Can multi-party coalitions work? History says yes, yes, yes

Plus: How many Charlottes to expect this year; and who’ll win the election if legwork decides it

9 May 2015

9:00 AM

9 May 2015

9:00 AM

Party packs

Is it possible to form a stable coalition with more than one political party? The Conservative/Lib Dem coalition of 2010– 2015 was in fact unique in being the only British coalition featuring just two parties.
— Lord Aberdeen’s coalition on 1852–55 was made up of 11 Whigs, six Peelites and one Radical, Sir William Molesworth, who served as First Commissioner of Works and was later described by Gladstone as ‘perfectly harmless’. He did, however, give us Westminster Bridge.
— The wartime coalitions of Asquith (1915–16) and Lloyd George (1916–22) were mostly Liberals and Conservatives but also had three Labour junior ministers and an Irish Nationalist, James O’Connor, who served as solicitor general for Ireland.
— Churchill’s wartime coalition (1940–45) had an independent, John Anderson, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and also a United Australia Party MP: Richard Casey, Minister-Resident for the Middle East.

Lands of lost children

Britain was reported to have a higher infant mortality rate than Poland. But the gap in child mortality between the developed and developing worlds is vast:

Death rate before five per 1,000 live births
Finland (lowest in world) 2.6
Germany 3.9
UK 4.6
US 6.9
Central African Republic 139
Somalia 146
Sierra Leone 161
Angola 167

Source: Save the Children

All over the place

Who would be PM if elections were decided by who had visited most constituencies during the campaign?

Constituencies visited before 2 May
David Cameron 55
Ed Miliband 43
Nick Clegg 33
Nigel Farage 12


Baby trends

Can we expect a rush of baby girls called Charlotte? Not if the princess’s brother is anything to go by. In 2013, 4,202 boys were called George, making it the 10th most popular boy’s name in England and Wales. The previous year it was 12th, but with 4,408. Charlotte in 2013 was the 20th most popular girl’s name, with 2,166. The biggest faller in the top 100 boys’ names between 2003 and 2013 was Cameron, down 70 places to 93rd.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments