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UK Election Arcana, Explained By Software

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the ask-the-queen dept.

Government 568

An anonymous reader writes "For the first time in 35 years the UK government is looking to be at risk of getting a hung or coalition government. (The most recent previous hung parliaments were in 1974 and 1929.) The voting rules are somewhat arcane and the votes this time are such that there are many strange possible outcomes and a surprisingly large number of permutations of coalitions that could be formed and political strategies that may go into their forming. There are at least 60 permutations, some more politically plausible than others. Adam Back wrote some software to work out the permutations, and lists some of the arcane factors affecting the outcome. If Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown chose to, it would appear even that he could simply refuse to resign, ostensibly trying to form a coalition indefinitely, maybe even forcing the Queen to dismiss the current government, which last happened in 1834 under King William IV."

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Silly Brits (5, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149632)

Silly Brits.

This is why they need a reasonable, commonsense system like our electoral college.

Re:Silly Brits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149698)

it is a similar system, it's just that we have 3 parties, in which case it's a horribly broken system.

Re:Silly Brits (4, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149712)

It's why we need to Take Back Parliament [takebackparliament.com] and get a fair voting system. I went to the protest in London [nyud.net] yesterday, and I encourage anyone that can to come to the next one, on Saturday (14:00, 15th May, Parliament Square, London).

Re:Silly Brits (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149826)

Just be glad your broken system is a lot less broken than the US system. At least you guys -have- minority parties. Good luck finding a single person in the US congress that isn't a republican or democrat (or an 'independent' who votes 99.999% with one of the 2 parties).

While the UK system may be broken, its a lot better than the system from across the ocean....

Re:Silly Brits (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150064)

No, that's the wrong way to see it.

"Well, at least it's better than in bumfuckistan" is a justification for complacency. Don't wait for it to get worse, do some work and help make it better.

At least you guys -have- minority parties. Good luck finding a single person in the US congress that isn't a republican or democrat (or an 'independent' who votes 99.999% with one of the 2 parties).

So are you trying to do something about it, or just complain about it online?

The grandparent is setting an excellent example here.

Re:Silly Brits (4, Insightful)

OnlyJedi (709288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150088)

Mod parent up. As much as it seems silly that the two losing parties still remain in power, it isn't when you think of it. If combined they still represent more votes (and thus a higher percentage of people's views), shouldn't they be the ones in power rather than a party that a majority of people didn't want?

This is pretty much what happened when Nader "spoiled" the vote for Gore in Florida back in 2000. Even if you discount the whole recount issue, if Nader hadn't been running most of his votes would have likely gone to Gore (both being liberals), and Gore would have easily won the state and the election. Similarly, if the UK were a 2-party system, the Labour and Lib Dems (which if I recall are both more similar to each other than the Conservatives) would be a single party and easily have won.

The benefits of having multiple parties is that no matter who "wins", without a clear majority the ruling coalition needs to be built on compromise. Whether it's Conservatives + Lib Dems, or Labour + Lib Dems, or one of the other permutations, the government can't go too far to one extreme. More importantly, minor parties are still needed to form a coalition, giving them a chance to make some of their views heard.

This can give new ideas—ideas that may be popular with the electorate but too risky/unknown to make traction with the main parties—a chance to be tested while still having a sort of buffer preventing them from being taken too far to quickly. Think, for example, the Pirate Party; major parties are too beholden to big corporate donations to advocate sensible copyright reform, yet that doesn't mean there shouldn't be advocates for it in the legislature.. Compare this to the US, where the two parties have been pretty stagnant for as long as anyone can remember, and new ideas are quickly shot down as "radical" from both sides

Re:Silly Brits (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150104)

Further, at least in the UK even the Conservatives aren't batshit crazy. Unless I've missed the coverage about how Gordon Brown is actually from Kenya and wants to kill your grandma whilst implanting the Mark Of The Beast into your forehead.

That's what passes for "conservative" nowadays in the US: one part racism, one part religious wingnuttery and one part radical anarchism disguised as Reagan worship.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150092)

I looked at that web page but I'm a little unsure of what Take Back Parliament is calling for. Are they calling for a system where the number of seats in parliament for a party is proportional to their percentage of the popular vote? If so then this is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. Under such a scheme how would you get direct representation from ridings in parliament? How would you ever get a majority government? Israel has a proportional representation system (the Knesset) and it's complete and utter chaos much of the time. In fact, many Israelis consider it broken and are calling for reform to create a more American-style system. As a consequence of Israel's system, frequent elections and very frequent reversal of policies which makes it very hard to make progress on many issues.

Re:Silly Brits (1, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149768)

The way the British do it -is- a reasonable commonsense system and it lets -everyone- more or less have their voices heard. There are 650 seats in the house of commons there are 535 seats in the US congress. The UK has a population of 62,041,708, the US has a population of 309,230,000. That means that there is one representative for every 95,448 people in the UK, in the US there are 578,000 people for every one representative. In the UK, that leads to a lot more accountability. Similarly look in the US, there are only, what? 3 seats in congress not filled by a republican or democrat? There is not a single libertarian in congress which claims is the third largest party in the USA. On the other hand, there are -many- niche parties represented in the UK House of Commons that aren't Conservative, Labour or even Liberal Democrat. This means that more people have their political views represented in their government than the US. Mix this in with the fact that each country with the exception of England have their own parliament, means that each person has a lot more say in their government without compromising.

Shouldn't -everyone- have at least one MP/representative of their chosen political ideology in government? The UK system makes this possible, the US system does not.

Re:Silly Brits (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149830)

The way the British do it -is- a reasonable commonsense system and it lets -everyone- more or less have their voices heard.

Oh, bollocks.

If I remember correctly, the UKIP got about twice as many votes as the SNP and the BNP got about the same number of votes as the SNP, yet the SNP got six seats and the UKIP and BNP didn't get any. The British government is determined primarily by the votes of a million or so voters in central England, because most of the rest of the country is a safe seat for one of the three main parties... consequently the main parties crap on the core supporters while they all fight over those few voters who can determine the outcome.

It's an abysmal system and it's hard to see how you could create something worse if you really want to to 'let everyone have their voices heard'. Where I used to live my vote was utterly irrelevant because the Tory MP had such a large majority that they would get elected regardless of who I voted for.

You may be right that the US system is even worse, but the idea that the British system 'lets everyone have their voices heard' is simply absurd. That's precisely what it's designed to _NOT_ do.

Re:Silly Brits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150098)

In light of the BNP's platform and positions, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Re:Silly Brits (3, Informative)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149850)

Bollocks. The Liberal Democrats got 25% of the vote but only 8% of the seats. How is that common sense? Due to constituency boundary changes their share of the vote went up but the number of seats they have actually went down. The system we have is crap and needs to change.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149910)

Better than the US though, a party could easily have 25% of the popular votes and no representation.

While I agree that changing of boundaries to undermine the political system, its still better than the US.

Re:Silly Brits (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150052)

Better than the US though, a party could easily have 25% of the popular votes and no representation.

That's also possible in the UK. Each seat is contested on a first-past-the-post basis, and the winner typically has 30-40% of the vote. The remaining 60-70% are then discarded. If you get 25% in every constituency but another party gets 26% then you get no seats. It's even more fun than this, because it doesn't have to be the same other party; one other party could get 26% in 326 seats and 0% in the other 364. They would then have a majority of seats and control of Parliament, with only 13% of the popular vote, while the party with 25% of the popular vote had no representation at all.

There's a reason why electoral reform is the key issue for all of the smaller parties. One or other of the two major parties needs to get them on board to be able to form a government, but the price of doing so is likely to be a form of proportional representation for the next election (which, if we go by 1974's precedent, will be in a few months) and then neither Labour nor the Conservatives will be able to get a majority ever again. Even the 36% or so that the Conservatives got is probably a lot more than they'd get under PR - a lot of people voted Conservative because it meant not-Labour (just as a lot of people voted not-Conservative in the past), and would likely vote for a smaller party if their vote would actually be likely to affect the outcome.

Re:Silly Brits (4, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149886)

The UK system is crap -- it's not as bad as the US system, but it's still pretty awful.

In many areas it's more-or-less irrelevant who you vote for -- the same party wins every year.

In other areas it's a contest between two of the biggest three parties, and not voting for one of those two is essentially wasting your vote; many people in these situations vote for the "less bad" of the two parties. (e.g. they might like party B, but 'know' that either A or C will win. A isn't as bad, so they vote A to try and stop C winning.)

The Liberal Democrats get a decent number of votes all across the country (23% this year) but don't get a fair number of seats in Parliament (9%). Labour got 29% of the vote and 40% of the seats, the Conservatives got 36% of the vote and 47% of the seats in Parliament. The smallest parties are even worse-off than the Lib Dems: the Greens got 1% of the vote this year, and for the first time got a single seat -- 0.15% of the seats! (results [bbc.co.uk] .)

Re:Silly Brits (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149988)

>>The way the British do it -is- a reasonable commonsense system and it lets -everyone- more or less have their voices heard.

I was also being firmly sarcastic with my comment.

In all honesty, the American system is heavily flawed (it excludes third parties almost entirely), but it's also given us a reasonable government that hadn't screwed up things too too badly over the years.

It's actually very interesting to study early American history and the notions they had of deference and whatnot. While I'm not advocating returning to a system where you had to be a landowner in order to vote, the Jacksonian revolution led to the rise of the political machines and whatnot, which is a legacy we're still dealing with today.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150024)

but it's also given us a reasonable government that hadn't screwed up things too too badly over the years.

George. W. Bush.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150102)

Precisely. Not great (I'm not a fan of the man), but not a total disaster either.

Well, I guess it was a disaster for Iraqis. But for Americans, he presided over a relatively stable and growing nation.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150078)

Shouldn't -everyone- have at least one MP/representative of their chosen political ideology in government?

IMHO, the answer to your question is "No". In a two party system, both parties try to appeal to the majority of the voters. This tends to keep the elected officials reasonably moderate and avoids coalitions in which a fringe group has a vastly disproportionate voice. Republicans moved too far to the right and got voted out; Democrats are currently too far to the left and will soon be voted out.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149774)

From reading wikipedia, the systems sound similar. In the UK each region elects an MP and then the MPs vote in a government. The current problem is that none of the parties has enough MPs to actually vote in a government. If one party tries; all the other parties will vote against and prevent it. The US hasnt had this problem because only 2 parties seem to get elected there.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

Leynos (172919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150076)

The MPs don't decide the government. The party with more than (total number of MPs / 2) MPs forms the government.

Since no party has an overall majority, the previous government stays in power. Traditionally, they are given first dibs at forming a coalition, however, since the Tories got more votes, they are giving them that opportunity.

But what you're saying has more or less the same effect.

