Europe’s age of austerity

Italy has become the latest European country to announce cuts in public spending. This follows austerity measures announced in the UK and Denmark. BBC reports.


Playing by different rules

Many things distinguish Britain from continental Europe: the pound, the slow progress towards metric measures (fuel is bought in litres but drivers still discuss miles per gallon), driving on the left.

Britain views Europe with suspicion – and the feeling has often been reciprocated (de Gaulle famously said ‘non’ to British membership of the then European Economic Community). The Economist examines Britain’s problematic place in Europe.

At last, the UK has a new PM

New Prime Minister David Cameron, 43, attempted to sound like Obama in his victory speech. But the indecisive election result had been followed by protracted negotiations with the party that came third before he could secure the keys of 10 Downing Street. He had promised change, and already it appears that British politics may have changed for ever. BBC reports.

UK election not decisive

With some results still to be declared, the UK election has not produced a clear winner. It’s easier to say who lost.

The governing Labour party lost because it no longer has a mandate to continue. The opposition Conservative party lost because by its own support for the existing voting system, it did not secure a clear majority in the House of Commons. And the Liberal Democrats did not achieve the anticipated surge in the popular vote, and even lost some seats.

According to constitutional convention (though the UK does not have a written constitution), the Labour government can remain in power while it tries to form a workable majority in the House of Commons. The BBC discusses the possible next moves. The Economist asks who runs Britain?

Looking further ahead, the issue of electoral reform is now on the agenda. Nationality may also come to matter more, since the böcek ilaçlaması Conservative party’s English majority is not reflected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some English constitutencies offered the bewildering sight of a United Kingdom Independence Party candidate competing with the British National Party and the English Democrats. Add to this the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Cornish nationalists and a confusing map of a fragmented nation emerges.

Who’s Nick Clegg?

The UK election is on May 6, and for the first time voters will get the chance to watch the main party leaders in live television debates. (There have been no ‘presidential’ debates before because this is a parliamentary democracy and voters do not get to choose directly between the leaders. Also, those in power recognized they had more to lose than to gain from such debates.)

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, seized the advantage in the first of these television debates (the third party is frequently squeezed out of debates in parliament, böcek ilaçlama istanbul with its adversarial system). The Economist analyzes Nick Clegg’s standing in Europe, and whether Britain is ready for consensual coalition government:

Nick Clegg is a bit of a Brussels local hero, having worked for the European Commission before serving one term as a member of the European Parliament. It also helps that he is multi-lingual, comes from a multi-national background and his party is as pro-EU as it gets in British politics.