Is A Small Government Party Majority Bad For Government?

In the not far distant past, small Government Party majorities of MPs were, I think, rare. I am talking about majorities of 100 or so. When the Tories were in the ascendant, they had a good majority, and when Labour were in the ascendant, they too had a good majority.

You would think that having a good majority would lead to highly preferential treatment of Government favourites, but that did not seem to happen. If it did, it was behind the scenes.

By and large, Governments, whether Tory or Labour, with good majorities, sought to make sensible decisions which benefited the nation as a whole, even if their rhetoric suggested otherwise. For example, as a consequence of WW2, the greatest priory was to repair the damage inflicted by German bombing, and to get the economy off wartime production and back to producing goods and services to make life better for everyone. Most economists dismiss nationalisation as ‘a bad thing’, but who is to say that it was not the best way to maximise production at the time? Think of privately owned small coal mines. How could they afford the massive investment needed to raise productivity by mechanising the processes? Government could prioritise such investment, via the National Coal Board. Fuel was the lifeblood of the economy.

What about the railways? By their nature (linking different parts of the country), they tended to be ‘national’. Again, ‘benefits of scale’ could improve them. I used trains quite a lot in the 1960s/70s, and they seemed to be reliable and inexpensive. They were pretty basic, but at least the service was reliable. Buses were never nationalised, but were run by Local Authorities, which was much the same. Again, they were pretty basic, but they were reliable. The ‘No 50 express from Warrington to Bolton’, always turned up at the right time, more or less.

On my recent trip from where I live to Wigan, I checked the bus timetables. The estimated time from Atherton to Wigan was 40 min. The train took 15 min.

At the time, immediately post WW2, nationalisation of national interests was the best option.

‘The Post’ had always been a national entity. That is not surprising since it was always ‘national’. How could a local postal distribution in England deliver a letter to an address in Scotland without the ‘Royal Mail’? It is interesting to note that even in Roman times, there was a ‘mail service’. Families in Italy could send ‘postcards’ (slim slats of wood with a message imprinted upon them) to soldiers serving in England. Remnants have been found.

The problem with a tiny majority, even worse, a majority which needs minor party support, is that only trivial matters, which tend to have cross-party support, can be done, and it is in the nature of Government that ‘something must be done’. Something must be SEEN to be being done. That is how Cameron came to approve ‘plain packaging of cig packets’. He has been described, in retrospect, as a ‘dilettante’, which I think is true. Oh, he was an expert at the dispatch box, but he did nothing which was not trivial. When the shit hit the fan (his failure to get a deal from the EU pre-Brexit) and The People voted for Brexit, he fled.

So here we are with PM May trying to please everyone with her Brexit terms, and happy to give away £30 billion to please the EU aristocrats.

WE LEFT THE EU THE MOMENT THAT THE PEOPLE DECIDED. That decision over-road any previous treaties.

Pick things up from there.

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2 Responses to “Is A Small Government Party Majority Bad For Government?”

  1. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    All our buses in the provinces were nationalised – British Transport Commission Junican apart from BET companies which sold out the National Bus Company around 1969.

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