New hung parliament rules

I was on hand with oranges and hot towels today at the birth of a new piece of the British Constitution – the first steps in making public how a new government is actually formed, particularly in a Hung Parliament. Constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor told the Justice Committee hearing that there had been a “lack of explanation” about what could happen and “the public has a right to know what the position is.”. So it was nice of them to tell us at last, after almost three hundred years of British Prime Ministers.
The great event took place in the same Commons committee room where Parnell was voted down as leader of the Irish nationalist party. The Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell was announcing publication of part of the first ever Cabinet Manual laying down guidelines for what would happen if no party leader had a clear majority. People unfamiliar with the great unwritten British constitution would be bemused at the significance being placed on such an obvious move. The fear of market jitters was one they wished to quell, as former top mandarin Andrew Turnbull observed. His successor Sir Gus was keen to play this down: markets would factor in the possibility of a short period of uncertainty after the election if the outcome was positive.

“It won’t come out of the blue. What the markets will be looking for is the achievement of a government that is stable and can carry through the key decisions needed,” he stressed. “If it takes a little bit longer to achieve that stability I think they will be patient.”

Just for the record, much of it is about protecting the Queen from having to take any decisions at all and leaving it up to the politicians to sort it out between them. And before anybody tells me, yes I do know that the Dail elects the Taioseach and that three weeks is probably a better breathing space before a new government takes office than the about three hours’ frantic rush in the UK. All pretty obvious stuff you might think. But let’s wait for happens after 10 o’clock on election night and see if it’s rarefied or not.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Brian, next time, despite the one line there re protecting the Queen, I’d suggest title of Hung Parliament: Now We Learn Why The Queen

    By the way, being continuously outvoted by those Americans who can’t find Kansas on a map, maybe a beneficient and enlightened monarch who rules by decree isn’t the worst thing in the world.

  • RobertNoonan

    Hunger Strike At Green Isle Foods.Naas , Kildare

    Below is the Diary of the Worker who is on hunger Strike. let’s stop talking about politics and engage these bastards in Green Isle Foods and their parent Company Northern Foods

    Day 7

    Green Isle Hunger Strike Diary – Day Seven

    I’m starting to feel the effects of the hunger strike now to be honest. I feel a bit drowsy, woosie. They say you get highs and lows and today I woke up feeling low. I’m still feeling low now but I’ll feel better tomorrow.

    A cup of hot water helps but the salt is a penance.
    My body is beginning to operate in a totally different way. It may be that it is beginning to switch over to feeding off the fat reserves.

    I didn’t feel I was answering questions as well as I could at the press conference today but I’m told it went well. The company is beginning to come out and try to smear us with all sorts of innuendos but we wouldn’t have been out here for six months on the picket line or gone on hunger strike if what they said was true. All we have ever asked is that act fairly. I have no problem if people are brought through a fair procedure and dismissed for misbehaving but that is not what happened.

    Management also say we have no support in the factory but people coming out are stopping and chatting to us on the way home. They are afraid to join us and I don’t blame them. Some people do live in fear in there, especially those on work permits. People have mortgages to pay and loans and families to support.

    I don’t know if there will be any talks before the rally on Saturday. We are available to meet them at any time.

    At least I have John Guinan here to talk to tonight. I know his family will be worried now that he has joined me on hunger strike, but I also know that it will make my own family feel a little bit less anxious to know there is someone else here with me.

    The only question is who gets the large bed. He’s a big fellow.

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