Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coalition,

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LadyCentauria
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Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coalition,

Post by LadyCentauria »

This essay has been transferred from the FlyTheNest archive, maintaining the original layout
Temulkar wrote: Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coalition,

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David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the Rose Garden in 2010

“England does not love coalitions”, Disraeli’s typically spiteful quip at the Peelite-Whig coalition under Lord Aberdeen still resonates today in Cameron’s Britain. Disraeli was of course being disingenuous as coalition in the early part of the nineteenth century was a rarity. The Tory party dominance established in the fight against Napoleon continued until 1831 when the Whigs finally returned to power. However the adage stuck and has resonated down the last two centuries, Dizzy certainly had a way with words.

The Peelite coalition was then an aberration in British politics, especially in the two party system that dominated the first half of the nineteenth century. It is significant today as the first example of a Tory liberal coalition. However the emergence of the Home Rule party (later Irish nationals) had an effect that Tory supporters fretting over UKIP should take heed of. The emergence of another “liberal” party was a disaster for Gladstone and his party. It meant a succession of weak liberal administrations as Gladstone castrated the party over Irish home rule. The Earl of Beaconsfield must have been chortling in his tomb.

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Gladstone (left) and Dsraeli

As Cameron immolates the Tory party over gay marriage whilst pandering to the challenge of the Euro sceptic fringe, he risks the very kind of split that Disraeli railed against in 1852. The very kind of split that destroyed Labours electoral ambitions in the 1980s when the Gang of Four created the SDP (I wonder whether Shirley Williams remembers when she had principles?). Camerons ineptitude in coalition and the resistable rise of Norbert Fromage and the Kippers has divided the tories. The very kind of division that the Conservatives scrupulously avoided the second time they entered into coalition with the Liberals after the 1918 Election now threatens to castrate the Cameroons.

1918 was the very epitome of British Coalition although the parties at least stood on the coalition coupon rather than a post electoral back room deal. Lloyd George despite being the junior partner in terms of MP’s retained his premiership. However the coalition that he led was riddled with scandals. The original cash for honours affair, as well infighting about the introduction of social reforms tore the government apart with constant internal division. In the end the Goats overweening ambition spooked his conservative bedfellows and rather than risk the emergence of a Lloyd George party of the centre, at a meeting in the Carlton Club the Tory party reaffirmed their independence and the 1922 club was born. For many of the right however, the spirit of the original 1922 tories now resides with the swivel eyed of UKIP and for Tory electoral success that is a disaster.

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The welsh Wizard David Lloyd George, destroyed the liberals and would have destroyed the Tory party to further his own ambitions.

The Global Financial Crisis sparked off by the Wall Street Crash like today led to Coalition in order to deal with the Depression but, the National government formed in 1931 was only notionally a coalition whilst led by Labours Ramsey Macdonald, the conservatives held an absolute majority of seats and the government had over 500 members in the house. Space was at a premium on the government benches. The National Government was ultimately a disaster for both the state of the British economy and the reputation of Ramsey Macdonald. The economy remained steadfastly poor whilst the cuts to social benefits and introduction of means testing brought real hardship to the unemployed industrial workers. They never forgave Macdonald and he and his few supporters were branded traitors in language similar to the opprobrium heaped upon Nick Clegg today. Clement Atlee branded MacDonald’s actions as "the greatest betrayal in the political history of the country". In 1935 the voters spoke and Macdonald lost his seat. The once darling of the Labour movements fall from grace was complete; even today he is barely rehabilitated. The failure of austerity politics in the thirties should have been a salutary lesson for our coalition government but as Michael Gove so often demonstrates the evidence of history means nothing to our modern ideologues.

[youtube]OHs9IM_a0e0[/youtube]
Macdonald asks Britain for support for the National Government, the rhetoric is similar to today

Baldwin and later Chamberlains succession as leaders of a national government became even more of a farce as the Thirties drew to a close. The liberal party divided over coalition became steadily irrelevant as a political force whilst the conservative dominated government failed spectacularly to come to grips with the global financial crisis sparked off by the Wall Street Crash. Only under Chamberlain was there any sign of a plan B with the introduction of Holiday pay and moves to nationalise the coal fields but it was too little too late. Despite austerity driven appeasement the Second World War exploded destroying the vestiges of Britain’s Imperial security and ushering in the Modern Age.

Since 1945 Britain has been spared real coalition government until today. Coalitions in the past have destroyed reputations and political parties. Well might Nick Clegg look to the experience of the liberals after the Khaki coalition. Even more should he look to the fate of Ramsey Macdonald a man who should have been revered by the Labour party yet is still decried as a Judas for his betrayal of the movement. Twice before the liberal party has entered into peacetime coalition with the Tories, both times were disastrous for the party’s electoral fortunes but it is the Tory leadership that has most to learn from the past.

The Tory party has been shaped in the twentieth century by its aversion to coalition. Many on the right have rejected the politics of this coalition projecting UKIP forward as challenge to the Cameroons leadership in the Tory shires. UKIP will never be an electoral power in the heartlands of the left but their ability to split the rightwing vote is Cameron’s biggest hurdle. Cameron faces not only defeat in 2015 but a strong UKIP vote could turn that into disaster. It could also be the saving of the Liberal party as a fractured conservative vote could save some of their marginal’s. The unravelling of this coalition has the power as in the past to destroy the reputations of both leaders and the electoral chances of both their parties. Perhaps being rejected in 2010 during the heady days of Cleggmania was not such a bad thing. By avoiding coalition Labour may just have dodged an electoral bullet. That is scant consolation for another two years of coalition under Cameron, but hope at least for the future.
Edit: to give credit to Temulkar
Last edited by LadyCentauria on Sun 28 Sep, 2014 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LadyCentauria
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Re: Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coaliti

Post by LadyCentauria »

Does anyone know how to embed the youtube link in the above post? I've tried all permutations I could think of but couldn't make it work...

And should I copy people's comments across?

Ta x

{i}Edit: no actual edit, just a swift experiment[/i]
Last edited by LadyCentauria on Thu 26 Mar, 2015 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coaliti

Post by refitman »

LadyCentauria wrote:Does anyone know how to embed the youtube link in the above post? I've tried all permutations I could think of but couldn't make it work...

And should I copy people's comments across?

Ta x
Thanks for all this, you're a star.

Instructions on embedding Youtube videos can be found here: http://flythenest.org/viewtopic.php?p=1630#p1630" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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LadyCentauria
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Re: Ministries of the talentless, A Brief History of Coaliti

Post by LadyCentauria »

refitman wrote:
LadyCentauria wrote:Does anyone know how to embed the youtube link in the above post? I've tried all permutations I could think of but couldn't make it work...

And should I copy people's comments across?

Ta x
Thanks for all this, you're a star.

Instructions on embedding Youtube videos can be found here: http://flythenest.org/viewtopic.php?p=1630#p1630" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for that and for fixing the post for me. You :rock:
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This time, I'm gonna be stronger I'm not giving in...
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