Re:Silly Brits (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150094)

In the UK each region elects an MP and then the MPs vote in a government

Not quite true. The MPs don't vote in a government ever, the Queen invites someone to form a government (typically the leader of the party with the majority). The MPs can hold a vote of no confidence in the current government and force an election, but they don't vote to form one. All members of the government are appointed by the Prime Minister, and must be MPs, but they may be either Commoners or Lords (in a few cases, people have been given peerages to allow them to hold government office, but it's quite rare. Lord Mandleson of the Sith is the latest example).

A government does not always require a majority. Currently, we have a minority Labour government, until either there is a Parliamentary vote of no confidence in Gordon Brown or the Queen invites someone else to form a government. This is what happened in 1974, after a couple of by-elections, but it didn't last very long.

Almost no difference...just more efficient (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149788)

This is why they need a reasonable, commonsense system like our electoral college.

Your electoral college was probably based on the UK parliament. We vote for MPs who then effectively determine the prime minister. The only difference is that the 'electoral college' then hangs around to pass laws in place of a separate house of representatives. In this way we have fewer elections and avoid the deadlock that would result from having a prime minister without legislative support.

I should also point out that the original article is wrong in that the UK is not 'at risk' of a hung parliament (not government): it already has a hung parliament. No need to get excited though: there is a word of difference between a hung and hanged! ;-)

Re:Almost no difference...just more efficient (4, Funny)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149806)

No need to get excited though: there is a word of difference between a hung and hanged! ;-)

such a shame I for one would vote to hang them all..

Re:Almost no difference...just more efficient (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149894)

it already has a hung parliament. No need to get excited though: there is a word of difference between a hung and hanged! ;-)

Either way, what's the down side?

ya so you can have bush permantly (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149804)

no matter who gets elected

right
ya know the system they have is better cause
A) if two parties work together and screw it up it gives the third party ammunition to get power
it also allows for other parties to enter the scene if the coalition parties do badly

B)think canada if 20 indepandants got elected and held the balance a power
those independent areas would get a lot to vote one way or other on issues and aren't tied to party lines neither

C)its in fact the most democratic
this is why Hollywood is having such a hard time bribing all the politicians up here. BET its really costing a lot to bribe the top 3 parties.

D) its why for all mister moores mouthing off about his revival of bill c61 it will fail, 80% of canada at the recent consultation said LOWER TERMS and or no change to law.

E) when politicians that other wise despise one another have to work together its funny to see the squirm factor and the acting of fake smiles, it also means transparency is easier as its ore likely that stuff could get leaked trying ot make one side look bad over the other.

F) IT will be very interesting to have the top two parties in England help each other out and then fail and give that liberal democrat power , they dont want that so .....haha fun in fact

HAHA

Re:Silly Brits (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149856)

It all went downhill when they got rid of the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Re:Silly Brits (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150146)

As I understand it, the UK never really got rid of Silly Walks; they just folded gait correction into the National Health Service.

Re:Silly Brits (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149862)

From what I gather the UK system was rather screwed up and in 1832 they had a huge reform, making it more like the US system with first past the post. Not sure how much the Brits cared about what the Americans did at the time, but it seems they already brought the US system back. Not the best choice, then again there weren't that many great choices in Europe at the time...

Re:Silly Brits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150044)

brought the US system back.

lol wut?

Re:Silly Brits (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150150)

Ouch. If you think the 1832 Reform Act made it worse, you really need to look at the way it worked before...

The act didn't introduce first-past-the-post, that was always the electoral system in the UK. It changed where the seats were. Previously, MPs represented areas that a previous monarch had granted a Commons seat to. The populations of these changed during the Industrial Revolution, as many people moved to the cities. Places with populations of tens of thousands had no MPs, while some villages with only half a dozen eligible voters had one. Because it's very easy to bribe half a dozen voters, these were known as Rotten Burroughs, and were typically represented by the younger son of a local landowner.

The act also extended the vote to slightly poorer people. Universal suffrage did not come for another hundred years, and even most men couldn't vote after the act, but it was a step in the right direction.

Risk? (1)

ytm (892332) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149638)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too. What is the problem here?

Re:Risk? (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149650)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too. What is the problem here?

Because neither of the major parties are willing to work with each other.

Re:Risk? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149696)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too. What is the problem here?

Because neither of the major parties are willing to work with each other.

But isn't that still to be tested? I don't think it should be called a hung parliament until they get to a point where legislation isn't being passed.

Re:Risk? (4, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149710)

I don't think it should be called a hung parliament until someone shows up with 6500 metres of good strong rope.

Re:Risk? (2, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149750)

Horses are hung. Parliament is hanged.

Re:Risk? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149828)

I don't think it should be called a hung parliament until someone shows up with 6500 metres of good strong rope.

Easier just to blow the place up don't you think?

(damn, I'm going to have to avoid the UK now)

Re:Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149970)

Easier just to blow the place up don't you think?

(damn, I'm going to have to avoid the UK now)

Please don't, the building [wikipedia.org] is incredible (look at the full-size images).

(Anyway, Parliament is the people, not the place. Parler = discuss, as any pirate knows.)

Re:Risk? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149834)

I don't think it should be called a hung parliament until someone shows up with 6500 metres of good strong rope.

That would be a hanged parliament. The closest we got to that was 1605...and we still celebrate it every year to this day.

Re:Risk? (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149946)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too. What is the problem here?

Because neither of the major parties are willing to work with each other.

But isn't that still to be tested? I don't think it should be called a hung parliament until they get to a point where legislation isn't being passed.

Except they don't have enough votes for a supermajority for a new PM.

Re:Risk? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149908)

Ok, but how is that a bad thing?

