The new governability crisis

From rioting to strikes, stock market runs and basic questions of the rule of law, the UK is suffering from a governability crisis.

I was born in 1982. My staunch Labour-supporting parents would argue with mainly Conservative friends and family about the tumultous events of the 80s and early 90s.

The charge always thrown at them was that Margaret Thatcher inherited a country sliding into chaos in 1979.

When I studied politics A-Level, I learnt that the academic term for this sense of chaos was the ‘governability crisis’ – mounting unemployment, the growth of the far right, union miltancy and what appeared to be something close to civil war in Northern Ireland gave the impression of a country that could not be controlled.

The morning after dozens of London suburbs and a handful of other cities  have gone up in flames, it appears fair to ask if we are entering a new governability crisis:

  • The list of areas that have seen violence is staggering – outer boroughs such as  Bromley, Croydon and Ealing as well as those perceived to have longer-term problems have been affected
  • During the rioting, the stock market has continued in full-on bear market mode. It is being reported as a ‘bloodbath in panic-stricken markets’ as FTSE-100 index fell 3.4 per cent or 178 points in  one day, the first time in almost three decades that there has 100-point falls four sessions in a row
  • We still have the potential for widespread union strikes affecting public services. Rightly or wrongly,  many unions believe they are in an existential fight of their lives, and that large-scale industrial action is their only resort
  • The media appear to be  a state within a state, being able ensure that certain laws do not apply to them.

The  question of how to be able to deal with this governability crisis will be debated endlessly over the coming weeks and months. But it appears as if ‘business as usual’ is not good enough.

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10 Responses to “The new governability crisis”

  1. 'Cheezy'

    RT @leftfootfwd: The new governability crisis

  2. Diarmaid O'Neill

    RT @leftfootfwd: The new governability crisis?

  3. Mark Ferguson

    Dan is pessimistic here, but he may well be right. Britain is hard to govern at the moment

  4. goLookGoRead The new governability crisis: a country sliding into chaos – Excellently asked!

  5. crystalmille

    That’ what “High Speed Universities” is all about, to further the education of students. They need more than a high school degree today, they need at least 2 years of college, preferrably 4, and then we’re going to work with communities so they can grow economically and create more jobs for our young people

  6. Anon E Mouse

    Having just heard a copper on Radio 5 Live stating that if the police had arrested those criminals in the riots last night they would have had to fill out masses of paperwork because of the nature of the arrests.

    The bureaucracy in this country, along with the political correctness, means the police simply cannot do their jobs and something radical is required and quickly.

    If I hear one more bleeding heart liberal on the BBC explaining that “the youth are disaffected” blah blah blah then blaming the “cuts” blah blah blah whilst people’s homes and livelihoods are trashed I’ll go bonkers.

    Force solicitors to get a move on and deport every foreign prisoner without the right to stay here as they are released from prison by taking them in cuffs to the plane and then hit these stupid rioters with huge sentences in the freed up prison places.

    We can worry about the likes of Polly Toynbee and those types of minority views later – people’s homes are being burned down here and after listening to Ken Livingston on the BBC last night I realise just how out of touch the Labour Party actually are…

  7. Ed's Talking Balls

    Quite right, Anon E Mouse.

    Let’s not have these ridiculous excuses. Perhaps in due course we can look back and laugh at them but, for now, it’s distasteful to give them air time/ People are suffering at the hands of these scumbags and don’t need to hear from these odious apologists.

    The furore over hackgate has robbed the Met of its two effective senior officers and now it faces a big crisis without discernible leadership. Even before this foolishness. the police have for years been hamstrung by usually groundless criticism over its methods. Result? We’ve been left with a rudderless policeforce, brave and wanting to protect the public, but afraid to do so because of the leftist opprobrium that would rain down.

    If any good whatsoever can emerge from this shameful episode, I hope that Cameron will realise that we shouldn’t be cutting our police force; we shouldn’t be liberalising sentencing policy; we should be building more prisons; and we should allow the police to do their job, using necessary force against thugs, undistracted by excessive paperwork.

    Lastly, Livingstone has made his bed and now lies with the assorted scum of London. No hardworking Londoner can, in good conscience, now put an ‘X’ next to his name.

  8. Leon Wolfson

    “In due course”?

    What, after more cities burn, because of the crackdowns? When people are driven out their houses by further cuts to the basic safety net?

    Hackgate cost the Met corrupt officers, and many remain. Excuses for them are both typical and pathetic. Groundless criticism? They’ve shot innocent people in major fiascos. They triggered these riots by their negligence in leaving the family standing there for four hours, while it got dark, rather than talk to them. Communities who had to defend themselves have also got a much lower view of the police than they did…

    I’m sure you’d find blood in the streets appropriate, but we’ve had *3* deaths, so far as I know. I’m unsurprised you call for orders of magnitude more.

    If you love America so much, GO LIVE THERE. (Even though it’s nowhere near as un-socialist as they believe themselves to be)

    Oh and Mouse? As a hint, when countries start chucking deported Brits who have committed crimes back here in return, you’re letting them go free? Er…

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – You say: “As a hint, when countries start chucking deported Brits who have committed crimes back here in return, you’re letting them go free?”

    Er…Letting them go free?

    Well if they’ve served their sentences in the overseas countries what does anyone care?

    Unless of course you don’t believe in rehabilitation like other Stalinist control freaks…


  10. Coyote Ridge

    The new governability crisis: : writes @danielelton – time for radical answers

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