This is why we can’t have nice things


Taylor Owen considers all the reasons a British-style coalition is not so easily replicated.

Possibly the main lesson of the British coalition is procedural. Brits have once again shown Canadians that they take parliamentary democracy seriously. There was no talk of coalitions with socialists and separatists, Gordon Brown stepped aside with dignity, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg authored an incredibly thorough agreement that has a legitimate chance of lasting, and the media overall treated the historic events with substance rather than gamesmanship. In short, they were adults.


This is why we can’t have nice things

  1. "More than two-thirds of the cost of British regulation is laid at the EU's door in a new report out today.

    The total domestic and European regulatory burden on the national economy has been £176 billion since 1998, according to an Open Europe analysis of over 2,300 of the Government's own impact assessments." Evening Standard, March 30 2010

    "Up to 3,000 foreign criminals will be released from prison on to Britain's streets without any attempt to deport them, Government papers have revealed ….. It pins the blame on an EU directive which rules that committing a serious crime is no longer sufficient grounds for removal." Daily Mail, May 28, 2007

    Possibly the main lesson of the British coalition is that Brits favour style over substance.

    UK MPs have to dance to Brussels bureaucracy's tune. EU is more in control of UK than domestic pols are and I find it odd to read how great British Parliament is when it is not really a sovereign country anymore. Brits focus on presentation and not substance because they are not actually in power any more, unelected EU officials are.

  2. Let's not let one man and his merry band of goons define who "we" are.

    Besides, I'm not so sure that the UK coalition is going to last for very long.The pressures will come from the left, the Lib-Dem activists, and the right, the Tory-1922 committee.

  3. There was no talk of coalitions with socialists and separatists because their coalition doesn't involve socialists and separatists…

    • Did you know that Harper named as Minister of Foreign Affairs a known separatist, Maxime Bernier, who was formerly an aide to Bernard Landry?

      • Did you know that your separatist makes some of the most fiercely pro-Canadian speeches in Quebec?

        • Exactly … anyone interested in actually participating in a dialogue directly with Mr. Bernier should go to http://www.maximebernier.com where you'll find is positions on various issues clearly stated as wel as an innovative vision for a strong Canadian future AND get this … YOU are invited and encouraged to join the conversation no matter what your political position happens to be … he's the only MP doing it … so Lorraine Lamontagne … maybe you should check it out before yo make such incredibly uninformed reports and by the way … what is your MP doing ?

      • He has also appointed a Scottish separatist to the Canadian Senate. Perhaps as a récompense for being a party kingpin.

        Harper doesn't mind separatists at all, as long as they are on his team. It's at the core of his political beliefs (that they be on his team).

      • WHAT are you talking about. ! I live in Mr. Bernier's riding, follow his activity online and you would do well to do the same because obviously you need to check your facts and get your information straight BEFORE reporting it for the public to see … Maxime Bernier is a Conservative Libertarian and one of the most dynamic politicians speaking today … educate yourself …

  4. Taylor Owen is right.

    Despite havign less experieince with minority governments that Canada, the British were able to do a much better job managing the outcome.

  5. The Lib-Dems are a middle of the road party. They can bond with either the Conservatives or Labour and not be completely in a twist about it.

    The NDP are our Lib-Dems. They do not fit the middle but moderate to far left. They can only bond with the Greens or Libs. Bonding with Libs is tough but they can do it. The Conservatives will never bond with the Libs because they are each the only national options and are therefore the main rivals.

    The Lib-Dems were led by a fellow who gained in popularity but whose party is disadvantaged by how seats get allocated by the vagaries of their constituency boundaries and the Conservatives are conversely advantaged by those boundaries. But Clegg had political currency going for him Dion did not have.

    So there are many political factors cited here and many not bothered with that suggest that a coalition under the circumstances of December 08 were not going to be nearly as easily sold as those across the pond this week.

    Let's not do the usual Canadian thing and go looking all over the place for examples of how others always get it right and we don't. Let's critique our situation directly and logically and not always go around trying to measure up to shifting standards and examples.

    • Wow, Adam Boulton is actually standing up for once in his life. Has pointed out during the You have Been Watching election edition during Chanel 4's Alternative Election night, he was the only person in the three debates that was sitting down, he looked like Clive Anderson from Whose Line is it Anyway. It is around 3:20 in this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9RrTeezAXE

  6. This Taylor Owen character apparently lives in the UK – yet seems remarkably uninformed about British politics. His article is riddled with mistakes.

    He claims that "There was no talk of coalitions with socialists and separatists, Gordon Brown stepped aside with dignity". GONG this is 100% FALSE. Brown and the Labour Party negotiated with the Lib Dems to the bitter end and went to great lengths to try to form a coalition with the LDs that would have been backed by the SNP and Plaid Cymru etc…in the end Clegg made a deal with Cameron – but Gordon Brown and the Labour Party tried very hard to create a "coalition with socialists (i.e. his own Labour Party and separatists)" it just didn't pan out.

    Further down, the guy claims that the Labour Party severed its links to unions in a way that the NDP has not. GONG FALSE. Labour unions to this day have vastly more sway in the British Labour party than they do in the NDP. Unions get a 33% block vote at Labour Party conventions. In the NDP they only get 25% and that is being phased out altogether. Also, because of the campaign finance laws we have in Canada, all union and corporate donations are banned – so the NDP has virtually no reliance at all on unions for money. In contrast, trade unions donate millions of pounds to the Labour party and literally bankroll their entire campaign.

    Supposedly Owen, is a Canadian studying political science in Britain. It speaks volumes about how low quality of political literacy in Canada that someone with such poor knowledge of both Canadian and British politics would graduate from a Canadian university!

  7. The problem is that Taylor Owen is comparing apples and oranges. A more relevant point of comparison would be a scenario where a Tory minority (which presumably would have not formed a coalition) lost a confidence motion and was replaced by a coalition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Sinn Fein.

    1. In the UK case the coalition was formed after an election, not after a confidence vote.
    2. In the UK case the coalition included two parties not three.
    3. Perhaps the reason Gordon Brown didn't decry a coalition with separatists because unlike the December 2008 coalition, there were no separatists in the British coalition.
    4. In the UK case the coalition was led by the party that won the most seats and votes in the election, not a vastly unpopular party leader considered to have been discredited by the results of the election. There is a good reason Gordon Brown's resignation was a condition Clegg insisted upon in his negotiations with Labour.
    5. In the UK case the coalition was not massively unpopular.

    Owen is ignoring important details in order to advocate for his own transparent political preferences.

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