“England Does Not Love Coalitions”
I was diverted in my column today for The Independent on Sunday by a most enjoyable paper by Iain McLean, professor of politics at Nuffield College, Oxford, on the background to and analysis of Benjamin Disraeli’s aphorism about coalitions.
McLean says that the quotation has been misused, because Disraeli was making only a “passing remark, delivered at the end of a stream of coruscating abuse”, which has been taken by some to be a “foundation stone of the British Constitution”.
He also uses some statistical analysis to suggest that, since Disraeli’s remark, coalition governments have been almost as long-lasting, 43 months on average, as single-party majorities, 51 months. Minority governments, lasting 18 months on average, have been the least stable.
Nevertheless, I think that Disraeli had a point, no less effective for being made in the heat of the moment.Tagged in: coalition, disraeli
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