UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron today was selected as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The 43 year old Cameron, who is Britain’s youngest prime minister in almost two centuries, regularly rode his bicycle to parliament. It’s unknown if Cameron will continue riding his bike from his new official residence at Number 10 Downing Street.
What other world leader gets around by bike?
In his campaign, Mr Cameron threw a few bones to the motoring lobby, though he also promotes high speed rail across Britain and green initiatives to encourage walking, cycling, and mass transit use.
Like the United States, the UK is increasingly dependent on imported oil for its energy needs. North Sea oil production fueled economic growth from the Thatcher era onwards. Although production peaked in 1999, the national government continued to receive substantial revenue from North Sea production, allowing lavish spending on social programs.
North Sea oil has not cushioned Britain from the worldwide economic turmoil of the past two years, leading to the dissolution of Gordon Brown’s Labour Party government. The Conservative Party plans to cut some taxes to stimulate economic growth, but with declining energy supplies economic growth is impossible though, to his credit, Cameron has resisted most tax cut proposals in favor of plans to cut government spending.
The UK’s 2009 oil revenue was half what it was in 2008, and 2010 will likely be even worse. Cameron and his coalition government with the Liberal Democrats will need to deal with the realities of physical resource constraints, climate change issues, economic recession, and lower tax revenues. It should be interesting for them and for all of us.