I may have been wrong. Readers of this blog will know I have on occasion sung the praises of minority governments as a way of preventing/mitigating the dangers of one party … or one leader … having dictatorial powers under majority rule.
Theoretically, that still holds true. However, add human dynamics to the mix … pride, greed, selfishness, blind ideology and a willingness to blackmail to extort concessions … and the reality can fall well short of the benefits.
Take Britain as an example.
The UK is in turmoil politically … and while much is being discussed, debated, dissected and devoured politically … what is NOT getting enough attention is the terrible ECONOMIC costs/impact Brexit has already had and is still having on Britain’s economy.
The nation’s Gross Domestic Product has DROPPED 2.4% since the LEAVE vote topped the referendum in 2016. The Bank of England’s CEO (Canadian) Mark Carney has estimated the loss to Britain’s economy so far at 40 Billion Pounds ($70 Billion Cad).
The Institute for Fiscal Studies calculated the net COST of being IN the European Union hit Britain for 8 Billion Pounds ($14 Billion Cad) over five years. That’s 0.4% of the national income.
However, it says the net LOSS to the British economy, in reduced investment and economic growth, for being OUT will top 70 Billion Pounds ($120 Billion Cad) over five years.
Of course, nations do not …and need not …always operate based solely on a fiscal basis.
Many Brits … and having visited the country many times, I get it … felt they were losing control of their society, their culture, their borders, their nation … being “governed”, even dictated to, by Europeans based in Brussels.
So the people spoke … and more voted to LEAVE than to remain.
And now …let’s keep it real … THEIR WILL IS BEING DENIED … by the very politicians they elected to carry out their will.
Because too many politicians in Britain (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) OPPOSE the people’s decision, think THEY know better than their voters, and are doing anything and everything to avoid carrying out the referendum’s result.
How do they get away with it?
Because Britain is governed by …. not just a minority government …. but among the worst kind of minority government formulations I warned about when British Columbians were considering/debating our own referendum on proportional representation.
You can read what I wrote about that here: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/no-to-proportional-chaos-blackmail-theres-a-better-solution/
Take a look at the similarities now paralysing Britain …
There are 650 seats in the British House of Commons; majority government starts at 326.
The Conservatives fell short, with 314; Labour hold 245; Scottish National Party 35; Liberal Democrats 11; Change UK 11; Democratic Unionists (Northern Ireland) 10; Sinn Fein 7; Plaid Cymru 4; Greens 1; and Independents 10.
And without a majority, there could be no Whip system to ensure government-proposed legislation passed.
A true recipe and formula for CHAOS … based on political, regional, ethnic even racial/religious divisions, beliefs, selfish interest and goals.
That’s why not only did Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated agreement not pass; neither did cold Brexit; nor a call to stay; nor a new customs union; nor another referendum …. none of eight different proposals could be agreed upon.
Britain is in turmoil; the impact on jobs and trade could bring the country to its knees … with no deal … within the next five years.
And I have no doubt that with NO deal … the EU will crack down HARD on Brits travelling across the Channel … making them go through all those questions the rest of us face (Passport? Nature of your visit? How long will you be here? How much money do you have? Where will you be staying?). Not fun for the millions of people who right now just breeze right through in a special “EU” lane … with no questions!
And just imagine the paperwork/tariffs/increased time and costs etc. commercial traffic going each way will face.
And the politicians know that … so barring a new election call … something MUST give.
But the lesson of such a terrible failed minority government situation should make British Columbians breathe a sigh of relief that WE avoided the very multi-party scenario I warned against just months ago.