Last Updated 16 Jan 2023

The Impact of the Coalition Government in the Politics of UK

Category Coalition
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It may be argued that to some extent there is consensus in modern party policies. There are two models of party politics that are often seen as competing with each other for the most appropriate way of conducting the processes of government. These are "consensus" and "adversary" models. Consensus politics refers to a process whereby decision makers seek to find a wide level of general agreement within the political community before attempting to bring forward proposals. This may be a formal proves, whereby representatives of all parties are consulted before decisions are reached, or it may be informal, with government adopting only policies that they are confident will enjoy cross party support. It may be considered that with the coalition there in place there is to some extent, consensus in modern party politics.

The arrival of the coalition government in the UK in May 2010 brought into greater focus the relationship between consensus and adversarial politics, and thus it may be considered that there is to a certain extent, consensus in modern party politics. The agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats required a good deal of compromise and acceptance that there would remain some issues where the coalition partners would have to "agree to disagree". Indeed, there was a national mood at the time that, in the face of a severe economic crisis, a period of consensus politics would be beneficial. The coalition partners agreed on certain policies, for example they both to implement the policy of fixed term parliaments set at five years. This act was passed and received a Royal Assent on 15 September 2011. Hence; the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives both agree when creating certain policies, this creates a stable government and their agreements show that there is, to a high extent consensus in modern party policies.

However the coalition came under considerable strain after 2011 and the scope of disagreement became wider; this shows that there might be a lack of consensus in modern party policies. For example, there was increasing Liberal Democrat concern about Conservative plans for reform of the NHS and the welfare benefits system. Furthermore the Liberal Democrats were in favour of the Alternative Vote system but the Conservatives opposed it in a referendum campaign. Lib Dems still support electoral reform but have dropped immediate demands following the 2011 referendum. This shows that although the Liberal Democrats are not speaking out about this issue, there is no consensus in modern party politics as there is no support for the lack of change in the electoral issues from the Liberal Democrats; however it may be argued that they were consulted by the Conservatives before this decision was reached, and both parties had to compromise their policies and in agreement with each other. Moreover the coalition has survived a number of crises and had endured until 2015 despite growing adversary politics.

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There is also consensus outside of the coalition; which includes the Labour party and thus shows that there is large consensus in modern party policies as all three major parties have a common aims. For example, one main aim of all main parties is controlling immigration. For example the Labour party want "stronger" border controls to tackle illegal immigration with "proper" entry and exit checks as well as "smarter" targets to reduce low- skilled migration but ensure university students and high skilled workers are not deterred. Likewise The Liberal Democrats wish to reintroduced exit checks at border so the government can identify people who are overstaying their visas and ensure that EU migrants have to "earn their entitlement" to benefits. Furthermore the Conservatives want to make migrants wait four years before they can claim certain benefits such as tax credits and the party has a continuing goal to bring net immigration down to below 100,000 people a year (it currently stands as 243,000). This thus shows that although some of the policies to achieve this aim differ however they have the same aims and this shows consensus in modern politics.

On the other hand there can be seen a clear a clear lack of consensus in modern politics between the three main parties; especially in major issues such as the EU. The conservatives in this regard wish to hold a referendum on Britain'smembership of the EU by 2017, hoping for a vote in favour of leaving the EU, while Labour are pushing for reform of the EU but they clearly with to prevent Britain from "sleepwalking" towards the exit and the Lib Dems aim to push for greater European Union efficiency. However both Labour and Liberal Democrats aim to stay in the EU but push for reformation. This shows that the parties in modern politics have little consensus as issues that have a significant impact on the UK and its citizens are controversial in between the parties, and each party aims for different resolutions to the issue.

It can be seen that there is consensus in policies towards the young. Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all want to create more apprenticeships for young people so that they may have some form of qualifications for their future. This shows us that there is consensus in modern party polices as all parties are putting more focus on directly onto the young, however it may be argued that this is only a small policy; of not a significant importance which doesn't affect everyone and although all the main parties aim to create more apprenticeships; they vary on how much they want to spend on implementing this policy and how many apprenticeships they wish to create. Hence there is little consensus in modern party polices.

On the other hand; it can be seen that there is little consensus in policies in modern politics in key issues such as the Human Rights Act. The Liberal Democrats and the Labour party fully support the European convention on Human Rights while the Conservatives would prefer a "British Bill of Rights" similar to the American Bill of rights. This idea has sparked controversy not only in Parliament but also in the media, with people claiming that David Cameron is "destroying Winston Churchill's legacy". Consequently, in another major issue it can be seen that there is a lack of consensus both between the parties and the citizens for the policies proposes (though not yet implemented).

Overall, it can be seen that, there is only a minor amount of consensus in modern party policies, and in the issues that consensus is seen; it can be argued that these issues are only minor and they do not affect the governed as much, and thus the arguments for lack of consensus clearly outweigh those arguing for some consensus in party policies.

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