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PUNCH AND JUDY KNOCKOUT

10-05-2010

The Leaders

It's looking likely that David Cameron will soon be Prime Minister - probably in alliance with the Lib Dems. But Dr David Nicholl wonders whether an alternative should be considered to prevent the country heading the way of Greece.

Gordon Brown could not be PM and hold popular support given that he lacks a popular mandate.

Given that both Labour and the Tories have tacitly admitted that the cuts required will be more severe than those under Mrs Thatcher, how will the LibDems go into partnership with them?

A prominent economic think tank heavily criticised all three parties for their economic policy.

Last week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said none of the three largest parties at Westminster has come "anywhere close" to making clear where cuts would be made to meet their deficit reduction targets over the next four years.

The irony is, given the fuss over the election it is remarkable that none of us actually know what the specific details of what we have voted for - none of the parties have said what cuts will be made nor what taxes will rise. What is the alternative, after all both the Conservatives and LibDems promise they will act in the national interest?

Given the scale of our economic difficulties, is it time to call for a government of national unity.

In 2005, Cameron once promised the end of “Punch and Judy” politics - maybe now is the time to do renew that promise.

Neither the British public nor the financial markets will tolerate a weak indecisive government. The scale of the economic challenges facing us are so epic - a deficit of around £167 billion - that for any government to truly tackle those challenges will lead to them being kicked “out of power for a whole generation” according to the Governor of the Bank of England.

A government of national unity could be set up for a limited period- say 2 years, this would force all 3 parties to work together, as they did successfully in the Second World War. Some may say this is too extreme, but when none of the three major parties have been honest about how they will resolve our current financial crisis.

When voters realise how they have been misled, there is a very real possibility of widespread discontent, when a coalition government tries to implement a draconian policy. But would Cameron, Clegg and Brown put aside their differences to do just that?

Would they have the courage to truly work with their political opponents and risk the wrath of their party? That would be truly in the national interest in the long term, but in the short term - very risky.

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