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Old 05-08-2015, 12:58 AM   #1
Tzara
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Well, I'm following the UK election even if no one else in the USA is.

Looks like another five years of Tory leadership. Maybe. You guys OK with that?

So, UKers, please explain to me how a hung parliament works. I've read things that suggest that Cameron could govern without a coalition with some of the minor parties, but that he'd be better off aligning with them, if he can get the LibDems and the DUP, for example, to agree to govern with him.

I understand the coalition thing, but how does he govern with a minority?

Can you run a parliamentary system with a minority party?

That probably is a stupid question to someone who is European, but America works differently.

So I'm curious.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:09 AM   #2
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Here's the BBC's electoral map. Kind of fascinating, especially to me that all of Scotland is SNP except for a tiny red dot (Edinburgh South) that is Labour.

Your guys elections are way more interesting than ours. We pick apples and oranges, and you all offer mangoes, bananas, pine nuts, free-range options, and a whole lot of otherness.

We offer apples and oranges.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzara View Post
Looks like another five years of Tory leadership. Maybe. You guys OK with that?

So, UKers, please explain to me how a hung parliament works. I've read things that suggest that Cameron could govern without a coalition with some of the minor parties, but that he'd be better off aligning with them, if he can get the LibDems and the DUP, for example, to agree to govern with him.

I understand the coalition thing, but how does he govern with a minority?

Can you run a parliamentary system with a minority party?

That probably is a stupid question to someone who is European, but America works differently.

So I'm curious.
here you go, T - and quite honestly it baffles most of us here in the UK
http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/e...ng-parliament/

in effect, the other party involved can put a bit of a brake on the main party's drive by not voting things through, but it also meant (in the last one, Cons/Lib-Dems) that the Lib-Dems didn't have the power to honour the promises they'd made to the electorate ... this is why they did so very badly this time around: they got into bed with the conservatives instead of labour, and the very promises that had gained them popularity disappeared like water down a drain.

as things stand, the conservatives now have a majority parliament and i for one find that a very worrying thing. i am moving to america, but i have sons still living here and they'll have to get through another 5 years of conservative strangleholds.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:30 PM   #4
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here you go, T - and quite honestly it baffles most of us here in the UK
http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/e...ng-parliament/

in effect, the other party involved can put a bit of a brake on the main party's drive by not voting things through, but it also meant (in the last one, Cons/Lib-Dems) that the Lib-Dems didn't have the power to honour the promises they'd made to the electorate ... this is why they did so very badly this time around: they got into bed with the conservatives instead of labour, and the very promises that had gained them popularity disappeared like water down a drain.

as things stand, the conservatives now have a majority parliament and i for one find that a very worrying thing. i am moving to america, but i have sons still living here and they'll have to get through another 5 years of conservative strangleholds.
Thanks, Ms. b. I found an article at the Telegraph that offers a pretty good explanation of the different options. I've been spending the day reading about how governments are formed, etc. Very interesting and, of course, very different from us in the US of A.

My original question is moot, though, as the Conservatives won an outright majority, as you said.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:09 PM   #5
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I reckon the Conservatives won because so many people in Scotland changed their votes to the Scottish National Party (SNP), whereas before they had been voting Labour. The SNP didn't have a hope in hell of winning the whole election but they could get their MPs into Parliament but ultimately they took away too many Labour seats.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:24 PM   #6
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I reckon the Conservatives won because so many people in Scotland changed their votes to the Scottish National Party (SNP), whereas before they had been voting Labour. The SNP didn't have a hope in hell of winning the whole election but they could get their MPs into Parliament but ultimately they took away too many Labour seats.
That's what we thought too although none of the BBC talking-heads actually said that - at least while we watched, but it seemed a no-brainer.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:49 PM   #7
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Even if every single Scot's voter had voted Labour, they still wouldn't have had enough seats to challenge for the right to form a government, or 'hang' Parliament; the second the Tories passed the 326 mark, they had the majority; even if all the other seats in the house banded together, they couldn't have matched them; the 'First Past The Post' system defeated them. I think you've put your finger on a telling point, though; voters in England voted Tory as it probably seemed the least worst option; if they'd voted Labour and given them enough seats to be on par with the Tories, the spectre of a coalition with the rabidly anti-English SNP separatists would have overshadowed any potential Labour government, no matter what Milliband pledged before the election; Labour don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to keeping pre-Election pledges and promises...
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:09 PM   #8
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This question is a little off point, but why does the primary British press (the BBC, for example) seem to ignore the results from Northern Ireland?

