by Callum Anderson
The 2015 general election campaign is now slowly in full swing. With four months to go, many of the electorate are already beginning to tire of the petty point-scoring between the party leaders about the leadership debates.
Yet, the answer to the question former prime minister Ted Heath famously asked: ‘Who governs Britain?’ could be rather inconclusive come 8th May.
The opinion polls suggest that this election will be too close to call, with some suggesting we are entering an era of four, five or maybe even six party politics – though Labour Uncut’s editor Atul Hatwal’s makes a set of very plausible predictions.
But whatever happens, the implications for our democracy could be enormous.
It is highly unlikely that either Labour or the Conservatives will gain quite enough seats to gain a majority in Parliament. Parliamentary arithmetic will determine whether either party is best placed to seek to form a minority administration or enter a coalition, or confidence-and-supply arrangement with someone such as the Liberal Democrats or Scottish.
Yet there are some such as Ian Birrell and Mary Dejevsky who claim that a UK Grand Coalition – that is a coalition between Labour and the Conservatives – should not be fled out. They argue that the fact that both parties are currently marooned in the low 30s in terms of share of the vote, the two main parties would put their differences aside to govern in the national interest.
Does such an arrangement have a post-war precedent elsewhere? Yes.
Will it happen in Britain in 2015. No.
In Germany, a so-called ‘Grand Coalition’ (or, colloquially, GroKo) has been the principal form of government in the twenty-first century. Between 2005 and 2009, followed by the current administration since 2013, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) have shared power alongside the Social Democrats (SDP).