Thoughts on the British election

1. It's amazing how quickly they form a new government.  We could learn something from this.

2. Spending cuts will be necessary.  (I am curious: what is the U.S. "progressive" take on this question.  Is it admitted that spending cuts are necessary?)

3. Tax increases will be necessary.  (Do U.S. commentators on the right admit this?)

4. Britain should avoid proportional representation.  Classic parliamentary systems are good at making big changes in a hurry, when the major party knows which changes are needed, and that is Britain's current position.  It's no accident that Thatcher and Roger Douglas — both of whom operated under extreme Westminster systems – were two of the major reformers in the late 20th century.  PR gives too much power to minority parties in the ex post electoral bargain and it works best when there is extreme consensus at the social level, combined with the need to bring certain co-optable minorities into that consensus.  Is that the way to think about UK politics today?  I don't see it.  Does any objective observer jump for joy when a "first past the post" election yields a hung Parliament and requires a coalition, as it does now?  No, so why institutionalize this need with PR?

5. Do paragraphs like this make you feel better?: "William Hague, the new foreign secretary, said the coalition would be built on the personal chemistry of Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg, and said that Mr Clegg would not get a veto on government decisions. He told the BBC: “Their ability to resolve this situation bodes very well for all our ability to work together in government.”"  They shouldn't.


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