Most of the news feeds I've read talk about the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens, but ignore the parties in Northern Ireland, even though some of them have more seats in parliament than the lesser mainland parties.

I'm assuming it's because the NI parties are not relevant to the overall constitution of parliament, but they are larger constituencies than some of the minor parties being reported in the British press. So this is confusing to me.
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Old 05-09-2015, 06:58 AM   #9
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as things stand, the conservatives now have a majority parliament and i for one find that a very worrying thing. i am moving to america, but i have sons still living here and they'll have to get through another 5 years of conservative strangleholds.
I sympathise with you, Butters, and I very much regret the Tories in government for another 5 years.
(Can you trust them 5 minutes?)
I suppose, Labor (new Labor, that is) can only blame itself for its policies over the last few decades.
I as a foreign person thought that it certainly did not help its electoral campaign having war criminals like Blair appearing on tele from time to time talking the same crap over and over again. I wonder what British voters think of him now a days. Probably worse than Americans think of Bush 2.

Oh well, I think that all post-industrial societies deserve the political leaders they get in the end of the day.
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Old 05-09-2015, 03:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tzara View Post
This question is a little off point, but why does the primary British press (the BBC, for example) seem to ignore the results from Northern Ireland?

Most of the news feeds I've read talk about the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens, but ignore the parties in Northern Ireland, even though some of them have more seats in parliament than the lesser mainland parties.

I'm assuming it's because the NI parties are not relevant to the overall constitution of parliament, but they are larger constituencies than some of the minor parties being reported in the British press. So this is confusing to me.

Traditionally, one at least of the Northern Ireland parties - Sinn Fein do not take up their seats in Westminster. The various 'Unionist' parties support the Conservatives (that used to be called the Conservative and Unionist Party).

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...ernew-election

Sinn Fein wants a united Ireland and sees the Westminster Parliament as representing the oppressors. That doesn't stop them claiming Parliamentary expenses. To be serious, those who vote for Sinn Fein are well aware that the MPs will not go to Westminster.
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Old 05-09-2015, 03:32 PM   #11
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...

I understand the coalition thing, but how does he govern with a minority?

Can you run a parliamentary system with a minority party?

That probably is a stupid question to someone who is European, but America works differently.

So I'm curious.
It's not a stupid question. The Telegraph article laid out the position in the UK fairly well, BUT:

Other European democracies have run with minority governments for years, with or without formal or informal coalitions. As long as there is no serious challenge from the various other parties, and many European countries have far more political parties than in the UK, a minority government can continue.

The only threat is if all the other parties unite against the government. In most countries that is almost impossible because many of the minority parties hate each other far more than the ruling party.

The United States has a two-party system. The UK has two major parties. It is difficult for a third party to generate enough votes in specific seats to get a serious number of Members of Parliament. If you look at the totals of votes for each party across the UK - UKIP won far more votes than the Scottish Nationalist Party but UKIP has one MP, and the SNP has 56.


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Old 05-09-2015, 11:01 PM   #12
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Traditionally, one at least of the Northern Ireland parties - Sinn Fein do not take up their seats in Westminster. The various 'Unionist' parties support the Conservatives (that used to be called the Conservative and Unionist Party).

