Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kaletsky: Only a Hung Parliament Can Put Britain's Fiscal House in Order

The always interesting Anatole Kaletsky has a column in today's Times (here), in which he argues that a hung Parliament (one in which no party holds a clear majority) would be the best outcome for the UK from the upcoming May 6th elections. In order to do the "heavy lifting" that needs to be done to put Britain's fiscal house in order, a government comprised of any single party - and neither Labour, the Tories, nor the Liberal Democrats deserve that honor, according to Kaletsky - would have to possess "a clear mandate and a strong majority," which is "almost inconceivable." Thus, Kaletsky pins his hopes on a relatively weak, coalition government: 

Consider now what would happen in a hung Parliament. The government that emerged might be led by Mr Cameron, or much less probably by Mr Brown. It might be an official coalition or, much more probably, a minority administration in which the Lib Dems consistently voted with the government only on budgetary issues and votes of confidence.

But in any of these circumstances, key economic and constitutional decisions would have the backing of a large parliamentary majority and a mandate from 60 per cent of the voters. The interest groups who opposed such a government — whether trade unions or industrial lobbies — would be defying the will of a clear majority of voters.

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