On the Today programme yesterday morning, Monday 19 April, Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home, standing in because no official spokesman from his party was yet ready to go on air, said that the support for the Liberal Democrats meant ?what we are seeing is an anti-politics phenomenon?.
On the contrary, it is political in the best sense. It is a rejection of domination by the two-party system, and its evident corruption. The polls that reported more voters want a hung parliament than support either Labour or the Tories, before the Lib Democracy surge, suggest that Clegg caught a pent-up force in his sails. It?s not that his rigging wasn?t attractive, it is just that it didn?t create the wind.
From ‘A Thousand Years of History: Britain in Europe 1066-2066’, Oxford University Press, 2070.
Britain’s ‘national government’ of 2010 was not unprecedented. Britons had accepted patriotic coalitions before during the First Great Recession and Second World War. Still, David Cameron’s Conservatives fought hard in the aftermath of that year?s general election to preserve a minority government propped up by an unlikely assortment of regional parties and independents. But industrial unrest and a stuttering economic recovery ate away at investor confidence in Britain?s public finances. With pressure on sterling mounting, Cameron was finally forced to invite Liberal leader, Nick Clegg, into a national coalition.
The British Election Debates, the Lib Dem Surge and the Americanisation of Our Politics, Gerry Hassan
The British election campaign is shaking up many of the in-built assumptions and contours of British politics.
Despite three decades of upheaval under Thatcherism and Blairism, the advocates of these approaches implemented their ideas, while keeping many of the traditional structures and assumptions of the British political system intact. These are now being exposed, questioned and put under scrutiny in a way they seldom have before.
In Britain, there is growing anxiety among mainstream parties about the increasing popularity of the BNP and the impact this may have upon the forthcoming election. The widespread assumption that economic hardship is the main factor responsible for the current surge in popularity of the new radical right across Europe ignores the fact that it made notable progress at a time of economic prosperity and also overlooks the structural factors explaining its success. The new radical right has managed to overcome the traditional split between left and right by combining strong anti-establishment resentment and potent demands for democratic reform with the use of protest and identity politics as mobilizing agents. Such a strategy stands in sharp contrast to the notable difficulties for ideological renewal displayed by most traditional parties.
The usual third-running Liberal Democrats party has leapt into second place, and the Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties are expected to pick up seats.