Daily Archives: May 11, 2010

David Cameron Is Britain’s new prime minister, and the Tories will govern in a “full and proper coalition government” with the Lib Dems. It will be interesting to see what “full and proper” means when it comes to collective cabinet responsibility and other nice points of the British constitution. Also, apart from some seats in the cabinet (to include Vince Cable as chief secretary to the treasury, apparently: if so, good choice), what has Cameron promised Clegg and the Lib Dems on electoral reform? A referendum, presumably. But which option would any such referendum put to the voters? I wonder if vows have been exchanged on that.

Meanwhile, in any event, this will be an unnatural alliance. One Liberal Democrat of my acquaintance tells me that it may split the party. Few Lib Dems have been waiting in the wilderness all these years to serve as junior partners in a Tory-led coalition. As I mentioned before, many of the party’s policies are to the left of Labour’s. The message that Brown and Mandelson have been broadcasting in the past day or two about a progressive alliance was disingenuous, no doubt, but not wrong. Labour and the Lib Dems are much closer than Tories and Lib Dems.

Nobody seems to think that Elena Kagan, Obama’s nominee to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, will have much trouble getting confirmed. She was the strong favourite to get the nomination precisely because she is so confirmable. Obama has enough to contend with at the moment without having to fight for a controversial nominee. A moderate liberal is indicated, to replace Stevens, who was a moderate liberal. Ms Kagan seems to fit the bill.

She is an outstanding legal academic–a professor and Dean of the Harvard Law School. As Obama’s solicitor-general and adviser in the Clinton White House, she has proven administrative talent. She gets on with conservatives as well as liberals. She has never been a judge; this is a further advantage, because it means no paper trail of controversial decisions to defend. Even as a scholar, she has been careful to avoid sweeping declarations on constitutional law. And she is a she, which helps.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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