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经济学人:英联合政府"没有永远的敌人 只有永远的利益

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Britain The coalition in 2013

英国 联合政府的2013
Friendly fire
内讧
David Cameron and Nick Clegg have less to fear from the other side than from their own furious ranks
卡梅隆和克莱格之间内忧大于外惧
“No Permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests”, goes a well-worn axiom of realist statesmanship. The formation in 2010 of Britain’s first coalition government since the second world war showed that the prospect of power could trump large ideological differences between two parties. But diplomatic relations between David Cameron’s Conservative Party and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats have reached the table-thumping stage.
“没有永远的敌我,只有永远的利益。”这条公理已在现实主义的政治家口中说烂。2010年,英国继二战以来首次建立联合政府,这表明权力之争甚至能压倒政党间巨大的意识形态分歧。而今,英国首相大卫·卡梅隆(David Cameron)所在的英国保守党(Conservative Party,与下文中的Tory同义)与副首相尼克·克莱格的英国自由民主党(Liberal Democrats,与下文的Lib Dem同义)已步入貌合神离的阶段。

英国的联合政府没有永远的敌人.jpg

Last year saw bitter arguments over House of Lords reform and constituency boundaries. It ended with the spectacle of Mr Clegg theatrically rolling his eyes during the autumn statement, in which George Osborne, the Tory chancellor, announced new tax and spending measures. This year is likely to bring rows over press regulation, Europe, welfare cuts, green energy and departmental spending. Such is the antipathy that plans for a revised government programme were first delayed, then shelved, for fear of uncontainable hostility between the two sides. Instead, a more modest package of new measures will be announced in the spring.

