Friday, May 07, 2010

The UK Has A Hung Parliament

Well, the UK election results are in, and as I predicted, the electorate pretty much hates everybody.

The Conservatives are projected to win 305 seats, short of the 326 needed for a majority even with the 10 Unionist seats from Ulster. Labour ended up with 257 and the Liberal democrats ended up with a mere 57 seats, which surprised a lot of people after Nick Clegg's strong showing in the debate. The fringe parties ( The Scottish National Party, Cymru, the Greens,Social Democratic and Labour Party, etc.)are projected to end up with 28.

In other words, Britain now has a hung Parliament and it's let's make a deal time.

Here's where it gets weird.

Numbers wise, the conservatives could ally with the Liberals, and Nicholas Clegg has already reiterated his position that the Conservatives should get first shot at forming a government:

During the election campaign, leader Nick Clegg repeatedly said the party with the "biggest mandate" should get the right to govern.

Speaking on Friday morning, he said that he "stuck" by that position and that the Conservatives, having won the most seats and votes, should have first right to try and form a government in the "national interest".

Many commentators have interpreted his comments as suggesting he would not "prop-up" a government led by Mr Brown even though his predecessor Lord Ashdown has suggested his party is "too far apart" from the Conservatives.

And Lord Ashdown has that right. An alliance between the Conservatives and the Libs would be roughly the equivalent of some center right and even slightly RINO Republicans putting together a government with the members of the far Left Congressional Progressive Caucus and splitting up cabinet posts and committee chairs between them!

According to British custom ( the country has no Constitution, so a lot of things get done out of tradition) Gordon Brown, the current Labour Prime Minister gets the first official shot at forming a government, in spite of leading his party to a major defeat.

Technically speaking, he's still in office and stays there until he or someone else produces a majority to govern. If he can't produce a majority, Brown will resign and the Conservatives, under David Cameron will get the chance to form a government.

A 'coalition of losers' (Labour and the Liberals) would be much closer ideologically than the Libs and the Conservatives, but they don't have the seats to make a majority to govern. And Clegg, after publicly coming out repeatedly for giving the party with the biggest popular mandate first shot at forming a government would look particularly hypocritical.

That said, Labour and the Libs could form a majority if they bribed the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Greens and Cymru to come aboard.All of these parties are close enough ideologically to make it work. The price would be horrendous, it would be a notoriously shaky coalition and it would amount to disenfranchising the British electorate...but it could work, and I have no doubt that Labour's apparatchiks and commissars will have a go at it without a second thought.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They'd be better off if they hung Parliament.