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Tony Grist

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Rainbows And Roses [May. 13th, 2010|09:47 am]
Tony Grist
The handover of power was a subfusc affair, but now it's all rainbows and roses.  Clegg and Cameron smile and banter and invade one another's personal space as if they were lovers. Did Cameron just refer to his new government as Liberal-Conservative? Yes, indeed he did. I think he revealed a bit of his soul there. Cameron has worked very hard to distance himself from the whole knights of the shire side of conservatism. He wants to be cool- and I think he's secretly thrilled to have the undeniably cool Nick Clegg take him to his bosom. Is he, then, a little in love with Nick? Yes, I believe he is; the body language doesn't lie.

OK, it won't last. Bad  things will happen. But there's a Freedom Bill coming down the road which will clear away a whole lot of the repressive, statist lumber that Blair and Brown put in place.  No ID cards, no national database, no retaining of the DNA of people hauled in by the cops for trivial offences, a ring-fencing of trial by jury.  This is wonderful, substantive stuff.  Britain just got a whole lot more green and pleasant. None of us were expecting this. We were expecting an alliance of clenched jaws and gritted teeth and what we're getting is a chorus from Hair. I can hardly believe- grizzled anarcho-lefty that I am- that I'm cheering the doings of a Conservative Prime Minister, but then all of us- no matter where we stand on the political spectrum-  are feeling a little giddy and disorientated right now.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-05-13 12:21 pm (UTC)
I can cope with the idea of Liberal Conservative. It's not that different from New Labour without the control-freakery. It's the hang-em and flog-em Daily Maily weakest-to-the-wall God-bothering jingoistic neo-cons that make me queasy.

I don't know how long I can hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 01:44 pm (UTC)
Cameron has used the Conservative party as his ladder to power, just as Blair did with the Labour party. He has little in common with his activists- and I doubt that the Mail is his newspaper of choice. Will he be able to keep the nasties in check? I think he probably will, but he'll also need to toss them the occasional bone.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-05-13 01:20 pm (UTC)
Absolutely fascinating.

I cannot claim to understand the situation at No 10, because it is impossible to have such a coalition government in the US, even were it ideologically possible.

However, the situation over there does seem to explain the mentality of a concern-troll piece the BBC put up, a while back, about how Real Americans(TM) yearn for bi-partisan government. I suspect now that the correspondent may not have been conscious of spouting nonsense, but was just inappropriately projecting what he knew from back home onto the US political scene, with hilarious results.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 01:54 pm (UTC)
We weren't keen on bipartisan government either- until the voting system delivered it- and a lot of people still aren't. The Lib-Con love affair could easily be wrecked by hardline ideologues refusing to play along.
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[User Picture]From: silverhawkdruid
2010-05-13 02:44 pm (UTC)
I know, and isn't it fun? LOL And until yesterday I didn't even know that DC's favourite joke was NC. *g* DC can pull a good face!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 03:23 pm (UTC)
I think we should enjoy it while we can :)
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2010-05-13 04:30 pm (UTC)
As I recall, every time there was an election of any kind over here in the US (up until the hard line conservatives started in on Bill Clinton, anyway) both the "ins" and the "outs" promised publicly that "we will work together". What in HELL happened to that?
If your Brit government's new coalition works to break gridlock and truly "work together", then just maybe our people will take the example. There is yet hope...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 06:21 pm (UTC)
This coalition is taking everyone by surprise. I've no idea whether there are lessons here for American politicians. My fear is the divisions between US liberals and conservatives are too fiercely ideological to be bridged.

Edited at 2010-05-13 06:22 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-05-14 10:24 am (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. I think that if (New) Labor and the BNP could form a successful coalition, then there might be hope for cooperation between the Democratic and Republican parties. That seems a much more realistic analogy than Lib-Con.

Personally, I think bipartisan cooperation is sometimes necessary and sometimes not. As a fetish, I find it as incomprehnsible as an unnatural attraction to feet, especially when one party is dedicated to eliminating the Federal government altogether - except for the War Department, of course, and the tax-collecting apparatus that supports it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-14 11:43 am (UTC)
When I look at the US political scene I remember that your Civil War is a very recent historical event- and its wounds still raw.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-05-14 04:31 pm (UTC)
I suppose our Civil War is somewhat recent. In my grandfather's youth, many veterans were still alive - his grandfather included.

The problem is that the war ended without extinguishing the Southern cause. The English put a stop to the Jacobites by depopulating the Highlands - brutal, but highly effective. Imagine Scotland for the next century and a half if they had just bolted a lid on it and went home.

Ethnically, culturally, the populations are comparable. Here in Appalachia, many of our ancestors were descendants of those Highlanders, come here by way of Ireland.
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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2010-05-13 06:24 pm (UTC)
I agree.

Labour impinged on civil liberties to an outrageous extent. I'm very glad they're gone.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 06:42 pm (UTC)
I still feel sort of Labour at heart. But my Labour party is the party of Attlee and Jenkins and Foot- and I'm not sure it exists any more.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2010-05-13 07:27 pm (UTC)
We were expecting an alliance of clenched jaws and gritted teeth and what we're getting is a chorus from Hair.

That is a wonderful sentence. I hope it keeps up!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-13 07:42 pm (UTC)
It won't. Sooner or later they're going to have to take action to cut the enormous national deficit- and then everyone will hate them.
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[User Picture]From: ooxc
2010-05-13 09:36 pm (UTC)
We've already got ID cards in a way - our bus passes now register their number on the swipe machine, so the bus company has a complete record of each person's travel.
I don't mind this too much. It does, at least mean that, if i had another bad fall, someone would know where to start looking. (Yes, I do try to let someone know if I'm going right off the usual routes, but it gets tiresome and I don't always remember.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-14 08:23 am (UTC)
I didn't know that.

I believe I become eligible for a bus pass next year. I'm looking forward to it.
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[User Picture]From: ooxc
2010-05-14 08:35 am (UTC)
The swipe system is on the Arriva Wales buses - the small private bus companies don't use it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-14 09:03 am (UTC)
I'd be riding on the buses that ply their trade round Greater Manchester. I guess they probably have the technology.
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[User Picture]From: ooxc
2010-05-14 09:49 am (UTC)
Seems likely, but I don't know whtwthe the scanner is Welsh Assembly funded - as are the passes - or Arriva. We've has free passes so much longer than England has had them
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-14 09:50 am (UTC)
Most of the buses round here are run by Stagecoach, I think.
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