Re:Risk? (4, Insightful)

apricotmuffins (950235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149670)

Because everyone in this country is still hung up on class. The working class would never vote for tories, and the middle/upper class would never vote labour. And only crazy hippies vote libdem. our parents did it, as did our parents parents... Maybe we'll realise we're being left behind before its too late.

Re:Risk? (3, Insightful)

Fraser J Gordon (742490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149716)

Of course, it doesn't help that the article labels the Tories as "capitalists" and Labour as "socialists" when Labour are no longer anything of the sort. They may have originally been founded on such principles but they are now fairly right-leaning (by British standards). It would be more accurate the Lib Dems socialists but that's not entirely true either because they are a mix of social liberals and economic liberals.

Re:Risk? (1)

apricotmuffins (950235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149818)

Bang on the mark. The political choices in this country are very close together. The only one who is truly liberal left is the green party.

Re:Risk? (1)

Fraser J Gordon (742490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149930)

Very true and congratulations to them for achieving their first MP. I believe that many people in the UK are fairly supportive of liberal parties and politics but end up voting Tory or Labour because they dislike the other and will vote tactically to defeat them. Compare the pre-election polling figures for the Lib Dems (up to 30% in some polls) with their much reduced true vote (20%).

Re:Risk? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149844)

And only crazy hippies vote libdem.

I think we'd be in even worse trouble if 23% of the country were 'crazy hippies'.

Re:Risk? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149870)

I think we'd be in even worse trouble if 23% of the country were 'crazy hippies'.

It's not that bad: only about 50% of people can be bothered to vote for any party that's on offer, and that's assuming that the stories of mass postal vote fraud by the Labour party aren't true.

So on that basis only about 10% of the population are crazy hippies.

Re:Risk? (4, Insightful)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149860)

Because everyone in this country is still hung up on class. The working class would never vote for tories, and the middle/upper class would never vote labour. And only crazy hippies vote libdem. our parents did it, as did our parents parents... Maybe we'll realise we're being left behind before its too late.

The people who voted for the Lib Dems are not "crazy hippes", they are people who want a change in the system and/or are sick of Labour. They certainly didn't vote for the Lib Dems so that they could cement conservative power though. If they opt for a coalition with the conservatives I suspect that most of their support will vanish.

Re:Risk? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149902)

Because everyone in this country is still hung up on class. The working class would never vote for tories, and the middle/upper class would never vote labour. And only crazy hippies vote libdem. our parents did it, as did our parents parents... Maybe we'll realise we're being left behind before its too late.

The people who voted for the Lib Dems are not "crazy hippes", they are people who want a change in the system and/or are sick of Labour. They certainly didn't vote for the Lib Dems so that they could cement conservative power though. If they opt for a coalition with the conservatives I suspect that most of their support will vanish.

I think the Liberal Democrats should push for electoral reform as their only requirement for joining a coalition, then sit down, shut up, accumulate money, and wait for the next election.

Re:Risk? (1)

apricotmuffins (950235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149966)

I should learn sarcasm doesn't translate over the internet! I'm a total full-on libdem supporter.

Re:Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149812)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too.

It's quite common in the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments too!

Re:Risk? (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149976)

Why is coalition government called "risk"? It's quite common in continental Europe and in European Parliament too. What is the problem here?

Essentially because it's not stable with a first past the post election system. It's easier for the two major parties to decide to reroll, and go back to business as usual.

Re:Risk? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149990)

true, but the european governments had similar problems until they realised that coalition rule was the only way things were going to be in the future. In other words, they were as argumentative and self-centred until the electorate bitch-slapped them into cooperating with each other.

In the UK, this is new to us, we're still in the argumentative, self-centered, un-cooperative phase. If the electoral system was changed to be a little more fair to the voters (ie a more proportionate representation system is established) then they will realise they have to work together and hopefully start to do that.

At least we have a load of new MPs now, after chucking the really corrupt ones.

Re:Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150014)

We see the same irrational fear of coalition governments here in Canada. I think that deep down, a lot of people (at least in British or formerly British places) like having a "ruler" and aren't too hung up on the kind of compromise that democracy really requires. It becomes even more apparent here when the leader of our minority government acts unilaterally and a significant part of the population thinks this is a good thing. Maybe it's some kind of hangup from the days of Monarchy.

If Labour doesn't get in... (4, Funny)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149666)

What will Slashdot do without the steady stream of news about how the UK is becoming more of a surveillance state? There will hardly be anything here anymore.

I'll be going back to hang out with the overzealous teenage ubuntu fanboys and militant atheists on Digg

Re:If Labour doesn't get in... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149942)

Erosion of civil liberties isn't a party political or, indeed, national issue. It's a constant battle - eternal vigilance and all that. But the 1984 references work best when talking about the UK.

Given what we have now... (1)

Jahmbo (807363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149680)

I would be perfectly happy letting a piece of software choose the goverment. As it is now we aren;t represented by the best person for the job, rather the person most able to gather votes.

Re:Given what we have now... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149784)

I'm all for it; unless Microsoft or Diebold write the software....

Re:Given what we have now... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149796)

The problem is that losers with 25% of the actual votes only get a twelth of the voting power in parliament. It might be nice to have a democracy where 2 out of 3 parties have to support new law rather than it being a foregone conclusion most of the time.

Re:Given what we have now... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149896)

I would be perfectly happy letting a piece of software BE the government.

Vote 'Helios AI' in the October elections!

Re:Given what we have now... (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149954)

I would be perfectly happy letting a piece of software BE the government.

Vote 'Skynet' in the October elections!

Fixed that for you.

