Political realignment revisited: from coalition to merger?

In one of my earliest posts, I looked at the issue of political realignment in the United Kingdom. Apparently, I’m not alone in my hypothetical postulating. The editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson, recently wrote about David Cameron realigning Conservative party politics. Nelson writes: There is an analysis emerging in Tory circles, which I suspect Cameron shares, that the era of majority governments is over in Britain. That coalition is the new future – which is why it’s good to ensure the Lib Dem deal is built to last. The AV system would, of course, make this outcome more likely. (…) So are we in this coalition beginning to see the beginning of the Liberal Conservatives? (…) It could well […]

Electoral reform, coalition style

One of the concessions made by the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats as part of the coalition agreement was a referendum on electoral reform. The Conservatives aren’t interested in changing the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) system, while the Lib Dems have long advocated for the adoption of STV (single transferable vote). The compromise worked out for the coalition was a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV), which, depending on who you read, is either only marginally better or even worse than FPTP, and will either help the Lib Dems or wipe them out. On 5 July 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is responsible for political and constitutional reform, announced in the House of Commons that the referendum on AV will […]

The hatreds will always be there

There was an interesting op-ed piece in the Guardian this weekend on the plight of former prime ministers. While focusing on former British PMs, the same certainly applies to former Canadian PMs. In the US, where the office of President – if not always the individual holding the office – is revered, former presidents are not only granted respect once they leave office, but are frequently called upon by incumbent presidents for advice, or to lead high profile missions abroad. They continue to play prominent roles in US politics and society. Even those who leave office in disgrace, such as Richard Nixon, usually end up rehabilitated to a degree with the passage of time: their accomplishments in office are acknowledged, […]

Political Realignment, Pt 2: Are big tent politics obsolete?

In an earlier post, I looked at possible political realignment in the United Kingdom, something a few journalists have speculated about following the formation of the coalition government there. In this post, I will look at political realignment at the federal level in Canada. The two biggest political parties in Canada, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, are big tent parties, the Liberals more so than the current incarnation of the Conservatives, and both more so, I think, than are the two main parties in the UK (Labour and the Conservatives). The big tent approach argues against any sort of single-issue litmus tests or ideological rigidity, and advocates multiple ideologies and views within a party. Advocates of a big […]

Political Realignment

This post comes with a huge caveat: I am not an expert on UK politics. I do have a general sense of the parties, but I don’t follow goings-on in the United Kingdom very closely. Or rather, I haven’t until this most recent election. Consequently, some of what I say here may be very simplistic – if not simply wrong – and if anyone who is better versed in UK politics wishes to correct some aspect of this post, I would welcome that. I have been reading, repeatedly, in recent columns and op-ed pieces in the UK papers, that with this coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties, we may be witnessing something greater than a pragmatic arrangement between […]