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...ernew-election

Sinn Fein wants a united Ireland and sees the Westminster Parliament as representing the oppressors. That doesn't stop them claiming Parliamentary expenses. To be serious, those who vote for Sinn Fein are well aware that the MPs will not go to Westminster.
Thanks, Ogg, but that doesn't answer my question, which was why does the British Isle press not list outcomes in Northern Ireland ridings as part of their normal coverage? They routinely list a number of parties: Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP, UKIP, etc., but the Northern Ireland parties seem to always be lumped under "Other," even when they have won more seats that some of the parties (UKIP, the Greens) that are reported.

That's what's confusing to me. It's as if we in the USA did not report who won the senatorial races in Hawaii or Alaska.

Is it because the "real" election is the Conservatives vs. Labour and pretty much everything else is irrelevant?

It just seems odd to me, as if CNN lumped all Texas results under "Other."
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:15 PM   #13
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It's not a stupid question. The Telegraph article laid out the position in the UK fairly well, BUT:

Other European democracies have run with minority governments for years, with or without formal or informal coalitions. As long as there is no serious challenge from the various other parties, and many European countries have far more political parties than in the UK, a minority government can continue.
Many other European democracies operate under proportional representation, which makes minority party representation much more viable. It isn't immediately obvious to me why having one seat in parliament is useful to a party, but I suppose one is better than none.
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The only threat is if all the other parties unite against the government. In most countries that is almost impossible because many of the minority parties hate each other far more than the ruling party.

The United States has a two-party system.
Actually, we do not. Functionally we have a two-party system, but there are a shitload of parties who rarely get elected to anything. The US Senate has two "independent" senators: Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont (who self-identifies as Socialist). We have occasionally elected third party candidates to office--Jesse Ventura, Reform Party, as governor of Minnesota, for example. My home town, Seattle, has a Socialist City Council member.

These are, of course, unusual circumstances.
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The UK has two major parties. It is difficult for a third party to generate enough votes in specific seats to get a serious number of Members of Parliament. If you look at the totals of votes for each party across the UK - UKIP won far more votes than the Scottish Nationalist Party but UKIP has one MP, and the SNP has 56.
This is also pretty much the case in the States. You run as a Democrat or Republican because the odds of your being elected with any other party label are vanishingly small.
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:09 AM   #14
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Thanks, Ogg, but that doesn't answer my question, which was why does the British Isle press not list outcomes in Northern Ireland ridings as part of their normal coverage? They routinely list a number of parties: Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP, UKIP, etc., but the Northern Ireland parties seem to always be lumped under "Other," even when they have won more seats that some of the parties (UKIP, the Greens) that are reported.

That's what's confusing to me. It's as if we in the USA did not report who won the senatorial races in Hawaii or Alaska.

Is it because the "real" election is the Conservatives vs. Labour and pretty much everything else is irrelevant?

It just seems odd to me, as if CNN lumped all Texas results under "Other."
Northern Ireland politics are *different*. Whatever happens there is very unlikely to influence the rest of the UK, partly because some of those elected will not go to Westminster, and partly because the major parties prefer not to be associated with Northern Ireland MPs unless they are desperate. Too many mainland UK politicians have destroyed their careers trying to bring peace and prosperity to Northern Ireland.

Very few people outside Northern Ireland, except perhaps for historical reasons in parts of Scotland (Celtic and Rangers football club supporters for example) and Boston US understand how Northern Ireland politics works. But they do know that violence is possible.

If Alaska only had candidates that were Inuit speakers that had a temporary truce between infighting with AK47s, and wouldn't speak American, I think your media would ignore them too.

I'm being unfair to NI politicians. Over the last decade or so they have worked hard to make the peace process work, and to their credit to a large extent they have succeeded. But that doesn't make their concerns really affect mainstream politics in the UK as a whole. That wasn't always the case. The old Liberal Party, that used to alternate with the Conservatives as the majority party, destroyed itself over Irish Home Rule.

Last edited by oggbashan : 05-10-2015 at 06:13 AM.
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