Arcane? (3, Insightful)

NotoriousDAN (588957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149688)

How is this arcane? The article plainly describes how a British-style parliamentary system works, as practiced in many countries throughout the world (including Canada), and with a special emphasis on the outcome of the most recent election. This is only confusing to foreigners and people unfamiliar with basic civics.

Re:Arcane? (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149800)

He is talking about the secret Mage Council that rules the United Kingdom.

Re:Arcane? (3, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149832)

Well, your whole democracy is a patch. A hack. You still keep the queen around, of course, she has no political power and her role is to produce news for the tabloids that the illiterate of your country can follow. The queen in the UK = Oprah in the states. Except, that according to the law, the queen can still intervene. Her powers, while null in practice, are still intact on paper. Please remember the Fear of queen-intervention in Canada a few months ago, and a similar situation now in the UK. So, this arcane bitch that you keep for decorative purposes has actual power that she can use at any time. Off course, nobody will actually let her use it. The deal is: She gets to keep the crown and go to boring parties as long as she doesn't use her power. If she does, the people will kick her out in the blink of an eye.

So, that's what I call Arcane. That's an ugly hack. A workaround.

Off course, there are systems that are even more stupid and broken that the on in the UK, for instance, the electoral-college, two-party system in the US. /Disclaimer: I am neither from the States nor the UK.

Is this the M.P.L.A
Or is this the U.D.A
Or is this the I.R.A
I thought it was the U.K or just
another country
another council tenancy

Isn't it sad that Lyndon is doing ads for margarine, and that Dave Mustain said he won't do the cover of Anarchy in the UK anymore because he's now a stupid Christian?

Sorry to go off-topic ... my mind wonders ....

Re:Arcane? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149858)

You still keep the queen around, of course, she has no political power and her role is to produce news for the tabloids that the illiterate of your country can follow. The queen in the UK = Oprah in the states.

No, not true. The queen still has absolute control in at least the UK and Australia. I have a copy of the Australian constitution and it is a very thin book. It pretty much says "the queen may set up the government in a particular way, or she may not".

The people may not like it but the queen is effectively a dictator.

Re:Arcane? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149984)

Dude, would you mind reading all of my post before posting stupid crap?

From my post:

Except, that according to the law, the queen can still intervene. Her powers, while null in practice, are still intact on paper. Please remember the Fear of queen-intervention in Canada a few months ago, and a similar situation now in the UK. So, this arcane bitch that you keep for decorative purposes has actual power that she can use at any time. Off course, nobody will actually let her use it. The deal is: She gets to keep the crown and go to boring parties as long as she doesn't use her power. If she does, the people will kick her out in the blink of an eye.

It was right in the NEXT SENTENCE after the one you quoted.

Re:Arcane? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150000)

Well, your whole democracy is a patch. A hack. You still keep the queen around, of course, she has no political power and her role is to produce news for the tabloids that the illiterate of your country can follow. The queen in the UK = Oprah in the states. Except, that according to the law, the queen can still intervene. Her powers, while null in practice, are still intact on paper. Please remember the Fear of queen-intervention in Canada a few months ago, and a similar situation now in the UK. So, this arcane bitch that you keep for decorative purposes has actual power that she can use at any time. Off course, nobody will actually let her use it. The deal is: She gets to keep the crown and go to boring parties as long as she doesn't use her power. If she does, the people will kick her out in the blink of an eye.

I think you mean the politicians will kick her out. I seriously doubt the vast majority of the population with the current Queen going a bit dictatorial, at least in the short term, considering what they think of the average politician.

Heck, if she decided to dissolve parliament and fire every current MP, you'd probably see people partying in the streets.

Re:Arcane? (5, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149912)

It's not arcane but it is a bit outdated and arguably unfair in the sense the Lib Dems had nearly as many votes as Labour but a fraction of the seats.

If you look at the numnbers, they have the following number of seats:
con: 306
labour 258
lib dem 57.

It sounds like the conservatives trashed the lib dems but that's not really the case.

If you look at the actual votes it goes like this:
con: 10,706,647
labour: 8,604,358
Liberal Democrat 6,827,938

While I don't want Labour back in power if they do form a coalition I don't think it's that bad of a deal. More people did get what the party they voted for and Labout and Lib Dems do actually have more in common.

I think the system needs tweaking to reflect the portion of votes that each party received. Should Lib Dems have such little power (assuming no coalitions) compared to Labour when nearly as many people picked them? Arguably all systems are like this when you group a whole nation's total votes but the UK is small enough, imo, that perhaps it should. You can't really say different blocks within London, for example, are so different that we should leave things as is.

Re:Arcane? (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149922)

I forgot to add, I think a hung parliament is actually a good thing. If we could keep it as is then they would have to work together rather than one dominant party pushing through what they want rather than what the whole of the UK wants.

More than 2 parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149690)

This shit happens when you have more than 2 parties, but the genuine options are:
Tory+lib dem coalition
Tory minority gov
Rainbow coalition (Labour+Lib+SDLP+DUP+Green+plyd cumri+possibly SNP) [the murdoch media like to call this the coalition of the defeated but aslong as i get my electoral reform i don't give a shit]

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149708)

What electoral reform do you want?

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149720)

The fact some polling stations ran out of paper for people to vote on.... well, that should pretty much sum up the things that need reforming. "Complete incompetence"

Educational, not electoral reform (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149926)

That is best dealt with via educational, not electoral reform. e.g. the ability to solve complex maths problems like: 'if there are 2,143 people on the electoral roll for my polling station what is the minimum number of ballot papers I need?'.

