Last week there was a general election in the UK, the idea being that we'd have a stable government the next day. Sadly this turned out not to be the case; instead we've ended up with that most terrible of things, a hung parliament. Despite a strong swing towards the Conservatives, they fell short of the 326 seats they needed for an overall majority, coming away with just 306 seats, a gain of 97 since 2005. Labour performed worse, achieving just 258 seats, down 96, and the Liberal Democrats just 57, down 1.
The Conservatives won the election, of course, but they didn't win it enough, and that's the issue. Without a majority they cannot simply take over, and instead are trying to form a deal with the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, said before the election that whoever got the most votes should have a chance to govern, which would suggest a Conservative/Liberal coalition is on the cards. But many in his party would prefer a Labour/Liberal coalition, despite the fact that both parties lost the election and a simple Lab-Lib coalition would still fall short of the necessary 326 seats they need. This would mean that a deal would also have to be struck with the smaller parties - the SNP in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and others - for there to be a majority. Of course these smaller parties are all in favour: it'll give them the power to control any policy affecting their voters.
Meanwhile Gordon Brown, leader of Labour and Prime Minister until something gets sorted out, is stepping down from his position, aiming to be out by October. Some say this will help negotiations between Labour and the Lib Dems.
What the Lib Dems do next will have a serious effect not only on the country but also on themselves. One of their key policies is electoral reform, with the intended result being Proportional Representation. If they mess up a coalition it will simply show that PR is a bad idea in this country. If they can make it work and show it benefits the country they might be able to sell it to us.
I'm in favour of a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. I think David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, did the right thing by announcing he was willing to strike a deal with the Lib Dems as soon as it was clear the Conservatives wouldn't have an overall majority. It would result in a stable two party coalition, and there are many policy points which they agree on. Once the economy and deficit have been dealt with the next step would be to call an election, which will hopefully result in the Conservatives achieving the overall majority they deserve.
Of course some people disagree. So, what do you think?