The leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, David Cameron, may wind up being Prime Minister of a minority government, but it almost surely does not matter. Cameron is a Bush/Nixon-style Tory, quite comfortable with a bloated government and high tax rates. He has refused to say he will repeal Labor’s recent 10-percentage-point increase in the top tax rate, and as far as I know he has not identified any spending cuts – even though the budget exploded in recent years. Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is from the other side of the Atlantic, and his analysis has been quite persuasive from the beginning. Here’s what he wrote for National Review this morning (I especially like what he recommends on Scotland):
The final question is whether this Cameron minority government can survive for long. I think it can if it governs from the center. That, of course, would be an utter disaster for small-c conservatism and the nation, which needs a dose of fiscal conservatism now more than anything else. However, that is the core conservative policy least embraced by Cameron’s Conservative party. If the party grows a backbone, we might see a tough budget rejected, a vote of confidence and a new election. More likely, I fear we’ll see a “nice” budget that will gain majority support and weak government from the center. One final point. If I had my druthers, I’d offer a deal to the Scottish Nationalists for a referendum on Scottish independence. The Scots have clearly and decisively rejected unionism, so it is time for them to taste the consequences of that rejection. The public finances of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland would improve markedly and the Conservatives would have a solid majority. I can’t see why this option isn’t on the table.