Go! Hang a Parliament!

Posted on May 3rd, 2010 by irishcoffee

This week it is general election time in the UK. On Thursday 6th May the people will go to the polls and have their say. Or, at least those who still believe they can really achieve anything by voting… And so, a group of political reform campaigners, aptly called Hang ‘em, are encouraging voters to, er, do just that! Indeed, still reeling from the notorious “expenses scandal” which unfolded last year, some Brits might jump at the chance to have their politicians hung…

Hang 'em

Fortunately (for politicians) , the phrase “hung parliament” has a strictly political meaning. Put very simply, it means that whenever no one party wins an “outright majority” of the vote (over 50%), power is “hung” between, or shared among, parties rather than assigned to just one.

At least, that’s the theory. In reality we could actually see the UK’s politicians, as the campaigners wish, effectively suspended, held to ransom until they all see some sense and decide to renew democracy in Britain! …Could we really do this?! Or are these campaigners simply attempting the impossible, trying to put square pegs into round holes? It’s time we stood up to politicians, they urge, and we must do this by going out to vote in such a way that no single party actually “wins.”

YouTube Preview Image

What do YOU think? Should politicians just learn to get on with one another and work together? Rather than waste time justifying their own “superior” policies and past actions, shouldn’t they be devoting time to cooperation and achieving the best for everyone?  You may not be overly interested in politics, but how do you think society in general could be better governed?

This is your parliament!


8 Responses to “Go! Hang a Parliament!”

  1. Although I live in the United States, the video and questions that you raise could, with some rewording,apply here. I’m tired of the two party system vying for their party to win instead of independent thinkers having their say without their own party attacking them. I say, we pay you not to argue, but to make policies based on what your constituents want…not what is important to your party!! We pay you to represent us and make policies, not to argue and get no where.
    .-= Clinically Clueless´s last blog .. =-.

  2. Jim says:

    Wow what an image that is – hanigng!

    Following bits of it on SKY news here and its all ‘he said she said’ – my view is politicians laregly boil down to the same issue and yes – why not one party fits all? Focus all the energies of all the candidates by giving them all positions that they can serve the people on…regardless of party!

  3. Tight Speedos says:

    Irish Coffee,

    Your statement, “Put very simply, it means that whenever no one party wins an “outright majority” of the vote (over 50%), power is “hung” “, is both incorrect and misleading.

    The UK government is elected based upon the number of Parliamentary Seats won by their members (or MPs once the seat is won), not the number of votes cast in their favour.

    Obviously votes go to make up Parliamentary Seats, but when one seat has significantly more eligible and actual voters than another, there is arguably an imbalance of the importance of the elected MPs representing the respective Seats. This is why the Liberal Democrats, as traditionally the UK’s 3rd party, have been protesting about wanting ‘proportional representation’ in Parliament, it favours weaker parties as they struggle to get MPs elected but may well acquire a reasonable number of votes in many Seats.

    Whilst this may seem to be a fair option on the face of it, it is not as straight forward as it may at first seem, it creates a virtual hung parliament on an ongoing basis, with no clear leading party directing the country down one focused and strategic path. This is why Italian politics are a complete shambles and doubtless the why, despite its charm and glamour, Italy often resembles a 3rd world country.

    This is why both proportional representation and hung parliaments are dangerous. It’s the old adage of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’.

    However, the definition of a hung parliament is as, sorry, cannot be bothered writing it myself, see following ripped from Wikipedia:

    In parliamentary systems, a hung parliament is one in which no political party has an outright majority of seats. This situation is normal in many legislatures with proportional representation such as the parliament [of] Italy, or in legislatures with strong regional parties; in such legislatures the term ‘hung parliament’ is rarely used. However in nations in which single member districts are used to elect parliament, and there are weak regional parties, such as the United Kingdom, a hung parliament is a rarity, as in these circumstances one party will usually hold enough seats to form a majority. A hung parliament will usually force either a coalition government, a minority government or a dissolution of parliament. Frequent hung parliaments can result in smaller parties staying in power for decades as they switch support between the two or three major parties (this is what occurred with the Free Democratic Party in Germany).

    • irishcoffee says:

      Well spotted. I had noticed it wasn’t exactly correct when I wrote it but decided just to leave it for the sake of simplicity, and as a statement of how the voting system appears to work. But yes, it is probably over-simplified. Hopefully the YouTube video goes to set the record straight on that account.

      Thanks for your statements also, and it take from them that you would favour a single party government, even if it is not elected upon proportional / fair representation?

  4. Lib says:

    I thought I’d got my head round this debate, I’ve been very good, watched all 3 debates, read the manifestos, talked to the door-knockers, I’ve even been on a website that runs a test to see who I should vote for.

    But then I read something about tactical voting, and now I am completely lost again, and if I’m honest, a bit dispirited. Does my vote really count or is it really a postcode lottery?

    For example voters in Bootle, Liverpool have 0.003% of the power of people that will vote in Purdsey, Leeds.

    I don’t understand it (please explain someone?) but I do know it’s not fair.

  5. irishcoffee says:

    I sometimes wonder if they really want us to get our heads around it, or if they make it all so complex so that we really have no chance of understanding it??

    As “tight speedos” said above, there is currently no proportional / fair representation. And tactical voting, as I understand it, is more about keeping an opposing party out than getting your own party in… All a bit desperate, eh?
    .-= irishcoffee´s last blog ..Go! Watch the video (just not on YouTube) =-.

  6. As an ex-pat myself I follow the election with some interest, not that it matters what “democratic” country you live in – the political game is depessingly the same tit-for-tat parody of a bunch of schoolyard bullies everywhere.

    In Canada for example we have three major parties – the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP – and a Quebec-based party, The Bloc Quebecois who do not field candidates outside of the province of Quebec and yet are recognised as a national party (not a provincial one) and hold enough sway in parliament to need careful courting by whoever usually comes out on top. Minority governments are reasonable common here in Canada as a result.

    One of the most annoying aspects of Canadian federal elections, however, from the standpoint of a resident of Manitoba is that we here in the middle of this vast country have virtually no influence on the overall election result, which is decided in the eastern provinces almost before our own polls are closed.

    Oh well, they still need us for our hockey players!
    .-= Angela in Canada´s last blog ..Who will pay me to write? =-.

    • irishcoffee says:

      Our local ice hockey team here in Belfast – the Belfast Giants – also need your hockey players!! Don’t think we’d have a team if it wasn’t for the Canadians!

      Back to Politics… interested in your view of politicians as ‘schoolyard bullies’. I have heard it said that politicians are the ones who have been bullied, and are now basically trying to take revenge via the “art” of politics: dominating the other!
      .-= irishcoffee´s last blog ..GO! Smell this ingenious advert from Heineken =-.

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