Election 2010, with all the live debates, bickering and electioneering, has resulted in a ‘Hung Parliament’. The press has been warning us of the dangers of a Hung Parliament, and the Politicians have been telling us to tactically vote in order to prevent it from happening. It seems, however, that the General Public have been unable to come to a clear conclusion about which party should rule our country.
So, what is a Hung Parliament? In Great Britain we have a ‘First Past the Post’ political system, meaning that the country is divided in to various constituencies, each of which holds a seat in parliament. In order to have a majority government, a political party must hold 326 of these seats in the houses of parliament. A Hung Parliament occurs when a political party, whilst still holding more seats that the other parties, fails to reach an overall majority by holding the 326 seats that are required.
In the event of a ‘Hung Parliament’ there can be a coalition formed between the current government and other minority parties, or the political party with the most seats can form a minority government. Neither of these solutions is good for the country; a coalition government works on bargaining and deals, where as a minority government, as they hold a minority in the Houses of Parliament, will struggle to have policies passed.
Both of these solutions can create instability for the country, and weaken us economically. Fiscally, our International credit rating would drop in either situation, and in an uncertain climate the impact of this is so far, unknown. In reality, very little change may happen within the country as there is no clear majority within Parliament. A coalition government is somewhat more stable, with more powers to pass policies, and works successfully in countries like New Zealand.
What is to come for Great Britain in the wake of this General Election is unknown until it becomes clear where our leaders will go next. BBC News declared this as a “time of uncertainty” and we, as a country need nothing more than certainty right now. I am deeply concerned about the impact that this election result will have on small businesses. At this time we all need to pull together, offer advice and support and keep focused on our business goals.