12.05.2010 Feature Article


12.05.2010 LISTEN

Farouk Martins Aresa
It is not only in Africa where some leaders submit to their primordial instinct to remain in power by any means necessary. The Labor Party members that prevailed on Gordon Brown to resign as Prime Minister rather than lead defeated parties into a coalition government must be congratulated. They stuck to their principle to the last and split the Labor Party into two camps to prevent hanging on to power.

The real losers here are the Liberal Party and their leader Nick Clegg. Whatever they were thinking of dancing like the beautiful bride looking for willing partners, must have taken them to the edge. There is something odious about conservatives and liberals in the same bed at the expense of the common man. It is a nonstarter by any measures. For that, when the Conservative Party messes up, Liberal Party will even pay more.

Well, what do we expect them to do? The Labor Party was disgraced and lost so many seats while the Conservative Party gained. At the same time, the people developed cold feet towards the end and put the Conservatives on a very short leash. Moreover, all the world democracies are witnessing a backlash against the incumbents.

Germany gave the conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel the power but as the incumbents, they are losing it by the regions. In France, it was the same thing. The tough talking President Nicholas Sarkozy won and he is losing his grip on power that may spell trouble for him in the next election. In the United States, the Obama wave took out the conservatives but they are now slowly creeping back with any hype that fits.

On the surface, it may look like the electorates and democracy are confused. They are analyzing hung jury in Britain as the United States did during Bush/Gore election. But no matter what, practitioners of democracy are not giving up on an imperfect system that was introduced by the Greeks and adapted in various form by others. Going by the trouble the owner of democracies are having, especially with all the riots in Greece, some African and communist leaders declare that the demon has gone crazy.

After all, the Eastern Europeans claim they are practicing their own form of democracy too. Even Russia has its form of democracy where the people decide or the leaders, in the interest of the people decide what is good for the people. It has been noted that communism is the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the common people and capitalism is the overthrow of common people by the rich. Whatever!

Out of this entire maze come the liberals as the moderates that enjoy the confidence of the common man without alienating the niche of the wealthy. They claim that they are sympathetic to the poor while curtailing the excesses of the rich. Throughout history, certain part of communism has been borrowed by the capitalists in a welfare state. The same is true of communist China where incentive of capitalism has been adopted.

So what we have in most progressive states these days are pragmatics ideas that can move the countries forward. In the process, the electorates become confused and do not know who to vote for. There are practical problems that need solutions. While the liberals are thinkers, and sometimes to a fault, the conservatives are chest beaters claiming they have confounding solutions with the help of voodoo economics.

We are therefore left with the promise of instant solution from the conservatives' promise or waiting for the egalitarian liberals. This has given liberals a black eye in the United States. It was so bad most politicians never call themselves: liberals. They prefer the term: moderates or progressives. As soon as the conservatives get into power with their promises, they do not know what to do. They know how to win but not how to solve the problems.

Consequently both liberals and conservatives are thrown out at the end of their terms. An even more dangerous combination is what we now have in Britain between Cameron and Clegg. Over the years, since the failure of the communist parties, socialist parties have learnt to shift a bit closer to the center. The labor parties have gained in some countries and become main stream. As the numbers of workers in the unions fell over the years with manufacturing jobs, people have become unromantic.

Therefore, Labor Party gained strength in Britain where most of the liberals seek refuge. They have done well with such Prime Minister as Harold Wilson. They have also lost it to Prime Minister such as Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher until good looking boy Tony Blair brought them back from the grave. They have been there now for about 13 years and the fatigue of governance and restless voters may have caught up with them.

Instead of hanging on to power, they can play the Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau's magic on conservatives. In the seventies, Trudeau of the Liberal Party lost to the Conservative Party narrowly, allowing them to form a minority government with Joe Clark as the Prime Minister. Trudeau resigned until a new leader could be found. Without the help of the New Democrats, the Conservative party survived briefly for less than a year. They got carried away with their budget and lost vote of no confidence playing directly into the hands of Trudeau.

The lesson here for the Labor Party, is to lie in waiting because the coalition of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party can not last. Both parties are grounded in different philosophies and their ideologies can not mix well to light any fire in the electorates. Wish them well while sticking one foot out hoping that they will trip on their face. No matter what agreement they put in place, some hotheads will prevail.

The fact is voters are not in the best of moods. They are willing to throw out any party that fumbles. Indeed, we are become disillusioned since we do not know who stands for what anymore. They both run deficits these days, spending on people, arms or corporate bums. Both bail out big businesses and wait for the trickle down effect on working class. As the stock market goes up, unemployment also goes up while they all told us to wait in pain because jobs are the last to recover. Wonders shall never end.

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