As mentioned in earlier posts, we had a couple students this spring covering the same European country, and I will sometimes post two student guest posts on the same topic and country because I think each post adds something interesting and new. Falling on the “interesting” side, here is another guest post on the UK’s coalition government that is a comedic take on this more serious post from a previous guest blogger!
Often in a parliamentary system, after an election, the political party that holds a majority of the seats in Parliament forms the government and makes the policy decisions with virtually no opposition to worry about. However, there are times when no political party holds a majority of seats…Uh oh! What happens then?
If no political party wins a majority of seats, the result is what’s known as a “hung parliament.” This is exactly what happened in the 2009 general election in the UK. Britons simply couldn’t make up their minds about what political party should handle the mess that is the British economy. The Conservative Party had 306 seats at around 47%, though, and needed to form a coalition government. Ultimately, the Tories picked the Liberal Democrats who held 57 seats, about 8% to form their government.
This has resulted in a rather awkwardly centrist (leaning slightly right) coalition. The most glaring difference is the Lib Dems desired love affair with the Euro and the rest of continental Europe. True to form, the Tories have always acted as if the rest of Europe and its currency has an infectious disease with no cure. The result has been Nick Klegg’s amusing facial expressions during Question Time.
A more interesting result of this coalition has been Prime Minister David Cameron’s public support for same-sex marriage in the UK. This could be as a result of the Lib Dems agenda of socially progressive policies, increased public support, or a confluence of both factors. In any case, this would be a major change in policy for the Tories who typically support traditional, family values.
Overall, the current coalition seems to be working out politically despite some major policy disagreements. In public, Misters Cameron and Klegg seem to get along quite jovially, as seen here.
This leads to the title of this blog: are the Tories and Lib Dems involved in a marriage doomed for failure or are they having too much fun off camera?
“IPU PARLINE Database: UNITED KINGDOM (House of Commons), Electoral System.” Web. 01 Mar. 2012. <http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/2335_B.htm>.