'COALITION GOVERNMENT DISTORTS DEMOCRACY'
Sunday Telegraph – 22 September 2013
Although the electoral arithmetic underlying the Coalition in 2012 ensured it did not "collapse in short order" (Matthew d'Ancona, "The Libs know their future lies in power sharing", Opinion, September 15), that does not make this model of government any more acceptable.
Comparisons with British wartime coalitions have always been specious: in the Second World War, as in the First, all the main parties were included. This meant that small parties could not wield undue influence on government.
The current coalition has been far less representative, because the party that came second was excluded from government, while the party that came a poor third was allowed to take part. The Lib Dems could thus impose minority policies, such as postponing the renewal of our Trident submarines, which both main parties wished to confirm during this Parliament.
Coalitions are always a denial of democracy; but when they include small parties with limited support, while excluding main parties with considerable support, they distort democracy as well.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA