How to make the best of a minority government in the UK
The UK’s parliamentary election will take place on 6 May. So far, it looks likely that no single party will win a majority of the parliament’s 650 seats. A YouGov poll showed the following results: the Conservatives with 35%, Labour with 30%, and the Liberal Democrats with 24%. That leaves 11% undecided. These undecideds will be key in deciding the distribution of seats.
Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has highlighted the importance of this situation in shaking up the political culture of that country. He has endorsed a movement that encourages people not vote strategically for a political party that they find might win but is not really their positive choice, simply a vote against another party they like less. The movement is called Hang ’em, and it lists a series of candidates it supports, from various political parties. Its aim is to take advantage of a potentially hung parliament. Hang ’em claims that these candidates have shown independent thinking and action and proven to be truly progressive even in the face of party pressure. They believe that, given the strong possibility of a minority government, if a good number of the Hang ’em endorsed candidates win, they might well be able to enact progressive legislation.
The implementation and result of this strategy will be very interesting to watch.
Also, it’s really a pleasure to read Monbiot’s gripping and informative article on the subject. Here’s a taste of what he has to say:
Cling onto nurse for fear of something worse. Though she has become crabbed and vicious, though she has usurped our parents, swiped our inheritance, binned our toys and sold the nursery, we must cower behind her skirts for fear of the beasts that prowl beyond. This, in essence, is what Polly Toynbee, Jonathan Freedland, Seumas Milne and Nick Cohen are now telling us to do(1,2,3,4).
By instructing us, over the years, to heed fears, not hopes, such voices have allowed Labour to abandon everything it once stood for, and hand us, trussed and oven-ready, to big business and the Daily Mail. We’ll be trapped like this forever, in New Labour’s Bermuda triangulation, unless we vote for what we believe in rather than just against what we don’t.
…I understand the hazards of voting for the smaller parties and allowing the right-hand glove puppet to replace the left-hand glove puppet. I know that the Tories are even worse than this government. But by voting for the candidates on the list compiled by the democracy campaign Hang ‘em(30), not all of whom are Liberal Democrats but all of whom are reformers with a good chance of taking or keeping seats, we can break this rotten system while remaining true to our beliefs.