How have the British political party leaders performed during austerity? What is a fair way of assessing them? Dr. Toby James and Dr. Jim Buller have recently edited a special issue of Parliamentary Affairs, based on our recent workshop at the University of East Anglia, that addresses these questions.
A summary of the special issue is available on the UEA Eastminster blog:
The Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8 created a political headache for leaders world-wide. It is considered by many economists to have been the worst since at least the Great Depression. It led to many leaders having to campaign for (re)election and govern with significant public deficits, stagnant growth and public unrest.
The headache was particularly acute for British party leaders. A banking crisis, ‘credit crunch’ and major recession followed. Gordon Brown was faced with the collapse of Northern Rock and a downturn in economic fortunes that could undermine his credentials for economic management, only months after taking office from Tony Blair in 2007. David Cameron and George Osborne, whose Conservative Party came to power in 2010 in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, inherited a budget that many thought required tax rises, public spending cuts or both….