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to think that it's perfectly legitimate for minority parties to form a coalition?

(15 Posts)
FishWithABicycle Thu 07-May-15 07:45:26

There's a lot of talk about what kind of coalition might be "legitimate" with a lot of the tory press asserting that (a) the party with the largest number of seats should get first shot at forming a coalition and (b) the current incumbent should also get first shot (they will shout this second even louder if Labour get more seats)

This is deliberately spreading an utter misunderstanding of how government works. If a number of smaller parties have enough in common to work together and enough reason to oppose the biggest party, then that biggest party being in opposition IS the democratic will of the people.

article being a bit more eloquent about this

As for (b) - Gordon Brown did not get first stab at forming a coalition 5 years ago and the tory press were howling for him to vacate downing street despite the fact that coalition negotiations were still ongoing. Funny that.

Quitelikely Thu 07-May-15 07:50:54

All the Rupert Murdoch newspapers are hanging out Labour and UKIP to dry.

It's funny how he liked Blair though isn't it, then the sun couldn't do enough but Just because the labour MPs were instrumental in the breakdown of the News of the World. He has it in for them.

And there's also that thing about his wife and Tony Blair.

Quitelikely Thu 07-May-15 07:51:32

Sorry about that rant! blush

DorothyL Thu 07-May-15 07:51:38

I absolutely agree. I think it shows that the UK is very inexperienced with coalitions, other countries are quite used to this.

Blueskybrightstar Thu 07-May-15 07:51:52

Well the expertise and statesmanship of UKIP plus the Green Party would work well for me..they probably cover everything you'd need politically / intellectually between them....and it's been a great solution for Italy over recent years so minority coalitions have definitely got my vote. Why did we not see this sooner??

FishWithABicycle Thu 07-May-15 08:06:26

Bluesky what a straw man, congratulations. I'd be very surprised if that coalition could work together at all given how little they have in common, and even more surprised if they had more than a tiny handful of seats between them

But if party X and party Y between them have more seats than party Z on their own then there is no moral imperative whatsoever for party Y to choose to cooperate with party Z instead of party X just because Z have more seats.

Politicalstats Thu 07-May-15 08:06:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blueskybrightstar Thu 07-May-15 08:07:41

I was obviously being facetious grin

DoraGora Thu 07-May-15 09:32:12

Legitimate is obviously using the wrong word. Would a rainbow coalition be practical. That's a reasonable question.

AuntieStella Thu 07-May-15 09:52:47

It's possible, but likely to result in a pretty lame duck government as you cannot be sure of passing any measures when House majority is wafer thin. More than two parties is likely to be unworkable. This coalition survived because there was a far-reaching agreement, with only two players.

The Lib/Lab pact didn't, because it was a looser arrangement, and everything became an ad hoc muddle including constant back room deals for just about everything.

Of course, having a government that does precisely nothing might be an attractive option in itself. Didn't Belgium go through that recently?

Politicalstats Thu 07-May-15 10:00:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoraGora Thu 07-May-15 10:01:59

It would look Tory, because under AV they would get all ukip's second preferences.

tiggytape Thu 07-May-15 10:03:12

But it is true that the incumbent party gets first go at forming a coalition when there is no party with a majority.

That bit is convention and is why Gordon Brown remained in office for a time after the last election to see if he could do a deal first.
Some people at the time accused him of squatting in number 10 despite losing but that wasn't fair - he had to stay until something feasible was in place to take over just as Cameron will have to stay for a bit if there's no clear winner today.

The idea that the winner is always the one with most seats is not correct assuming nobody gets an outright majority.

Assuming it is a hung result today, and assuming the Tories cannot form a coalition (even if they are the largest party) then Cameron steps aside as Gordon Brown did and Labour will either form a coalition or decide to rule as a minority government. Miliband with be PM but will have to hope the SNP and Greens and others will back him on all important votes.

If Labour cannot keep SNP, Greens and Liberals on side enough to get their votes through then Miliband will have to resign and there will be another General Election later this year. It will then be Miliband who gets first turn at trying to form a government if that result is hung as well which hopefully it wouldn't be.

IssyStark Thu 07-May-15 10:04:45

YANBU. The Tory press (and of course the Tories) are deliberately muddying the waters.

I don't see why a leftist coalition should not govern if they hold the majority regardless of the size of any single party within the coalition.

tiggytape Thu 07-May-15 10:11:52

Legitimate is obviously using the wrong word. Would a rainbow coalition be practical. That's a reasonable question.

Many people don't like the idea of a coalition of the losers but it would be perfectly legitimate in terms of holding enough seats in the commons to rule.
However it would almost certainly fail very quickly.
There is the ideological problem of getting enough back room deals done and enough broad agreement to hold it together. Small parties will be seen to have too much power. Labour would be run ragged trying to please everyone. Every important vote would lead to a fresh round of haggling.

And there is the practical problem of trying to get every MP to vote when required because having a small majority is only any good if the MPs actually turn up. So each time there was a late night vote in Westminster requiring every last SNP, Green and Labour member to be in London, the whole thing would be in danger of collapse.

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