Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brave New World

So, the UK has a new prime minister, Europe has a new and huge bailout fund, and I am blogging from a cafe in Paris: all firsts. The euro seems to have stopped plummeting for the moment, along with the markets. In the not even very long run, however, the financial crisis is going to turn political, and I think the outcome(s) is(are) very difficult to foresee. Krugman and many others see an eventual Greek exit from the euro as the only way out, but even such a drastic move may not alleviate the problem. Normally pessimistic, I am even moreso today, and the government of Cameron and Clegg in Britain doesn't promise much; I would be surprised if such a coalition contre nature lasts a year. But the coffee is good, and I.ve got to run. Patience. I'll be back to normal blogging soon. Meanwhile, read yesterday's Le Monde for an interesting article on Sarkozy's style and its ultimate failure.

5 comments:

Passerby said...

The preliminary list of the 30 French soccer players selected to play at the worldcup is not among your top-news?

Greek-debt is so yesterday. Today in France, it's all about critizing/praising Domenech...

TexExile said...

Art, I think you misread the situation in the UK. The coalition will almost certainly last. For Cameron, it offers a way to neutralise the head-bangers in his own party. For Clegg, it gets the LibDems into government and helps pull the Tories towards the centre. And, frankly, it has been clear for some time that Clegg, Cable and other LibDem leaders would find it easier to work with Cameron & Co than with Labour.

The problem is that LibDem voters generally look the other way -- they dislike the Tories far more than they dislike Labour. At grassroots, the reverse is not always true -- I've known plenty of Labour activists and local councillors who LOATHE the LibDems and -- still -- blame them for 18 years of Tory rule. (The LibDems' job, apparently, was always just to fall in line and follow Labour; their failure to do so was a betrayal of the centre left...)

But the crucial considerations seem to me to be three:

-- No one wants another election soon, least of all the LibDems. They lack the funds for one and their voters are not likely to reward Clegg for this deal unless and until he can show them some real benefits from it.

-- The LibDems cannot quickly change partners without looking stupid and a deal with Labour would still need more or less all the nationalist parties in the United Kingdom on board. That would be hard for the Labour Party in the Celtic countries to swallow, but one could perhaps bring in Plaid Cymru and, at a stretch the SNP. That is all. Can anyone imagine trying to form a majority government at Westminster that relied on SINN FEIN?

-- Europe is on the back burner. No sane person in British politics wants to push the euro now, and Lisbon is a done deal, so the Tories and LibDems don't have to fight about the EU.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

OK, you may well be right. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

having spent the evening in a roomful of long-time Tories, none of them were really put off by the coalition. enfin, un ou deux peut-être (sur 10). mais riend de très grave.
the Lib-Tory marriage is done out of necessity. Many Conservatives appear lucid to the fact that, despite "winning", they nevertheless failed in winning a majority outright - they don't have the mandate they sought. the right-wingers will hammer on about sticking to principle - but which principle, or whose principle? for they themselves are divided along lines touching upon first principles (ie., whose justice? whose rationality?)
Overall, the Tories don't detest Lib-Dems - the latter are no real threat to their power (for now). Rather, I think Tories look down upon them, when they're not mocking them. The Liberals have more difficulty in containing their contempt they reserve the party that, after all, is bringing them into positions of power for the first time since Noah's Arc (or thereabouts)
That being said, the good people of Britain & N.Ireland have the new government on a very short leash and have barely the patience to give them a short period to tackle the pressing issues.


Chris P.

MYOS said...

Along the "Brave new world" series:
Le Monde may be dead in July.
Apparently, of course, not if politicians' friends can do something about it.
http://sarkofrance.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/la-bataille-du-monde/