The new sectarian era

6 May 2011

David Cameron has been gracious in victory and Nick Clegg has been dignified in defeat,
while Ed Miliband has felt like something of a bit-part player. The only real explanation of the drubbing of the Lib Dems is that their own voters have deserted them. The real story of election
night is that the Tory vote held up so well. Conservative ministers will feel emboldened in their cuts-reform double whammy agenda. The fact that their Coalition partners no longer have a mandate
should give them pause for thought. But it probably won’t. At this rate they are well on course for victory in 2015.

Nick Clegg may be urged to distance himself from his Coalition partners, but he really has no leverage now as his only choice is between sticking with it or annihilation. Much still depends on how
deeply the cuts bite in the south over the next six months to a year. But the reality is that we now have the confirmation that the country is more fragmented than it has been for decades. 
Scotland and Wales have gone their own way. But England is now officially split on sectarian lines between those who support and those who oppose the cuts.

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David Cameron has built his career on being a consensus politician but he is now the leader of a faction.

I think Nick Clegg was speaking from his heart when he said he thought people are worried about a return to brutal Thatcherism. He meant his people. He is now the leader of a rump.

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  • Jeremy


    “…Nick Clegg has been dignified in defeat.”

    That is probably the first time that I have read the word “dignified” in the same sentence as the words “Nick Clegg”.

    And is there a quotation from Doctor Johnson wrapped up in all of this? Go on, tell us what it is, then. We can’t all be as ferociously literate as Feargal Pickering…

  • Rhoda Klapp

    You get a mandate for a general election, on the basis of a manifesto. A coalition blows that apart, and you have to make deals. We went through all that a year ago, and there is nothing new.

    You do not get, or lose, a mandate when there is an election for a subset of council seats. Martin, you know this very well. Your post is drivel. It says nothing, other than that deals will go on being made.

    Why did you not write anything on these lines when Labour ‘lost their mandate’ in every council election of the millenium up to last week?

    And there are no cuts, you know that too. And your side spent all the money, and maxed out the credit card. You know that too. I can only conclude that you are a tribalist. Get a grip.

  • Victor Southern

    ” England is now officially split on sectarian lines between those who support and those who oppose the cuts”.

    It is also split between those who eat meat and vegetarians, between Catholic and Protestant, between fans of various football clubs, between coffee and tea drinkers, smokers and non-smokers, men and women, between those who talk sense and those who talk nonsense.

    Martin Bright is clearly in the last category. I have asked before that he rerurn to the Guardian and the New Statesman or the BBC. He has nothing of value to contribute to the Spectataor.

  • seb

    Perhaps LibDem supporters don’t understand the consequences of borrowing hundreds of millions of pounds every week just to keep the state functioning. Perhaps they don’t understand the sums of money drained from the nation’s economy by paying interest on the overdraft left behind by Kirkcaldy’s (formerly) Leading Autist. Perhaps LibDem supporters believe, along with millions of others, that governments are like the weather, a phenomenon that is just “there”. The lack of nous of such supporters, as well as constituting an argument for the abandonment of democracy, means they belong with Labour. With delusional mass-producers of lies like Miliband, Brown, Cooper, Balls. They will tell you that government is about intentions, not performance or honesty. That whatever government costs, the cost is not an issue. Did such supporters really think Clegg was as stupid as they are? I believe they did.

  • Fergus Pickering

    What do you mean, Cameron is the leader of a faction? He is the leader of the Tory party. Red Ed, God help you all, is the leader of another faction, the Labour Party. That’s how it works, my pinko friend. I agree you can’t call the Lib Dems a faction because they are really TWO factions, the sensible ones on the right and the bloody fools on the left.

    I assume you are echoing Doctor Johnson, but only thee and me get that. I blame the comprehensives myself. I assume you didn’t go to one.

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