The Great Debate UK
- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own. –
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is on a mission to shore up support within his own party for the tripling of university tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats campaigned with a manifesto pledge claiming they would axe fees if they ever got into power. They got the power, but only via a coalition with the Conservative party, and though they claim that some Lib Dem pledges survived the coalition talks, the policy on tuition fees actually went the other way.
MPs will vote on the tuition fees policy tomorrow. Clegg has stated that all his ministers will support the government line, but though the ministers have been whipped into line, it looks like a large number of Lib Dem backbenchers are unhappy with their new reputation as the ‘Fib Dems’. Potentially a large number of them will vote against their own policy or abstain from voting altogether.
This rebellion over a key piece of legislation could be the beginning of the end for the coalition. A coalition government requires compromise, some favoured policies will be axed so that others survive and the result is a curious blend of the pledges made by two parties – often neither party will be entirely happy with their joint proposals.
– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
Fears of a hung parliament following the UK’s general election may be overstated. With Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s third largest party, performing well in the first prime ministerial debate, sterling has received a mild knock. Investors do not like the uncertainty that goes with a hung parliament. While many European countries are used to coalition government, the UK is traditionally a two-party system – with government swinging between Labour and the Conservatives.
- Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -
It’s fair to say that the results of the European elections in Britain were something of a shock. Of course, it was evident that Labour was going to do badly and the BNP’s success in winning its first European seats did not come entirely out of the blue. But the collapse of Labour’s vote exceeded what most had predicted, and the realisation that the BNP now has 2 of the UK’s 72 MEPs is more dramatic than the possibility that it might occur.