Electoral reform is to solve problems like why does it take approximately 4 times more votes to get one lib dem politician vs. labour/conservative ones?

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

Fraser J Gordon (742490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149760)

Well, one of the three main parties (Liberal Democrats) received ~20% of the votes yet significantly less than 10% of the seats, a situation which has happened in most recent elections. It is fairly simple to argue that this doesn't reflect the voting preferences of the population.

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149814)

Well, one of the three main parties (Liberal Democrats) received ~20% of the votes yet significantly less than 10% of the seats, a situation which has happened in most recent elections. It is fairly simple to argue that this doesn't reflect the voting preferences of the population.

Yeah I know. I am an Australian so I am familiar with the different approaches to this problem. I am interested to find out exactly what solution the Liberal Democrats in the UK would like to see implemented.

Re:More than 2 parties (2, Informative)

Fraser J Gordon (742490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149876)

They desire Single Transferable Vote (STV). The BBC provides quite a good comparison of the proposed systems and where they are currently used within the UK, along with how the 2005 election would have gone with each system: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8644480.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149842)

Proportional representation would be nice.

FPTP breeds a two party system generally. Kind of evil and broken.

AV+ (4, Interesting)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149824)

AV+ [wikipedia.org] * Maintain single-member constituencies.
* Would lead to a more proportional result than first-past-the-post system , but would still give a built-in advantage to the largest party and allow one-party rule during landslide years.
* Would be more likely to prevent extremist parties or fringe parties from winning seats than entirely proportional systems. [No BNP!]
* Would lessen the necessity of tactical voting.
The Roy Jenkins Commission settled on this option.

Re:AV+ (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149854)

Would be more likely to prevent extremist parties or fringe parties from winning seats than entirely proportional systems. [No BNP!]

Yeah, because its so great in the USA where we have 2 parties and any 'fringe' parties are out cold. Look at all those great solutions that the republicans and democrats have given us! Nothing better than 2 sides of the same coin...

Everyone should have some representation in their government, no matter what they believe. If you don't you have this -wonderful- system in the US where everything is just grand! After all we have no unemployment, no taxes and world peace! Oh wait...

Re:AV+ (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149950)

It means fringe parties would get less seats than in a full proportional system. They would still have more power than the current (US & most of UK) plurality system.

Re:AV+ (3, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150010)

No, we need STV.

Don't worry about the BNP: they lost all their council seats in Barking & Dagenham, and were thrashed by Labour in Barking.

In any case, if a fair proportion of a constituency wants a particular representative then they should have that representative, no matter how much I disagree with their policies. They can argue about it in Parliament, and if their views are unpopular they won't make any difference (it's likely that almost all the other MPs will disagree).

Re:More than 2 parties (4, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149916)

[the murdoch media like to call this the coalition of the defeated but aslong as i get my electoral reform i don't give a shit]

Looks like what we really need then is a hanged Murdoch rather than a hanged Parliament. If you guys could take care of that, we in the US would be ever so grateful.

Re:More than 2 parties (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149982)

[the murdoch media like to call this the coalition of the defeated but aslong as i get my electoral reform i don't give a shit]

Looks like what we really need then is a hanged Murdoch rather than a hanged Parliament. If you guys could take care of that, we in the US would be ever so grateful.

^^ + this

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149700)

"The voting rules are somewhat arcane"

If no party has >50% of seats, there is no majority and parliament is hung.

Must be tricky for you ex-colonies to understand, I know

Hmm (4, Informative)

EyeSavant (725627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149728)

There are really only 3 permutations that matter.

1/ The conservatives go it alone, and try to run a minority government with occasional help from the Northern Ireland parties they are allied with, and possiby the liberal democrats on some issues. This is unlikely to last long to be honest

2/ The conservatives and Liberal democrats do a deal, and make a joint platform. This is the only one that has got any possiblity of lasting. The tricky part is as the 3rd Party the Liberal Democrats want some form of proportial representation (which would double their seats in parlament). The conservatives don't want that at all. They like the current system. I don't know what is going to happen here. I guess the Lib Dems will blink "for the good of the coutry", and a deal will be done.

3/ Labour and the liberal democrats do a deal, this does not give them a majority though, so they will need the help of again ulster parties (different NI parties are alligned to each of the mainland parties). and the welsh/scottish natioanlist parties. This will probably fragment after a while too. This grouping is possible as they limp along for a while, and would bring in some form of proportional representation or other electoral reform and eventually we have an early new election.

Some of the more outlandish things like Gordon brown not resigning if there was a viable alternative is just silly. He *could* do it and it would be a mess if he did, but it would destroy most of the support for his party for years to come. You have to be gracious in defeat in these things if you want to bounce back.

I suppose there is

4/ They just call a new election, as well, but that is not going to be popular with the public and noone really has the cash to fight it (particularly the liberal democrats, who have the most to lose from a new election).

Re:Hmm (4, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149816)

2/ The conservatives and Liberal democrats do a deal, and make a joint platform. This is the only one that has got any possiblity of lasting. The tricky part is as the 3rd Party the Liberal Democrats want some form of proportial representation (which would double their seats in parlament). The conservatives don't want that at all. They like the current system. I don't know what is going to happen here. I guess the Lib Dems will blink "for the good of the coutry", and a deal will be done.

The other sticking point for the Lib Dems is Europe. They are very pro, the Conservatives are very anti.

There's strong public campaigns at the moment for the Lib Dems not to compromise on electoral reform -- after all this is a once in a generation opportunity.

Electoral reform is the one thing I want to see achieved in this parliament.

