It's been awhile since I talked about the jolly old British Isles and it's curious arrangement of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in a coalition government. While expounding on Ed Milliband is fun, pointing out the flaws of David Cameron and Nick Clegg is actually quite a bit more exciting. What have these two rascals been up to?
David Cameron has been enjoying quite a bit of popularity, both at home and abroad, that is until his spending cuts, highlighted and pushed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne. The cuts, which receive mostly positive reactions until you start dishing out the details, has had one major effect politically: the opposition is completely galvanized against them. Labour, the party just kicked out of power only a few short months ago, has had new life breathed into it, with most of those that oppose the Cameron government's cuts drifting to them, making for a very close race in the polls. The fact that Rupert Murdoch has come out to endorse Mr. Cameron has not helped.
That being said, the cuts are a step in the right direction by most accounts. Cameron's government has also successfully highlighted the fact that while cuts and tax rises are not only inevitable but going to be a bit harsh, they've set in motion plans to help streamline Britain's massive civil service, to ensure more cost-effectiveness and better services for the British people. However, the fact that this is spilling over into the devolved regions - Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - which are all run by left-leaning opposition parties, the sparks are sure to fly over who gets to make decisions over what.
The lackey here that helps explain how Cameron's balance between cuts and efficiency is none other than Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats. Mr. Clegg has not had a good few months.
To start off, his party has hit decade-old lows in polls, just recently dipping down to 10% in YouGov polling, the first time that's happened since 1997. Much like the situation in Germany between Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU and Guido Westerwelle's FDP, the larger coalition partner is simply overshadowing the smaller party, helping drive down numbers. The party leaders are also increasingly unpopular, and their former supporters are flocking to other parties.
Clegg's signature issue is also taking a nose-dive. The Alternative Vote referendum is also not going well, with consistently negative numbers for change in Britain's plainly unfair electoral system. While Clegg isn't in trouble for the leadership, it seems he may be in trouble in his own home riding. Being reduced to Coalition Poster Boy is not going over well with former Lib Dem voters, and if the AV Referendum falls through, Mr. Clegg is not going to be around for much longer.