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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three into one won't go

Those who argue that a coalition is an aberration in a system designed to produce two-party government are forgetting that political parties are themselves coalitions.

That is why those of us who argue for a proportional voting system claim that it is a more honest one, because it allows factions within parties to stand alone on their own terms and fight elections on a policy platform they find more comfortable.

Yes, proportional voting may lead to more coalition governments but at least they will be openly constructed administrations in which we can all see and understand the compromises being made, rather than having to second guess behind-closed-doors stitch-ups within the two biggest parties.

The current furore over Europe illustrates this very well. This is an issue that has split the Conservative party for the best part of 40 years, a schism that has at times led to civil war within that party and even destabilised majority governments. Labour has not been exempt from this anguish either and even the pro-European Liberal Democrats have suffered problems, leading to MPs resigning front bench positions so as to vote against the whip.

Now, we are faced with the extraordinary spectacle of the Prime Minister instructing Conservative Ministers to vote against the Queen's speech and giving his backbenchers a free vote so as to avoid a more damaging split over an amendment seeking a referendum on membership of the EU.

The last time a government suffered a defeat on the Queen's speech was 1924 when the Prime Minister was forced to resign. I am fairly sure that will not happen this time however this affair illustrates my point. With such a strong anti-European faction within the Conservative Party, there are not two parties in this coalition, there are three.
Spot on Peter, I also think that in the future we will have more coalitions. Simply, as you say, to have a better representation across the whole spectrum. The two party system in modern democracy is outdated and has proven to be virtually unworkable. As we can note today.
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