Another week, another crisis for the coalition—and this time it’s nothing to do with pasties or petrol.
The Tories and their Lib Dem lapdogs have been rocked first by the bank scandal and then by their own infighting over the House of Lords.
The politicians are trying to pose as those most outraged by the bankers’ crimes. But no one believes them. We know that they were all cheerleading and schmoozing the bankers until the crash—and after it too, in many cases.
This week we’ve seen more proof that they were all in the bankers’ pockets. A new report reveals that the finance industry has 800 lobbyists running around Westminster.
It’s not just about dodgy deals though. This is the class the Tory party represents. Out of Britain’s 1,000 richest people, 248 have made a donation to the Tories. In turn, out of the 498 Tory MPs and peers, 134 have had jobs in finance. Most of the rest ran businesses.
Out of the Tories’ 305 MPs, 70 have had jobs in finance. Bankers and ex-bankers make up a third of the 193 Conservative peers.
That brings us on to the House of Lords. Stuffed with the rich and the unrepresentative, it is a scandalous monument to anti-democracy. Formally everyone wants it “reformed”. But somehow it never happens.
The coalition’s plan was to make the upper house only 80 percent elected, leaving 20 percent appointed. The seats reserved for the bishops would be left in place. Even that was a bridge too far.
This is a government so weak that it can be held to ransom by a few dozen Tory fans of hereditary privilege. But it is also a nasty government.
So while it falls out over attacking the rich, Lib Dems and Tories are united when it comes to bashing workers. That’s why the Liberals have waved through everything from student fees to benefit cuts.
But they have a fight on their hands. Britain could be heading for a “hot autumn” of resistance. The TUC demonstration on 20 October has the potential to be even bigger than its half a million strong march last year.
Unions with hundreds of thousands of members are then set to strike within weeks. Soon after students will take to the streets again, raising the prospect of a similar explosion to that of 2010.
But now our resistance is more developed, and it’s all happening at the same time in the autumn. Cameron and Clegg’s coalition is far from confident. With millions pushing together, we can push it back.