Thursday’s general election in the United Kingdom is shaping up to be the closest in decades, and it’s likely that none of the three major parties will gain the majority in Parliament it needs to govern, British commentator Nile Gardiner tells Newsmax.
Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, predicts that incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be ousted, and warns that candidate Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats is an anti-American, radical politician who would be “an absolute disaster” as a leader.
Gardiner is a leading authority on transatlantic relations who has advised the White House on key issues and testified several time before the U.S. Congress.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he previewed the election in which three major candidates are vying for the prime minister post — incumbent Brown of the Labour Party, David Cameron representing the Conservative Party, and Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.
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“The latest polls are showing the strong likelihood of a Conservative victory, but quite possibly with a minority government,” Gardiner says.
“In other words, the Conservative Party may not have a majority in place necessary to pass legislation. So the government then formed by the Conservative Party would need to cut deals with the other political parties in order to pass legislation through the House of Commons.
“This is an extremely tight race. Gordon Brown, the prime minister, is a deeply unpopular figure, according to the latest opinion polls. His party is trailing in third place at about 26 percent. The Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg are slightly ahead of Labour at 28 percent. The Conservatives are in the lead with about 34 percent of the overall vote.
“It’s a three-way race, the closest political contest we have seen certainly in a generation, and without a doubt we’re looking at the end of Gordon Brown’s time as British prime minister.
“After 13 years of Labour rule, most British people I think are looking for a change in government.”
Clegg has been described as even more liberal than President Barack Obama. Gardiner was asked if American conservatives should be worried about him.
“They certainly should be,” he responds.
“Nick Clegg I would say is the most left-wing major party leader of this generation. He is a deeply anti-American politician. He is a politician who does not believe in the transatlantic alliance at all. He is strongly pro-European. He believes Britain’s future lies not in the relationship with the United States but within the European Union. He is a believer in a European federal superstate.
“Nick Clegg I think would be an absolute disaster as a leader on the world stage. He is an extremely left-wing radical politician. I think he is even significantly to the left of Barack Obama on many policies.”
Gardiner says the deciding factors in the British race will be the state of the economy — the national debt, the recession and unemployment — and immigration.
“There is widespread dissatisfaction among the British public with very high levels of immigration, and very high levels of illegal immigration as well,” he observes.
“The Conservative Party has pledged to crack down on illegal immigrants. The Liberal Party is calling for an amnesty for illegal immigrants, as some politicians are in the United States as well.”
A “hung parliament,” with no party holding a majority, could paralyze the political process and have serious economic implications, Gardiner tells Newsmax.
“A hung parliament would be hugely damaging for Britain’s economy. It would have a chilling effect upon not only British markets but global markets as well. A huge amount of international finance is conducted in London.
“London is the largest investment banking center in the world, even larger than New York. So a hung parliament in the U.K. would have a very negative effect on global markets.”
Gardiner says the often citied “special relationship” between the United States and Britain is “in very serious trouble at the moment.” That is due to Obama’s “indifference” toward U.K., with some commentators saying he is anti-British, while Gordon Brown “has not effectively advanced” the special relationship.
But behind the scenes, in terms of cooperation on intelligence and defense and on trade and investment, the special relationship remains extremely strong and can be rebuilt on a political level, Gardiner believes.
He also sees a new British government continuing to work closely with America regarding the Iranian nuclear crisis and Afghanistan.
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