British flags London mall taxi Luke Hayter/Flickr

Breekbaar Groot-Brittannië

LONDEN – Welk Europees land loopt het komende jaar het grootste risico op politieke instabiliteit en financiële onrust? Met nog maar een paar dagen te gaan tot de Britse algemene verkiezingen op 7 mei is het antwoord zowel voor de hand liggend als verrassend. Ooit een rustpunt van politieke en economische stabiliteit, temidden van de onrust van de eurocrisis, staat Engeland op het punt de politiek minst voorspelbare lidstaat van de Europese Unie te worden.

Continuïteit is zo ongeveer de enige uitslag die vrijwel zeker kan worden uitgesloten. Tenzij de opiniepeilingen onnauwkeurig zijn in een mate die we in de Britse geschiedenis nog niet eerder hebben gezien, hebben de twee partijen waaruit de regeringscoalitie is samengesteld, de Conservatieven van premier David Cameron en de Liberaal-Democraten, bijna geen kans meer op een gezamenlijke meerderheid in het parlement.

Eén mogelijkheid – met een waarschijnlijkheid van ruim 50%, volgens de peilingen – is dat Groot-Brittannië, de geboorteplaats van het Thatcherisme en de vaandeldrager van de neoliberale economie in de EU, spoedig een Labour-regering zal hebben met het grootste programma van belastingverhogingen sinds de jaren zeventig. Bovendien zal de overleving van deze Labour-regering, dankzij de eigenaardigheden van het Britse electorale systeem en de opkomst van het Schotse en Welshe nationalisme, afhankelijk zijn van de steun van partijen met nóg radicalere economische agenda's, die aansturen op het ontmantelen van het Verenigd Koninkrijk.

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