The Fall of Her Majesty's Government

For the first time since March of 1979, Her Majesty’s Government faces the possibility of a “No Confidence” vote in the Parliament. While this vote is unlikely (but it is not impossible) to succeed, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under increasing pressure due, primarily, to a scandal that has rocked the United Kingdom. Multiple members of the British Parliament have been caught defrauding the British taxpayers by receiving government reimbursements for personal expenses. These expenses include the payment of the mortgage on a second home, the cleaning of a moat (something could never happen here in American because I don’t know if there is an American who has a moat around his residence) and the paying for the pornographic movies of the husband of a Member of Parliament.

However, this is not the only reason. Mr. Brown and his cabinet ministers are seen as being ineffective in dealing with the global recession. Mr. Brown, in his role as First Lord of Her Majesty’s Treasury, has emptied the British treasury with little or no results.

The Prime Minister is no longer in control of the government. So far, he has lost four government ministers, including two Cabinet Ministers. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was forced to resign because of the scandal. (The British Home Secretary is roughly the equivalent of a combination of the US Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.) Imagine the political toll it would take on President Obama if Attorney General Eric Holder or Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano were forced to resign because of financial misdeeds.

However, on Wednesday, Mr. Brown was dealt his biggest blow. On the eve of local and European elections in the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, announced her resignation due to the expense scandal. Ms. Blears is the cabinet minister with direct responsibility for Thursday’s elections. Her resignation came despite pleas from the Prime Minister to wait until Friday when the election was over. Ms. Blears’ actions are seen as a direct assault on Mr. Brown’s authority as the leader of the Labour Party and, therefore as Prime Minister.

It has been reported that the Queen is so personally troubled by the scandal that she has told Mr. Brown that his failure to get control of the situation is running the risk of having the elected government lose the moral authority to legitimately govern her realm. In an action that would break with the tradition of modern Britain, there is speculation that the Queen may call for a new general election without the request of her government. This would be an extremely bold step and is highly unlikely in that such an action by a constitutional monarch would endanger the monarchy itself.

As the Labour Party suffers humiliating losses in the local elections, the European election, the by-election for the seat of the Labour Speaker, Michael Martin (who was also forced to resign as a result of the expense scandal), there is a growing danger that the Labour Party will no longer be one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom. The Liberal Democrats may become the second of the two major parties. After today, Labour Party officials may no longer be able to claim to voters that they shouldn’t waste their votes on the Lib Dems because they are a third party.

The prospect of the status as a third party cannot be a pleasant thought for the Labour Party members. With its historical link to organized labor no longer a selling-point, what does a third place Labour Party stand for?

The Conservative Party is poised to win big victories in today’s elections. This will set the stage for a return of the Tories to power in the next British general election, which must be held by June 3, 2010. Current projections show that the Tories will have a 15 seat majority in the new Parliament. Hopefully, as Prime Minister, Tory leader, David Cameron, will show the free world that through conservative economic principals, an industrial Western democracy can recover from a recession without significant government intervention. It certainly appears as if he will be given the chance.

1 comment:

The Daily Pander said...

The political parties led by the two biggest supporters of the Iraq war are decimated, at least in the public eye (though Labour was hardly as supportive as Republicans). I don't think it's a total coincidence. Not sure what the meaning is, but I don't think it's lost on party brass.