When I was going to sleep on June 8th, I knew the next day was going to be pretty bad news. The poll predictions have been fairly reliable over the last few years, and it would require a large error margin to prevent the expected.
A hung parliament
Whenever I think of a hung parliament, I always think back to the first election I payed any sort of useful attention to in 2010. During the First Ministry of Cameron & Clegg, Clegg was seemingly a tool to show conservatives will to work with other parties, while still ignoring most of what the Liberal Democrats. Although, by the end of the coalition the Lib Dems really were losing support after voting in favour of raising tuition fees, which is contradictory to their manifesto. <see video below>
Although the comical factor still rings through, I don’t feel this is the main reason the Lib Dems didn’t get much of their manifesto pushed through.
But the point to pay attention to, was that coalitions don’t really work. It was quite an act watching the Tories working with the Lib Dems. Both parties didn’t really get much done because of the countless disagreements, and the tories looming majority, more on this at another time. It could be argued, that because of Cameron’s ‘bullying’ techniques, he was able to push more through. As such the Lib Dems just had to agree, in fear of the coalition falling apart which would be bad news for their falling public opinion and vote share.
Secondly, coalitions always remind me of a very key topic in many GCSE History specifications: Weimar Germany. In summary the weimar constitution used proportional representation. This meant the % of votes dictated the % of seats in the ‘Reichstag’. This means to get a majority number of seats you needed at least 1 in 2 people to vote for you. As you’d expected, this almost never happens, so coalitions are the only answer.
If you look at the pattern of elections, and how close they are to each other, you could probably guess these coalitions rarely held together.
Because of the coalitions decisions were rarely made and most decisions were watered down. This resulted in the Nazi Party rioting in the reichstag, and so forcing Hitler into power.
I don’t think anyone believes that coalitions are 100% positive and many people far from it, but I think we need to make the most of it, otherwise it will be a 5 year struggle.