Friday, May 08, 2015
Electoral history: One thing about the British election
Posted by Christopher Moore
... is how Canadian it seemed. Not just in the large array of parties complicating the choices, and of a regional independence party scooping up seats in the national legislature. But also in the apparently successful delegitimization of parliamentary authority.
Remember Stephen Harper's repeated claims that only the largest party was entitled to form a government, and that any combination of other parties to oust his minority would be illegitimate, contrary to the popular will, a coup d'etat? Particularly so when the opposition forces included an independentist party.
Many worthy Canadian commentators (me too, quite likely) denounced this as a false characterization of a parliamentary democracy, where what matters is not which party has the most seats, but what government can secure the support of a majority of members of Parliament. But it seemed to resonate in the Canadian electorate, for whom party leaders are everything and members of parliament mostly cattle.
Anticipating minority status before the results came in, the British Conservatives had been hitting the same themes hard.