Re:Hmm (1)

EyeSavant (725627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149978)

There's strong public campaigns at the moment for the Lib Dems not to compromise on electoral reform -- after all this is a once in a generation opportunity.

Electoral reform is the one thing I want to see achieved in this parliament.

Yeah that I agree with. That will be a big fat NO DEAL with the conservatives if they do that. The pressue is going to be building, and the only potentially stable goverment is some sort of conservative/Lib Dem deal. If Labour and the LD had got a few more seats (enough so they had a majority between them), then life would be a lot more intersteing. A good grass roots campaign on electoral reform is good, it gives the Lib Dems the oportunity to walk away if they have to, and do a deal with Labour. There is pressure building the other way, wiht "get a deal done by wednesday or the markets will tank" vibe being put out.

Re:Hmm (1)

japonicus (822346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149882)

2/ The conservatives and Liberal democrats do a deal, and make a joint platform.

But if that happens the LibDems would be eviscerated. They'd lose almost all popular support and many of their current MPs would refuse to probably refuse to join a Tory coalition, fracturing the party [telegraph.co.uk] . About the only credible reason to support them [guardian.co.uk] was to get voting reform [wikipedia.org] , (and perhaps also as a left-wing protest vote against Gordon Brown) - as insipid Tory's they have nothing to offer.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149892)

In an ideal world the Tories could serve out a full term as a minority government. The policies, certainly the economic ones, of the 3 main parties are practically similar so that with certain compromises, legislation could be passed.

In reality, if judging by their performance in the Scottish parliament, which incidentally the SNP having been running the last 3 years as a minority government, Labour tactics in opposition have not been Realpolitik but to oppose everything and attack the government regardless of whether they agree or with the particular policy it or not nor seek compromise.

Reading through the UK political blogosphere, I would say the outcome will either be a Tory-Lib coalition or an informal agreement from the Libs to either vote or abstain on Tory legislation to get it through. I can't see option 3 materialising for the simple fact the Liberals fear a backlash in England for allowing the 'Scottish mafia' to stay in power as well as giving the SNP a say in the government despite England voting for Tory.

Who knows, it could be the start of the end of union?

Re:Hmm (1)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149938)

How about:-

5) They just fucking grow up and vote on new laws according to what they actually believe individually.

All MPs are allowed to introduce legislation to be voted on. Why not just carry on doing this and allowing a free vote every time? We need to tell them to stop being so childish and that voting on strict party lines is no longer acceptable.

For the budget and other national issues, take the 3 most expert people on each subject from each party, and lock them in a room until they agree.

These people are supposed to serve us. We have no constitution only tradition, so there are no rules that can be broken. The result of the election should tell them that the general public are just fed up of the lot of them and the way the current system works. We should take the power back and tell them how to work for us.

TFA is wrong (4, Informative)

pmc (40532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149782)

TFA is wrong - the most recent hung parliament was 1997 (before the election that year). Second most recent was 1977.

Full details in http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-04951.pdf [parliament.uk]

Re:TFA is wrong (2, Informative)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149940)

They occurred in a different way though. In those cases the government started with a very slim majority, but lost that majority due to losing by-elections and defections.

Re:TFA is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150060)

TFA is wrong - the most recent hung parliament was 1997 (before the election that year). Second most recent was 1977.

Full details in http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-04951.pdf [parliament.uk]

Also, Northern Ireland is not a country, only a province, and Sinn Fein are not barred from Parliament, only from the chamber of the House Of Commons. Sinn Fein have full use of the rest of Parliament, including their offices there.

Two misconceptions here (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149808)

1. Brown can't refuse to resign indefinitely -- there is always a confidence motion after the Throne Speech at the beginning of parliament, which is scheduled for the 25th. If he can't put together a majority vote in parliament then he will be gone then. So it'll be over in at most two more weeks, although it's unlikely to take that long. We'll probably know what's going on in the next couple days.

2. There are a bunch of tiny regional parties, but some of them are closely bound to one of the big players (SDLP is effectively Labour, Alliance is LibDem, DUP is Conservative), so there's really fewer options. In particular, if you consider a Labour/LibDem/Green/DSLP/Alliance combo they STILL wouldn't have a majority. Neither would Conservative/DUP.

In that scenario, the balance of power on every vote would come down to the nationalist parties: SNP (Scotland), Plaid Cymru (Wales), and Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland). [Note: Sinn Fein MPs make a point of *NOT* attending Parliament as a political statement, but if they thought they could control the balance of power they could always change that!] This would be completely unworkable and everybody knows it.

There's really only three options on the table right now:

  • Conservative/LIbDem (plus, presumably, DUP and Alliance) combo. That's what the parties are working on right now.
  • Conservative minority government. Neither Labor nor LibDem are in a position to fight an election right now, so a minority government would have a couple years at least. The risk is that they would be too weak to force strict budget controls
  • "National Unity" Conservative/Labour coalition. Don't hold your breath for this one, but it is technically possible

Re:Two misconceptions here (1)

EyeSavant (725627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150122)

There's really only three options on the table right now:

Not quite sure why you are rejecting a Lib / Lab pact here, add in some of the Northern Ireland parties and the welsh/scottish nationalist parties occasionally (they are both quite socialist) and you have something that can survive at least as well as a conservative minority government.

I think in the end it does depend how hard ball people play on electoral reform. In the end it could be a deal breaker for both sides, as the conservatives don't want to change a system that suits them pretty well, and the Lib dems want badly to change a system that gives them 8.8% of the seats with 23% of the vote.

what's wrong with minority government? (1, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32149866)

A government which can't use its whip to push its Party's MPs into voting a particular way such that a majority vote is inevitable is the best sort of government.

