What is a Hung Parliament? (in Off-topic)

QBRanger May 7 2010 4:37 PM EDT

I have been keeping track of the British elections but really do not understand what the outcome means?

Is there no new PM?

Do 2 of the 3 parties have to join to become the winner?

Can someone across the pond chime in and explain please?

QBJohnnywas May 7 2010 4:49 PM EDT

The Conservatives got the most votes but not enough to claim a majority. So they have to join with one of the other parties, and it will only really be with the Liberal Democrats and maybe some other smaller party.

The Liberals can now choose if they would like to be part of a coalition with either the Conservatives, or with the old government.

There is another option, that the Conservatives end up as a minority goverment which could end up with the other parties calling a second election later in the year.

QBJohnnywas May 7 2010 4:49 PM EDT

Basically we still have the old government until this is sorted.

AdminQBVerifex May 7 2010 4:55 PM EDT

Sounds pretty crazy, no wonder you guys have such a different gov't. I can't imagine politicos over here "working things out" at all after the nasty campaigns they run.

AdminG Beee May 7 2010 4:57 PM EDT

We're a little more civilised here Verifex ;)

A coalition government is not unusual in Europe, however it's been a while since it last happened in the UK - 1974.

renamedname [The Forgehood] May 7 2010 5:02 PM EDT

In Germany most of the parliaments have coalitions, I thank the last state that didn't ever have one was Bavaria till last year.

But in GB it's a bit different through majority voting system, maybe someone could clear that up? And why did the Liberals get so few seats when they where rather high in predictions?

renamedname [The Forgehood] May 7 2010 5:03 PM EDT

Oh well, that should have been "UK" not "GB".

QBJohnnywas May 7 2010 5:09 PM EDT

The biggest problem is that none of the groupings amount to the majority needed. So if the Liberal Democrats work with Labour they will also need other parties to get involved like the Green Party for instance.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 7 2010 5:30 PM EDT

It's a stupid us and them, 'tradition'. Where the opposition parties will oppose anything you put through, just becuase you're the opposition.

It's the only reason a 'minority' majority (oxymoron...) government can't work.

Anything they trie to ut in place will be opposed by all the others, and nothing will ever get done.

So we either have to get some sort of coalition (and the Tory's shot down the Lib Dem's this morning, so that won't happen), or we go back to another General Election.

Where most liekly we'l get another hung parliament. Until people get so fed up they resort to tactical voting or apathy.

Either way, it's run to see the BNP get no seat, and even better to see the clip of a BNP candidate punch (and his aides kicking) an Asian youth, who after verbal provocation, spat on the BNP member (I'm condoning neither actions).

Lochnivar May 7 2010 5:47 PM EDT

Canada has a minority government at the moment.... we don't refer to them as 'hung' though.

Sickone May 7 2010 7:20 PM EDT

Over here in Romania, we have at any time anywhere between 2-4 major parties and 4-8 minor parties that get seats in either one of the two chambers of Parliament.
The only real difference between "major" and "minor" is how much of a percentage of seats they got (it's very rare for any one party to get even 40% of seats, usually the "winner" gets around 30% at most, and you have to get at least 5% to get in at all, so some years some parties sit it out).
One year's minor party can be next year's major party and vice-versa... if the party still exists next year, that is, since mergers (with another party) or splits (usually in 2, but 3 have also happened) are relatively normal (not very common, but still).
As for the rest of stuff... "alliances" are very often made, both just before and then either reneged or renewed just after the elections, alongside creating new alliances that were unthinkable before the elections... all just to create a 50+% majority in both chambers.
Ah, also, campaigning starts at most 2 months before the elections, and elections are now every 4 years for parliament, every 5 years for president (used to be both every 4 years but it was relatively recently changed)... not almost right after election, like in the USA.

In contrast, there's nothing really exciting ever happening in the USA... everybody knows democrats will win most of the east and west coasts, republicans will win most of the middle, it's almost like "why do they even bother with elections". There's about as much thrill in USA politics as in watching paint dry, but at least it's very, very loud despite the utter boredom of it all :P

Mythology May 8 2010 6:33 AM EDT

Biggest problem is the Lib dems + Labour have the most in common of the three parties, but the largest party conservatives are the ones with the most seats and are only just short of forming a gov by themselves.

Three possibilities :

1) A coalition of the defeated
Labour (current goverenment) + Lib Dems + anyone else they can get form a very small government.
Pro : Not conservatives in power
Con : Tabloids will whip up a frenzy that labour stay in power yet "lose"

2) Coalition of the Centre Right
Conservatives either form a majority with the lib dems or the conservatives form a minority governement with the DUP, either way any form a coalition or thereabouts require conservative concessions. Plus the majority of lib dem supporters while understanding the need for a majority government will not be happy allying with conservatives.
Pro : Gives UK an actual stable government
Con : The government may not actually be that stable as con + lib ideals rarely touch.

