LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the ruling Conservative Party, strode to the center of the House of Commons one day recently and took his position the traditional two swords’ length from the opposition.
Soon came the attack: he compared the Labor Party leader’s allegiance to unions to a Sicilian mayor controlled by the Mafia. Labor leader Ed Miliband promptly returned the verbal thrust, calling Cameron “clueless.”
On the surface, the British political debate can sound even worse than the caustic soundtrack of the gridlocked Congress. But beyond the outrageous rhetoric that took place during Prime Minister’s Questions, what has occurred in recent months in Parliament might be startling to those who have observed Washington lawmakers paralyzed into inaction.
There was no gridlock here, no lengthy filibusters, no government shutdown, no threat to bust the debt limit. The Conservative Party leadership forged a coalition with liberals to pass legislation allowing same-sex marriage, and passed a budget without significant amendment.
Indeed, most of the government’s bills become law within a few months of being offered, as is nearly always the case no matter who is in charge.
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