The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 has changed the face of British politics. It says that:
a) Parliaments will last five years (the next General Election will be on 7 May 2015)
b) Parliament can only be dissolved by a two thirds majority in the House of Commons (very unlikely).
Ed Miliband can stamp and shout but there’s no way he can cause any real opposition because there is no chance of a challenge against the Government.
If 46 Conservatives (15% of the total number) ask the chairman of the 1922 Committee for a vote of no confidence and there is a change of leader (highly unlikely) one assumes the next leader becomes Prime Minister within the Coalition Government).
We now have the situation that the United States faced with President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky controversy: the administration limped on ineffectively.
In the UK Parliamentary debate has almost disappeared. Simon Heffer in the ‘Daily Mail’ recently suggested that Mps should take second jobs they are so bored. Nadine Dorries moonlights in Australia for £40,000 and nobody cares a jot.
We in the City tend to get on with our daily work and ignore these situations. However the financial services industry is at rock bottom. The small-cap sector has been regulated out of existence (Seymour Pierce has now gone). AIM exists on a few investment trusts and foreign mining companies, the IPO market is stagnant, there is little bank credit and therefore takeovers are few and far between, the retail sectors is shrinking by the week and employment in the City is down by over 10%.
The reorganisation of the regulatory system is mind boggling. Quite what it achieves is hard to establish. The Prime Minister is wrecking our relationships with Europe. The Business Ministers seem dead in the water. The SEED/EIS early stage equity scheme for small businesses is a total disaster: we know of no single company that has managed to raise the maximum £150,000. Banks are not lending to SMEs. The Funding for Lending scheme is simply reducing savings rates.
What is needed is a good old fashioned Parliamentary debate.
The trouble is Parliament has gone fishin’ until 7 May 2015.