The British tradition of minority government

Minority governance has been dismissed as an aberration, an interlude between 'normal' and 'victorious' administrations, which have commanded the interest of politicians, political analysts and the general public. This book is a study that challenges these myths and established perceptions of minority government in the 1970s through a reading of declassified internal government and party files. It demonstrates that there is a distinctive 'British tradition of minority government' that provides a new perspective on the existing corpus of international theory regarding the subject. One of the single greatest myths arising from these sources of coverage, such as interviews, biographies , and political diaries and memoirs is that outside events superseded those in Parliament. The book questions this myth and shows that the strategy-making processes in the Labour and the Conservative Parties were geared towards minority government. It has often been assumed that the formation of the Wilson and Callaghan Minority Governments were inevitable, histories mainly concentrating on changes in personnel and policy. This long-standing myth is challenged by examining the prospect of alternative not adopted, including early elections or interparty coalitions. The book then questions the myths of 1970s minority governments' inability to pass significant legislation without the cooperation of opposition parties. It also explores the myths surrounding the inevitability and form of this 1977-78 Lib-Lab Pact. Myths about 1970s elections and Labour and Conservative post-electoral plans are discussed next. Finally, the book considers how the June 2017 minority government at Westminster may affect planning for future indecisive election.

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