Friday, 9 June 2017

A hung Parliament doesn't have to mean poor government

Here's an unflattering photo of the British PM from the Guardian website. The media are already on the hunt since the results of the UK general election came in today revealing a big swing to Labour and a reduced contingent of MPs for the Conservatives. PM Theresa May will form a government with the assistance of the Democratic Unionists Party, a Northern Irish mob of social conservatives, but I don't think anyone knows how they will actually lean on most issues.

After she had been to see the Queen to ask for permission to form government, May looked unstable as she fronted the media outside 10 Downing Street. She took no questions. The red tops who backed her have started the recriminations and the way ahead is looking uncertain but operating a minority government does not mean you are going to do a bad job, as the Australian experience demonstrates. In 2010 the PM, Julia Gillard, formed a government with the help of one Greens MP and three independents and her government was fantastically productive, passing bill after bill in the Parliament until 2013 when she was replaced by her party by her predecessor, the man she herself had deposed.

The right wing media was on the attack throughout Gillard's tenure in the top job but the country continued to be governed - and governed well, according to many - despite strong opposition to her leadership in the public sphere. Many people have already started attacking May online but we know from Gillard's time in power that government is entirely possible when the ruling party holds a minority position in Parliament.

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