, still have found the money to pay £600 million in bonuses to its City gamblers? And this is despite the fact that HMG could stop the bonuses altogether, given that HMG owns over 80% of that bank.

What we need in the UK is a Conservative leader and Chancellor that didn't go to Eton. Maybe then, what should be done would be done - which is to take steps to restore manufacturing industry in the UK.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you saying that the whole thing was the fault of evil bankers? Don't be so quick to absolve politicians of blame. The bankers were stupid, for sure, but the crisis wasn't entirely their creation. The politicians shoulder a huge amount of blame as well. The sub-prime NINJA mortage was created by clinton's administration, and forced on the mortgage industry. This had the effect of eliminating risk, as the US government stood behind those mortgages, supposedly. What do you think bankers are going to do when the goverment tells them "there is no risk in these mortgages"? they're going to figure out the best way to make as much money as possible from it, and jump in at the deep end, which they did.

there's no excuse for the idiocy of the bankers, and they should not have been bailed out. We should have let them go bankrupt, and let the assets pass from the clearly incompetent, to the competent, at knock-down prices. Then start again. We would have had a proper depression, but we would have healed the problem by now or nearly. But instead they've elected to condemn us to decades of pain, by bailing them out, and giving us a zombie economy.

but don't tell me it's all the fault of the bankers, because it isn't - by a huge margin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I sincerely hope he doesn't. All he (or George Osborne, the Chancellor) have to offer is more of the same - propping up the greedy, dishonest sociopaths in the City of London and protecting them from what should be the consequences of their greed, pumping billions of pounds of freshly printed money into the banks - where it promptly disappears, never to be seen again by anyone who actually works for a living.

The proposed cap on banking industry bonuses should be revised - to zero. The bankers cannot be trusted. Else why would RBS, which lost over £5 BILLION last year, still have found the money to pay £600 million in bonuses to its City gamblers? And this is despite the fact that HMG could stop the bonuses altogether, given that HMG owns over 80% of that bank.

What we need in the UK is a Conservative leader and Chancellor that didn't go to Eton. Maybe then, what should be done would be done - which is to take steps to restore manufacturing industry in the UK.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
David Cameron follows in the tradition of former PMs Harold ("winds of change") Macmillan and Ted ("confirmed bachelor") Heath. Cameron is caught in a vise not unlike the Republicans here. Does he cater to the City's demands for special protection of monopolistic capital, or does he pay attention to the concerns of core Conservative voters? So far, Cameron has chosen the City. UKIP may well eclipse him, simply because it takes High Street voters' concerns seriously, especially the protection of small savers against predatory City banksters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm no expert on British politics, but it seems to me that the opinion of the voters is of no import to Cameron right now. The only thing that matters at the moment is the opinion of the LibDem MP's in his coalition. No matter what the polls say he can only go as far as his coalition partners will allow him. I do not envy him. He has to plot a course between coalition breakup and alienating voters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have been fiercely independent the whole of my life. As a GDI, I do not blindly follow any dogma...especially down a path of ruin.

I decide issues based upon facts, evidence and argument that is persuasive and intelligent.

Then, and only then...do I choose a side.

However....rampant, runaway, radical leftism is the scourge of the planet and has Europe on the brink and America on the run. It currently despises Israel and wallows in treason, slander and propaganda.

Opposing radical leftism is the job of every man and woman of honor. All other issues pale in comparison. Cameron is not a centrist if he becomes a toe-dipper.

What I want my friends on the right of me to understand, is that not all GDI's are squishy. (and please, stop using the term "RINO", it's beneath anyone who has the IQ above a Chia Pet, every time someone takes an independent stance. Use it sparingly, if ever. A little goes a long way with that epithet. The overuse of it immediately destroys credibility of the speaker, like any other kneejerk slur)

There is a difference between a center-rightist and a toe-dipper. Cameron should be aware of that difference.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cameron is the John McCain of British politics; he leads the conservative party but essentially rejects all conservative ideas. His frantic efforts to legalize gay marriage reveal a man who wants the socialists to love him. If both parties represent the same ideas and ideals why bother to vote. We are getting very close to that in the former USA. With McCain and Graham leading the Republican party what is the point of taking the effort to vote for the Republican party which has become Obama lite?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I heavily sympathize since I've chosen to register independent when I turned 18 in 2012. I ideologically lean libertarian too. But I'm not giving up. There's even hope yet the GOP can find itself again. For one thing, they hold 30 governorships and 58 state houses. And they hold the House (despite not fully utilizing the power they have). Also forget the fact that you've got people like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Scott Walker who are leading the charge in their own right in the name of liberty. If you're gonna gripe go be a Democrat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I love liberals. They have no chance at ever being successful because right and wrong and success and failure are apportioned out according to race and gender, rather than reality.

If rain gets you wet, it doesn't matter how much you've politicized and radicalized yourself into hating the idea - you'll still get wet.

The UK should end all immigration while they still have a country that won't resemble those they used to exploit. Like it or not, it is what it is and people should adjust themselves to this reality, because there's an awful lot of soaking wet people proclaiming themselves dry.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even from this distance I've sensed Cameron's reluctance to fully embrace Tory - or conservative - principles. He seems to be walking a very fine line, indeed, and creating organized opposition that may very well lead back to a Labour goverment. A shame. I hope he takes a careful look at where he's going and averts disaster.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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