A bad example

by Aaron Wherry

The Guardian’s Martin Kettle considers the possibility of a minority government in Britain.

Britain has had hung parliaments and minority governments before. They have much to be said for them. They can make politics interesting. They can force governments to think twice before doing stupid things. But they can, as the Constitution Unit report emphasises, be well managed (as Salmond’s has mostly been in Scotland) or badly (as Canada illustrates).

They inevitably hand power to small parties as well as to factions within large parties – and thus to party whips. And journalists love hung parliaments. What hung parliaments cannot do, though, is to compel rival parties to co-operate on big reforms. By and large we don’t do coalitions – or co-operation. The idea that a hung parliament after the next general election will enable Labour and the Lib Dems to come seamlessly together and introduce a fairer electoral system is very seductive to many, but historically unpersuasive.

The Constitution Unit report is due for public release next week.




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A bad example

  1. ROFL – an english pundit commenting on our internal politics is about the eqyuivalent of us commenting on theirs – we share a history o fparliamentary procedures and protocoals but too many years and too many changes have gone by to equate them on a viable basis therefore anything this guys says about canadas system is worth the amount that a copy of the guadian costs about now! PS: ask a scot about scotland they might disagree.

  2. But they can, as the Constitution Unit report emphasises, be well managed (as Salmond's has mostly been in Scotland) or badly (as Canada illustrates).

    Whoo hoo! Canada's back!

  3. I think he's right on the money. Minority parliaments aren't inherently bad, we just haven't gotten used to them yet.

  4. The Brits are paying attention to us recently. New Labour is worried they are going to get election result similar to Tories in '93 and pundits appear to be thinking about minority governments because The Times also had something this week about hung parliament. I think Potter linked to it.

  5. Wait, what? There's a minority parliamentary government that's working? Let's emulate them!

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