Coalition Government

Ahead of the second Queen’s Speech tomorrow it is worth reflecting on what coalition government has meant for British politics.

It has resulted in a stability and certainty in Government which as I recall was one of the Prime Minister’s principal reasons for going down this road. But stability has come at a price. I do not just mean the fact that many Government backbenchers feel their views are being ignored and preference is being given to the Liberal Democrats the general public are not bothered about the sensibilities of backbenchers but they are extremely worried about the trust  they feel they can place in politicians.

The fundamental problem with coalition government is that voters finish up with a menu of policies some of which were not on offer at the time of the general election and which no one voted for. M.P.’s are asked time and time again to vote for measures they do not agree with either wholly or in part. It is dishonest and there is no wonder electors continue to refuse to turnout and vote in elections in such large numbers they simply do not trust politicians.

Finally it would be remiss of me not to commiserate with the losing candidates from Thursday’s local elections and congratulate the winners. Not a good night for the Conservatives but an even worse night for the health of our democracy.

7 thoughts on “Coalition Government

  1. “It is dishonest”

    Fair enough.

    Then from me a genuine question. What’s your alternative?

    • Hi,
      Personally, I think the alternative is for MP’s to stick to what they actually believe and not be persuaded by the whips to vote for things which they really do not believe in.

      Secondly, it is one reason why I do not favour proportional representation which would only result in more (probably even permanent) coalition government.

      David

  2. “Finally it would be remiss of me not to commiserate with the losing candidates from Thursday’s local elections and congratulate the winners.”

    Thank you. I suspect that your colleagues locally were somewhat shellshocked by the results, although possibly not as much as your LibDem partners who were consistently behind the English Democrats and UKIP. I wonder how that will play out in Westminster…

    “Not a good night for the Conservatives but an even worse night for the health of our democracy.”

    My impression was that many Tory votes were lost to UKIP – and that should worry you. The turnout was poor, but by no means exceptionally bad, as any psephologist will tell you.

    As for your point about coalition government – you have the means at your disposal to raise fellow Tory backbenchers and tell Cameron that you want a general election to clear the air and get a majority.

    So what’s stopping you?

  3. David, I can see that you are living up to your own suggestion and have voted against the whip on a number of occasions. Whilst a lot of these appear to be fairly procedural it is nevertheless good to have an MP who can think for himself.

    I wonder however whether you would have
    “rebelled” quite so often had the government had a small majority.

    In the event that your vote and a vote of a very small number of colleagues had regularly
    caused government bills to fail, you might have thought (more than) twice. Not only for the “trouble” that you would have had from the whips, but also the effect it would have had on the governance of the country.

    There will always be issues that weren’t in the manifesto even if it is a single party government. Even if the main thrust of the
    policy was in the manifesto there will always be issues with the smallprint that some MPs will not like.

    I am sure your whips would suggest that in those circumstances nothing would ever get done. Would they be right?

    • Hi James,

      I always vote for what I think is the best interests of my Country and my Constituents – if the Government lose a vote because of my vote so be it. I agree with your comment about the main thrust of a policy and indeed there are times when an M.P. may not agree with the entire content of a Bill but agrees with the overall intent and so will vote for it.

      As for nothing ever getting done I subscribe to the view that if only making new laws was the solution to the Country’s problems they would have been solved years ago. Sadly, all too often a new law fails to cure the ill it was supposed to remedy. We need fewer but better thought out laws.

      David

      • “I always vote for what I think is the best interests of my Country and my Constituents – if the Government lose a vote because of my vote so be it.”

        I would hazard a guess that you voted for the budget did you not? One would have thought that such a principled MP would be inclined to vote against such a misbegotten piece of legislation, given that it was so unpopular and badly thought out. Clearly your loyalty to the Tories is not an issue when you’re told to toe the line and vote through unjust cuts and tax breaks for millionaires – such as your own cabinet, for example.

        I need not quote to you the opinion poll ratings of the Tory party – you will no doubt know them well. Suffice to say that your support for a party that actively harms the people of your constituency will not go unnoticed.

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