3) Re-vote
The longer the deal makings go on and the more mumurings of un-rest continue the higher likelihood another election is called for. Plus whatever government coalition is formed or not formed in a time like this of impending crisis there is a likeihood of the coalition being short term to deal with the crisis then in a year or so when things calmed down another election is called to hopefully give a clear majority to someone.
Pros : Perhaps different result (a lot of seats were very close)
Cons : Populace may not want another yet, most parties spent up, except Conservatives who have lot of money.

QBRanger May 8 2010 11:03 AM EDT

Can someone please explain the main points of all the parties? Someone other than Myth who has a very obvious anti- conservative bias.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] May 8 2010 11:18 AM EDT

A bit off-topic, no joke, I just got this botcheck...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 8 2010 12:48 PM EDT

Tory's: Blue, Right wing, old money capitalists.

Labour: Red, Psuedo left wing, decided the only way to get into power 10 years ago was to emulate the Tories, and became a Red Tory party. Still has some strong left wing members though.

Lib Dem: Yellow, never governed anything, tried to be middle of the road but tend turn away both left and right wing voters.



Conservative: Centre-right party which can be loosely divided into three categories, though with considerable overlap: The Thatcherites, who strongly support a free market and tend to be Eurosceptic, the economically moderate but socially conservative One Nation Conservatives, and the libertarian Conservative Way Forward, which is also relatively Eurosceptic.

Labour: Centre-left; historically allied to Trade unions; mixed market (Third Way) policies have replaced its earlier more socialist platform in recent years; supports greater European integration.

Liberal Democrats: Traditionally centrist, had drifted slightly to the left since the emergence of New Labour while remaining socially progressive but now moved towards a tax-cutting agenda; strongly supports greater European integration. Promote social liberalism; opposing what they call the 'nanny state', while supporting the welfare state for the basic necessities of life.

QBRanger May 8 2010 12:51 PM EDT

Are the conservatives in the UK like the conservatives in the US or it is more a conservative-lite?

AdminNightStrike May 8 2010 4:40 PM EDT

I was always under the impression that conservatives in the UK were equivalent to the far right over here, as opposed to the moderate right. I could be wrong on that, of course.

AdminG Beee May 8 2010 5:14 PM EDT

I always figured the American equivelant to the UK Conservative party was the Republicans.

E.G. The archetypal free-market conservative administrations of the late 20th century—the Margaret Thatcher government in Britain and the Ronald Reagan administration in the U.S.

QBJohnnywas May 8 2010 5:18 PM EDT

The UK Conservatives have a fairly broad spread across the right. Traditionally the party of the wealthy and privileged. But they also include thanks to Margaret Thatcher similar ideas to those, especially economically, of Reagan's government. Very pro business, traditional family values and anti-Union

Some of their policies include fairly hardline anti-immigration ideas, tax cuts for the very wealthy and privatisation of public bodies.

Having said that though the Labour government of Tony Blair also went down the privatisation route.

A conservative government will probably cut heavily into things such as Welfare and the Health Service.

To make it easier to understand though, the UK Conservative party are very similar in their views to yours Ranger.

QBRanger May 8 2010 5:31 PM EDT

Was the election results a surprise or were they expected?
With all that is going on in Greece, these results did not much surprise me. I was reading about the Dem-Libs and they did far worse than expected, no?

Here in the US, most pundits expect the Republican to gain at least 50 seats in the House and 8 in the Senate. Which is about 12% in the House and 8% of the Senate.

Remember in the US only 33 Senate seats come up for election every 2 years, all the house seats do.

QBJohnnywas May 8 2010 5:37 PM EDT

This was pretty much the expected result, there were five minutes after our televised debates where the Lib-Dems were up in the polls, but it didn't translate into votes.

I think the biggest surprise though was the Labour party didn't lose as many areas as they were expected to. The Conservatives were targetting several areas that they actually lost.

AdminG Beee May 8 2010 5:48 PM EDT

Since the war there's been 10 Conservative and 6 Labour governments in the UK. I think this is only the second hung parliament since the war with the previous being in 1974.

Frankly given the economic turmoil anticipated over the next 2 year at least, I believe a hung parliament is the best thing. At least with a hung parliament there's a chance that decisions will be more likely to be made based on consensus rather than one parties direction alone.

Of course, the best way to ensure a decision is made when you have a committee of three is to ask two to leave the room. Let's hope our politicians can be a little more sophisticated than the normal stereotypical neighbourhood committee.
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