Monday 31 December 2012

Next Year Will Not Be Fun

In the UK media it is a commonplace that major events elsewhere or long running issues in other countries do not get much attention.  The trouble is that there are some critical matters both in the UK and elsewhere that are long run problems that will come to head.  When they do, it will come as a surprise with all the related flapping about and ill informed comment.

What has been happening is that in the UK and other places the various crises and difficulties often have one common feature.  That is they are not just a political, financial or governance crisis but they are in part to a greater or lesser degree a constitutional crisis.

Look around Europe and the America’s, including the USA and judge what these may be in the context of those states and what might be involved.  There can be current damage, continuing difficulties, perhaps paralysis in policy making and in some the real risk of a breakdown in government. 

It is becoming arguable that some of the Western “democracies” are no longer democratic, are adrift of the rule of law and are becoming ruled by a political class that is no longer interested in the continuance of democracy and its needs but only in its own survival as long as possible.

In the UK in 2012 we moved from a situation where we have a damaged and disabled constitution and a political set up apparently unable to come to terms with the basics of administration into what is becoming a full blown collapse of the UK as an independent or self governing state.

What could happen in 2013 is that this could become dangerous.  We are now at the half way point in the period of office of the Coalition and it is going nowhere.  Yet either the coalition must continue as it is or the Liberal Democrats decide to join up with the Labour Party as a last ditch attempt to save their skins.

The recent map produced about the political division of England into a Conservative South and East and a Labour North and West was a striking example of one of the most serious weaknesses.  It means that Labour are about one part, plus elements of London and the Conservatives about another and that based largely on the London economy.

At the same time pundits point out that a Conservative weakness is its lack of appeal to some minorities.  This means some marginal constituencies are at risk.  This blog has said often before that one of the most disastrous features of our electoral system since World War 2 has been the grossly disproportionate influence that winning the marginal seats has meant.

This has meant economic policies, government spending and a whole raft of activity dictated by the needs of small minorities of voters in a minority of constituencies.  We have paid a heavy economic price for this in the serious distortions that followed.

In the House of Commons we are now in a situation where the fiddling with boundaries etc. during the Labour term of office altered the balance in their favour and this is worsening as time goes by.  The Liberal Democrats have blocked reforms out of narrow self interest.

There is a House of Lords that essentially does not represent anybody except the Westminster political elite, with a huge number of members.  They may add to the entertainment but they do not add to effective government.  Again reform is blocked and it seems impossible to have a really representative second chamber. 

The combination with devolution on one hand with greater and more pervasive administrative centralisation on the other has led to local government being neither local nor government.  The alteration of the Civil Service to an organisation geared to the modern cult of rent seeking management and doing it badly is another feature of the disaster.

Then there is the larger question of the EU of which there is more than enough comment in other places.  Just what it is, what it is supposed to do, what it actually does, who is in charge, what are the control systems and where is the money going are all among the great mysteries of the universe.

Given the way the coalition has been going, the Conservative government under Cameron should have been putting up positive policies to deal with the various problems and especially to sort out the constitutional mess.  In the past they could then have gone to the country to seek its mandate.

But in a spasm of lunacy they have denied themselves this crucial option which could be necessary to begin to be effective.  We are now stuck with “five year terms”.  In 2010 they took over a situation where the previous government had deliberately left a “scorched earth” situation and with a dire financial situation.  In this situation why on earth tie your hands in this way?

They are drifting into a situation where the Labour party who caused the disaster may come back into power on the back of a grossly unrepresentative electoral system and a second chamber made up of placemen.  On top of this could be the beginnings of the break up of any idea of a United Kingdom.

This is the potential constitutional crisis for 2013.  While some minorities would want this to happen all the preconditions are in place for a wholesale paralysis of government.  Only in 2013 there are not going to be any fun events to distract us. 

It is a long time since politics “got serious” in the UK.  It could be about to happen.


  1. Indeed the civilisation known as the West has come to the end of it's shelf life and is disintegrating in the process. We have had our day and only have a much needed sharp nasty shock to come left. This will either wake us up to rejuvenate and reform or it will render us unconscious and into oblivion.

  2. Thank you for your shrewd analysis. I often feel I live amongst lemmings. No one seems to want to really face up to things as they are. Sincere regards for the coming year.

  3. NEXT YEAR will be sooo much FUN
    Fighting the Heeland Cooncil here,
    I have never had so much FUN.

    HAPPY Bunnies.