After all, an MP is voted in by his constituents to represent his constituents, not his Party.

Queen's Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32149868)

Actually, a government cannot hold on indefinitely. Or at least, they can't pass legislation as a government. The reason being that when Parliament opens, the first item is a debate on the Queen's speech (which is parliamentary shorthand for a debate on the legislation that will be introduced by the government). If the speech is not approved, the government has lost a vote of confidence and is forced to resign, or hold another general election.

Um... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150004)

For those not trained in the intricacies of the Westminster system, while it is true that Gordon Brown could refuse to resign, that's not quite the way it would happen. Gordon Brown, as the incumbent PM, has first dibs under the Westminster system to form a new ministry. Because, in the Westminster system, a country is never without a government, Brown's Labour party is still technically the government and still advises the Queen. Thus he could go to the Palace and advise the Queen that he is still capable of heading a government. Now, theoretically, the Queen could use her Reserve Powers to dismiss the PM, but such a thing has not been done in a very long. The normal constitutional procedure would be for the Queen to accept the advice of Her Prime Minister and Labour again would form the government, despite having less seats than the Conservatives, and no configuration of coalitions (there aren't enough Liberal Democrats, SNP and other groups who tend towards left-of-centre to add up to a majority in the House of Commons).

Now what happens at that point is entirely up to the Opposition. Immediately upon forming a new government, there is the Queen's Speech (or, as it's referred to in the Commonwealth the Speech from the Throne), which is a confidence motion. The Conservatives and whoever else they allied with would have the votes to topple the government. A vote of no confidence in the Westminster is instant death for a government. At that point, Brown would cease to hold the constitutional monopoly on advising the Queen, and she would have the choice of either calling a new election or asking someone else to form government.

However, political realities being what they are, if the Conservatives and the LibDems form a coalition, it's almost certain that Brown will resign.

The problem both parties have with PR (5, Informative)

Budenny (888916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32150032)

The problem both Labor and the Conservatives have with PR, is that it would lead to coalition governments. This is easy to see. The Liberals had 23% of the last vote, the Conservatives 36%, and Labor 29%. This is more or less the share of the popular vote that the three parties have had for the last 30+ years.

You can see that if each party has the same number of seats as they have percentage of the votes, then no party is generally going to have a total majority over the other two. You will just about always have a situation, like in Holland, where the third party is in every government, sometimes in coalition with Labor and sometimes with Conservatives.

The reason why both of the two larger parties do not want this, is that they represent essentially minority interests. The Conservative Party historically represents inherited wealth and also the rural areas. Which are dominated by large landowners. The Labor party represents big cities, the industrial workforce and the public sector trade unions. And of course the large welfare population of dependents. Both are ready and eager to impose heavy costs on the country as a whole, as long as they get some, often fairly small, percentage of those costs for their own interest groups. This tendency, which is a form of looting, gets more extreme with the second and especially the third term of any government. In the first term of any government, it tends to behave responsibly. The first Blair term, for instance, was marked by restraint in public spending and no deals with the public sector unions.

The second and third terms have seen enormous public spending, mostly on public sector union wages, which has been marketed as 'investing in our great public services'. This has imposed costs on the country which dwarf the benefits to the recipients of the benefits, but no-one cares what it costs the country, as long as they are doing better.

The Conservatives are no better. We can expect something similar in the second and third terms of any Conservative government. The interesting difference about this Labor government has been its approach to the finance sector, which is referred to in the UK as 'the City'. This Labor government has been much closer to the City than any previous one.

You can see that this pattern of behavior will be eliminated by coalition governments. The problem is, in your first term you generally govern for the country, the better to get a second term. When in the second or third term you move to payoff time, and start the outrageous rewarding of your interest group, if its a coalition government, the other partner will just say no, force an election, and then move into coalition with the other large party. It will be game over.

The sheer rage that the idea of proportional representation arouses in the hearts of Conservative Party stalwarts is due to this. They are seeing the prospect of the second and third term troughs being smashed before their eyes. No more feasting. The whole rationale of the parties goes.

What happens with coalition government, on say the Dutch lines, is that it replaces the focus on who is in power, with a focus on what the program is going to be, what the policies are. In the UK at the moment all anyone cares about is who is in power, because whoever it is, can hand out the spoils. Once you cannot do this any more, you have to focus on governing for the country. Now that is not what either of the two large parties want to do, at least, no more than they absolutely have to.

And this is why far more of the UK wants PR than anyone in either of the two big parties will admit. It is not just the 25% that vote Liberal. It is also those who routinely switch from one party to the other, to give the other guys a chance.

If you think about it, in the situation I have described, what does the rational voter do? He/she is confronted with a two party system in which the second and third terms of any government are going to feature irresponsible looting of a sort most damaging to the country as a whole. What he does is alternate. He forms a policy of, at most two terms. So its, get them out and get the other lot in, before this lot can do too much damage. This motivates the floating vote, who are not the beneficiaries of either of the main parties' looting.

Of course, neither the Labor nor the Conservative party will admit any of this in public. In private it is well understood. And this is why there is such a struggle over PR. Its interesting. We are about to see just how desperate the Conservatives are for power. Will they accept it, if it comes with conditions which limit their ability, and that of Labor, to loot in the second term?

We'll find out together.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32150038)

> If Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown chose to, it would appear even that he could simply refuse to resign, ostensibly trying to form a coalition indefinitely,

No. At any time a motion of no confidence can be raised; if a majority agree, the PM is out.

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