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7:33am on Tuesday, 11th May, 2010:

Coalition Governments


I don't see what the problem with a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is: the two parties have been voting the same way in parliament for the past 13 years.

It's touching that the Conservatives are so against coalition governments. The fact is, our first-past-the-post electoral system means that disparate groups of politicians have to combine into coalitions anyway — they just call these "parties". Both Labour and the Conservatives have left and right wings that under a mature proportional representation system would have split long ago. Instead, though, they have to come together as a single party having thrashed out policies between them. This is no different to what two parties have to do to form a coalition government.

A few decades from now, we could be seeing Labour Left, Labour Right, Liberal, Conservative left, Conservative Right under different names, all standing as separate parties. Governments could be made up of any three adjacent groups. That's how the rest of Europe does it.

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