Tony Blair has called an election for May 5th. Labour has been down in the polls for the last year (largely due to the unpopular deployment of troops to Iraq). Normally, Blair would have waited until Labour's support surged in the polls but current British law requires that elections be held at least every 4 years and the clock was running out for Blair's government.
The lucky thing for Tony Blair is that the main opposition party, the Conservatives or "Tories," also support the war in Iraq and voters support Labour more than the Tories on most domestic issues.
That brings us to the Liberal Democrats. This is the inheritor of the great Liberal tradition in British politics. They began as "Whigs" and as the Liberals they were in government often in Victorian/Edwardian period. But since World War I, the Liberals have been a third party struggling to survive in a "first-past-post" (single member district) electoral system. The Lib Dems are the only party in Britain to have opposed the war in Iraq. And they support full rights for immigrants. They have largely abandoned (or at least suppressed) their economic liberalism in favor of social liberalism.
My hope is that Labour will lose enough support to force a coalition with the Lib Dems but not so much support that the Tories regain power. At the very least it would be a rare coalition for British politics and give political scientists like me something to fuss about for a decade or so.
So what do you think? Who shall Rule Britania?
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 7:19 AM