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kevbo's avatar

What's going on with the "meltdown" in British government?

Asked by kevbo (25611points) June 6th, 2009

Can you frame this for me in layman’s terms? I’m not as familiar with British politics. What’s happening and what is the significance? Thanks.

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6 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Members of parliament are allowed to claim expenses for the cost of living in London so they are able to attend parliament. Fair enough.

However it has come to light that some (well actually most) have been milking the system. For example claiming for mortgage repayments on house they already owned, paying relatives as though they were working for the minister… the list goes on. The Telegraph has good coverage of the details.

This has effected all the political parties at all levels. It is not just one or two unscrupulous people. Many of the politicians have been either forced to resign or won’t be contesting their seats at the next election, including members of the cabinet. There were local elections on thursday which resulted in labour losing a number of seats on local councils. Normally if the labour party lose a seat it goes to the conservative party which is the next biggest party. However as many conservative MP’s have been implicated in this scandal as well it is giving the Lib dems (3rd major UK political party) and independants the oportunity to gain power. As there has to be a general election (decides who will run the country similar to a presidential elecltion) before 3rd of june 2010 this means that is is now particularly difficult to forecast who will win.

Bobbydavid's avatar

Almost correct except concervatives gained all labours lost seats and some lib democrats too. If there was a general election tomorrow, concervatives will win by almost landslide.

kevbo's avatar

Why are conservatives gaining? (was Blair conservative?) In America obviously there’s a good bit of backlash towards conservatives (i.e. republicans), not to mention significant infighting. Is it not similar in the UK? What’s going on within the conservative base (that makes it more cohesive than the US conservative base? Thanks.

kevbo's avatar

Why are conservatives gaining? (was Blair conservative?) In America obviously there’s a good bit of backlash towards conservatives (i.e. republicans), not to mention significant infighting. Is it not similar in the UK? What’s going on within the conservative base (that makes it more cohesive than the US conservative base)? Thanks.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Blair was labour which is left wing party suposedly representing the working classes (labouring classes). Gordon Brown came to power when Blair stepped down. He was never elected.

The conservative are gaining seats (aparantly I have to admit I did’t pay much attention to the results on Thursday) because voters are fickle?

mammal's avatar

@kevbo Tony Blair purported to be left wing, The Labour Party traditionally represented the working class, but the reality was that he shrewdly courted the left wing voters whilst discreetly wooing the middle classes and the corporate sector. So in short he sold out, in order to secure a Labour government. The Political landscape in Britain became homogeneous, Labour having forfeited all it’s left wing credentials. Parliament lost it’s dissident voice, it’s scrutiny, integrity and any remnants of an ideology, reducing the institution to nothing more than a bureaucratic, administration, serving the financial sector primarily and any other powerful profiteering enterprise. Parliamentary members are predominately impotent, politically speaking, too comfortable to stick their head above the parapet, thanks to a self regulated, self serving expense system that offers very lucrative perks, way beyond the standard salary. Because of the current economic turmoil, people are turning their attention to the ludicrous misuse of public money, claimed by MPs (members of parliament) for items and services that bear no relation to the day to day expenses one would incur as a public servant, for example a cabinet member’s husband rented out a couple of pornographic videos and claimed the money as a legitimate expense. A small amount of money compared to others who have claimed substantial money for Novelty Garden improvements, home improvements, mortgage interest (when the mortgage had already been paid off)

Basically the parliamentary members, of all persuasions, had manufactured an expense system of their own construction which served their personal interests, without any outside regulation, that was perfectly legal even if it were highly exploitable and morally dubious. Institutional corruption basically.

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