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Do coalition governments work? Would single party governments be better?


RahenyFG

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Until 1989, 52 years of the state's existence consisted of single party government with Fianna Fáil or Cumann na nGaedhael being in government alone. Since 1989 no party has ruled alone. Are coalitions a good thing? We're seemingly getting parties coming together under a mish mash of policies due to the compromises of coalition that is failing to bring a clear coherent strategy. The current government's economic policy being an example with the clash between defending income tax by Fine Gael and the protection of Croke Park Agreement/Public Sector and the core welfare rate by Labour seeing unfair and uneven taxes/cuts brought in due to the kite flying by both parties. Another example was the mish mash of FF and PDs from 1997-2011 with FF supporting higher spending and the PDs supporting lower taxation which of course eroded our taxbase which is one of the reasons we're screwed up economically today. Even FG and Labour in the 80s was a bad stalemate government which put their respective party interests above the national interest and it took a single party government led by FF to finally get a move on in cuts without bullying or threats from another party in government.

So would single party governments be better for Ireland? There is the argument that single party governments like Cumann na nGaedhael in the late 1920s and FF in the early 1940s, early 1950s and late 1970s were some of the worst governments ever but are coalitions worse with their lack of strategy, kite flying, compromises and infighting?
 


ruserious

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If the last shower were a single government, forbid the thought of what would have happened.
 

ger12

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If the last shower were a single government, forbid the thought of what would have happened.
Are you suggesting that if the Greens were not part of the last government, things would have been much worse?
 

Con Gallagher

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The country would be far better off if we had a right wing block (FG, half of ff, some indos) and a left wing block (labour, SF, some of ff, indos) with a tiny minority of parliamentarians being parish pumpers or Marxists or too independent to be in a party.

Instead we had had ff+pd, ff+lab (probably the best), FG+lab (second best), ff + pd (started well but went downhill rapidly), ff +pd + info (worse), then ff + gr + exPD + indo, now we have FG + lab + IMF + ecb + ec, which is essentially continuity from its predecessor. For 21 years we have had nihilist government. (Their pensions and pay did improve, however).
 

physicist

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It comes down to the situation and the practical talents that government has.
 

Sister Mercedes

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One of the Worst Governments this Country ever had was the 1977-1981 FF Govt with a majority of 20.

One of the Worst Governments the US ever had was 2002-2006 when the Republicans controlled the Presidency and both Houses of Congress.

Coalitions tend to clip the most crazy of party policies.
 

seabhcan

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A bigger issue for Ireland right now is that there is no real opposition. SF don't count because they are not credible.

I would have actually preferred if FG had an overall majority and Labour was out of government but presenting a strong (and realistic) alternative view. Such a set up is more healthy for democracy than 'everyone in' and the only people with differing views being a bunch of nutters.
 

Sister Mercedes

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A bigger issue for Ireland right now is that there is no real opposition. SF don't count because they are not credible.

I would have actually preferred if FG had an overall majority and Labour was out of government but presenting a strong (and realistic) alternative view. Such a set up is more healthy for democracy than 'everyone in' and the only people with differing views being a bunch of nutters.
I agree. What we have in Ireland today isn't a Coalition. It is a National Government, with no real opposition.
 

seabhcan

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I agree. What we have in Ireland today isn't a Coalition. It is a National Government, with no real opposition.
True. I would also say that a National Government was probably a good idea back at the height of the crisis (and should have been described as such and declared to be temporary) but it is becoming time for a new setup.

My fear is though, that because of the need for balance, the nutters have been given the spotlight and there will be more of them after the next election.
 

RobertW

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Sort of pointless. Coalition governments occur when no political party has received a mandate to govern on their own
 

RahenyFG

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It's something to do with the mentality of Irish people these days. They don't trust any single party to govern alone so they vote for coalitions. The amount of people that voted both FG and Labour in the last election was pretty high. The only party capable of a majority in Irish election history, Fianna Fáil, is no longer trusted to govern alone and they haven't even won an overall majority since 1977 which tells it's own story.
 

Sister Mercedes

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Sort of pointless. Coalition governments occur when no political party has received a mandate to govern on their own
We have Coalition Governments often in Ireland because we have Multi-Seat PR. In the UK, Coalitions are much rarer. Thatcher enjoyed huge majorities, even though the Conservatives only polled in the low 40's %.
 

Little_Korean

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Are you suggesting that if the Greens were not part of the last government, things would have been much worse?
At least the Green had - and took - the option of pulling the plug on the government when it had reached the point of being a freakshow.
 

RahenyFG

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We have Coalition Governments often in Ireland because we have Multi-Seat PR. In the UK, Coalitions are much rarer. Thatcher enjoyed huge majorities, even though the Conservatives only polled in the low 40's %.
The British keep the unfair first past the post system for general elections there because it allows single party governments and keeps fringe elements like UKIP and the BNP from winning any seats.
 

Sister Mercedes

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At least the Green had - and took - the option of pulling the plug on the government when it had reached the point of being a freakshow.
Agree. Also, in the 90's, many voted for the PD's because they wanted someone to be a check on FF in Government. But then the PD's lost the plot....
 

Sister Mercedes

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The British keep the unfair first past the post system for general elections there because it allows single party governments and keeps fringe elements like UKIP and the BNP from winning any seats.
Arguably, our PR system is more unfair, as it frequently gives independent candidates who held the balance of power (such as Michael Lowry, Jackie Healy Rae, Tony Gregory) disproportionate influence over Govt policy.
 

seabhcan

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Arguably, our PR system is more unfair, as it frequently gives independent candidates who held the balance of power (such as Michael Lowry, Jackie Healy Rae, Tony Gregory) disproportionate influence over Govt policy.
The problem with first-past-the-post is that it creates 'safe seats' - constituencies that will always vote labour or tory regardless of who is selected by the party as the candidate.

That transfers power from the voter to the selection committee. More than 50% of seats in the UK are 'safe'. In the US, it is in the order of 80-90%.
 

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