If like me you’re sick of hung parliament scaremongering, you may like the following from Avaaz…

Karen

With the election contest hotting up, there is now a real chance that no one party will get an overall majority in Parliament. Polling suggests that given the choices, most of the public would prefer this outcome.

But scaremongering by the tabloid media and the City about a “hung parliament” has whipped up fear and doubt, threatening to tip voters’ minds and drag the country down.

The first step is to get the facts, and to share them with all our friends and family. WE are the media now — if each of us sends this message on to just two people we could reach over a million voters this week (more than most newspapers!)

This email is based on ideas, facts and references contributed by thousands of us across the UK. Let’s all forward this email to ten friends right now so everyone can make up their own minds!


SCARE #1: The markets would crash, wrecking our economy, if no one party won an overall majority in these elections.

THE FACTS: The markets seem to be neutral (maybe even positive!) about the possibility of a balanced election outcome in which parties would work together. A hung parliament “could help rather than hinder the UK” according to Moody’s, the rating agency for government debt. Currency markets “are getting comfortable” with the prospect, say investment banks.1

SCARE #2: A hung parliament means no decision — it will collapse within months, leading to new elections.

THE FACTS: The negative term “hung parliament” was only coined in the 1970s. It gives the false impression that, like a hung jury, no overall majority means failure and having to start all over again. But parliaments are not juries. If voters elect a balanced parliament, that’s our decision: parties can work together sensibly in coalition, and most say they’re ready to.2

SCARE #3: Britain has no tradition of parties working together successfully in coalitions. There will be bickering and chaos unless one party runs the country on its own.

THE FACTS: Parliaments with coalitions or no overall majority were the norm in UK politics before 1945, and recently the trend is away from single-party dominance. Since it was established, the Scottish Parliament has had good experience of stable coalition and minority governments, as have dozens of other mature democracies in Europe and round the world.2

SCARE #4: A hung parliament will mean that nothing changes and we are stuck with the same old politics.

THE FACTS: A balanced parliament could be more likely to deliver serious change and substantial long-term reforms to our political system, instead of just shuffling the deckchairs!3

With many people unexcited by the two main parties, 53% preferred a hung parliament. The options for single-party government each receive the support of much less of the electorate.4

Awareness has grown that a hung parliament could be a great Reform Parliament, taking better decisions on the challenges we face. But the campaign of fear is making many of us waver and question ourselves. Who’s afraid of democracy? It’s time to stop the scaremongering and make up our own minds.

WE decide the outcome of our elections, so let’s share the facts with everyone in the UK — forward this email far and wide right now!

With hope,

Paul, Alice, Iain, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES:

1. The markets won’t crash
Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/93eeac2c-4e16-11df-b437-00144feab49a.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/marketforceslive/2010/apr/22/currencies

2. A hung parliament needn’t collapse, and coalitions work fine:
http://www.democraticaudit.com/
http://www.centreforum.org/assets/pubs/in-the-balance-web.pdf

3. A balanced parliament would be more likely to lead to big reforms to shake up the system: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/news.php?ex=0&nid=463

4. The public prefer a hung parliament to either of the two main parties gaining an overall majority: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7100966.ece