去年,两党就英国上议院(House of Lords)改革和选举区划分问题发生过激烈争论。其后,保守党的英国财政大臣乔治·奥斯本(George Osborne)在秋季财政报告上宣布新设税制和财政支出政策,对此,克莱格夸张地转了转眼珠。这一趣闻给双方的争论暂时画上句号。而今年争论的焦点将会在媒体监管、欧洲问题、福利削减、能源环保和政府开支之上。此两党由于担心势成水火,在政府计划的修订案上一再拖延、搁置,令人民反感不已。最终,新一揽子计划将于今年春季发布,其内容将更为适中。
Astonishingly, the 2015 election already looms over the coalition. Conservative thinkers are focused less on improving this government than on winning a workable majority next time. And the governing parties are preparing for combat. The Conservatives are targeting Liberal Democrat seats, convinced that their partners’ terrible poll figures will not recover. The Lib Dems will concentrate on fighting off Conservative challengers: at least they do not have to defend the coalition in such races, as they do when fighting Labour.
但惊人的是,2015年的大选已渐渐迫近联合政府。保守党的智囊团把目光集中于赢得大选的多数票这一可行方案上,而非努力改善政府。同时,保守党与自由民主党之间也已剑拔弩张。保守党坚信,自由民主党惨淡的支持率将难以重振,因此准备拿下其所占的国会席位。而自由民主党则意欲击退保守党的夺席者,因为在本次大选中,该党无需如前一次对垒工党(Labour)那般力保联合政府。
The process of “differentiation”, in which the parties distinguish themselves from the coalition, has got under way early. Lib Dems miss no opportunity to remind voters that, unlike their Conservative colleagues, they support a “mansion tax” on expensive homes. An internal memo leaked in December revealed that the party plans to present itself as the conscience of the coalition, restraining Tories from “looking after the super rich while ignoring the needs of normal people”. The Conservatives, in turn, blame the sluggish economy on Lib Dem opposition to deregulation and to further spending cuts.
两党的“区分运动”(即两党试图在联合政府中展现本党独有特点的运动)也早已展开。自由民主党不失时机地告知民众,他们与保守党的同僚们不同,赞成对巨额豪宅征以“豪宅税”(mansion tax)。去年12月,一份遭泄露的政府内部文件中提到,自由民主党将遏制保守党“拥富歧贫”的政策,并以此成为联合政府中的道德方。而保守党则把国内经济停滞的原因怪罪于自由民主党在管制放宽与开支削减上的反对态度。
The launch of the coalition was accompanied by ambitious talk of a grand realignment of Britain’s political centre. Mr Cameron hailed “not just a new government, but a new politics”, one in which “the national interest is more important than the party interest” and “where co-operation wins out over confrontation”. The partners declared the coalition agreement “more radical and more comprehensive” than their own electoral manifestos. The coalition, some suggested, was not a compromise, but an ideal. This brave new politics has given way to a cold war between the two sides.
联合政府成立之际,双方曾豪言壮语地称其为英国政治中心的伟大改组。卡梅隆曾赞道,这“不仅是一个崭新的政府,更是一套全新的政治”,该政府将奉行“国家利益高于党派利益”,“通力协作胜于对立斗争”的方针。而自由民主党则宣称,相比自身的选举宣言,两党一致才“更为根本、更为普遍”。但据部分人士称,联合政府无法妥协一致,而只是一番空想。本该勇往直前的新政治已转变为双方之间的冷战。
But it has not disappeared entirely. Bickering in public and on the back benches belies a strikingly businesslike atmosphere in Whitehall. Conflicts are carefully controlled: last year Mr Clegg even discussed his mutiny on boundary change with Mr Cameron before announcing it. In a sense, coalition discord is the opposite of the internal feud that preoccupied the last Labour government. Supporters of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown fought much harder behind the scenes than in public.
但是,联合并未完全消亡。无论公众面前还是政府内部,双方喋喋不休的争论反而使英国白厅(Whitehall,译者注:英国各行政机构所在地)避免了商界般的暗斗。两党间的争论处于谨慎控制之中,如去年克莱格就选举区变更问题上曾对卡梅隆倒戈相迎,但他在公然挑明之前仍选择与其讨论协商。内部斗争曾在工党执政期充斥全党,前首相托尼·布莱尔(Tony Blair)和戈登·布朗(Gordon Brown,译者注:这两位首相皆属于工党)的支持派曾在暗中经过了无数艰难斗争。从某种意义上看来,同盟内的不合恰恰遏制了这种内部斗争。
Decision-making at the top of the coalition is a case study in the realistic and mature management of discord. Senior ministers seek consensus in a series of conclaves. The most significant is the “quad”, made up of the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the chancellor and the chief secretary to the Treasury. Here, at Monday morning parleys between the two party leaders and in meetings of Cabinet Office panjandrums, compromises are brokered, assurances given and caveats established. The need for both parties to approve new measures has revived cabinet government: debate is more thorough and better documented than before.
联合政府的高层决策还为现实审慎地调解分歧提供了案例教程。高级官员常在一系列密谈中谋求一致,其中最重要的密谈当属由正副首相和财相组成的“四方会谈(quad)”。“四方会谈”包括每周一上午两位首相出席的会谈,以及内阁官员出席的会议。会上,大家协商共识、繁征博引,并互作限制。一旦两党需通过新法案时,内阁将一片活力:相比过去,争论将更为彻底,理由也更为充足。
Jaw-jaw, not war-war
争论,而非争斗
It helps that neither party wants an election. Both are doing poorly in the polls, and advisers caution that the public punishes leaders who fail to work together in the national interest, particularly at a moment of economic peril. The dangers of the nuclear option—one of the partners pulling out of the coalition, triggering a Conservative minority government followed by a new election—are a robust deterrent.
两党都不希望改选,这一点对于双方都有所好处。目前,两党在支持率上表现不佳。对此,评论家警告称,任何一位党首若无法以国家利益为重而通力协作的话,将遭到民众惩罚,尤其在此经济危机之时。联合政府的任意一方退出,将使得保守党以劣势参加本次大选,其后果不堪设想。因此双方都有效地得到遏制,不作退出。
But as a small, intricate network of senior figures forges consensus, a serious rift is growing between leaders and their parties. Intense dealmaking at the top of government makes it harder to modify measures once agreement has been reached. Tory MPs, many of whom are already suspicious of leaders who share the Cleggites’ metropolitan, liberal outlook, feel shut out of the policy-making process. One backbencher criticises decisions “handed down from on high” by the “four or six” people who hold the reins of power. Grassroots party members are intensely grumpy at the concessions that coalition demands. There are rumblings among the Lib Dems, too, though of a different order. Mr Clegg, who is deeply unpopular and tarnished by his proximity to the Tories, looks increasingly vulnerable to a leadership challenge from the left of his party before the next general election.
但由于会谈仅限于少数关系错综的高层官员,党首与其党派间开始产生巨大隔阂。政府高层的协商往往十分激烈,这也增加了共识达成后修改的难度。保守党的议员已怀疑其高层被克莱格的大都会自由思想所同化,认为自己被排除在决策层之外。其中,某位后座议员(译者注:不担任任何国家或党内职务的议员)批评称,政府决策都是由“四名或六名”掌权人“上意下达”。几位平民出身的保守党议员对于联合政府提倡的妥协让步也尤为不满。而在自由民主党内也有所躁动,只是顺序与保守党有所不同。克莱格由于偏向保守党而在党内人气大跌、光芒不再。本次大选前,克莱格的党首宝座被党内左派分子取而代之的可能性越来越大。
Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron are increasingly pulled in two directions. The public expects them to get things done, which requires flexibility and guile. Yet they are also expected (particularly by MPs and activists) to display solid principles and fierce loyalty to their tribe. The coalition partners are torn between nurturing their working relationship and managing their parties.
克莱格和卡梅伦两人的两难处境越陷越深。一方面,在民众的要求下,他们需要不断变通和欺瞒来完成工作。而另一方面,其党派又要求他们坚持原则、各忠其主。双方既要改善工作关系,又须经营自身党派,为此受尽折腾。
In the year ahead, the two leaders will attempt to reconcile these two priorities. There may be more controlled explosions like Mr Clegg’s rejection of boundary change last summer. Differences of opinion once kept behind closed doors will probably be aired more openly. Both sides will talk up the fruits of their realpolitik, too: the coalition has been poor at selling its achievements. If they get the balance right, it will serve both parties’ permanent interests. If they get it wrong, 2013 may be the year the coalition cold war heats up.
在新的一年里,两位党首将重设这两大目标的优先顺序。去年夏天,克莱格公然反对英国选区变更,类似的受限争论今年还会出现更多。不为人知的意见分歧可能更容易曝光。同时,双方也将提及现实政治的成果,因为一直以来,双方都未能给让公众信服。若两位党首能妥善平衡利害,两党从长期看来都将获益;但若不能,2013年将会成为联合政府的冷战升温期。翻译;沈骜

译文属译生译世

重点单词   查看全部解释    
realistic [riə'listik]

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adj. 现实的,现实主义的

 
opposition [.ɔpə'ziʃən]

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n. 反对,敌对,在野党

 
modify ['mɔdifai]

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v. 修改,修饰,更改

联想记忆
modest ['mɔdist]

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adj. 谦虚的,适度的,端庄的

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senior ['si:njə]

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adj. 年长的,高级的,资深的,地位较高的

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cliche ['kli:ʃei]

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n. 陈腔滥调

 
radical ['rædikəl]

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adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分

 
permanent ['pə:mənənt]

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adj. 永久的,持久的
n. 烫发

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distinguish [dis'tiŋgwiʃ]

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vt. 区别,辨认,使显著

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regulation [.regju'leiʃən]

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n. 规则,规章,管理
adj. 规定的,官方

 

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