In the wake of another special-election drubbing in Britain, questions are again being asked about the future of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. While he has no shortage of critics on the left, more significant is the growing dissent within his own party. If the knives are not quite out for Cameron yet, some of his MPs are certainly hovering close to the cutlery.
The latest special election (they’re called by-elections in the UK) was won by the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives’ partners in the coalition government. The Lib Dem victory was not unexpected; the problem for Cameron is that his party was beaten into third place by UKIP, the anti-European Union, tough-on-immigration party that has been attracting growing numbers of former Tory voters.
Meanwhile, Britain’s economy stubbornly refuses to grow, and although unemployment has been falling, so have been living standards as stagnant wages are outstripped by inflation. The pound is close to recent historic lows against both the dollar and the euro, with both inflation and the fall in sterling exacerbated by the Bank of England’s ongoing policy of using quantitative easing — printing money — to try to jumpstart the economy.