LONDON (Reuters) - If you think a hung parliament would be the worst outcome of the May 6 election, think again.
A group of political reform campaigners claims that far from ushering in a period of ineffectual leadership, an inconclusive poll outcome could be a blessing for Britain’s economy and a powerful catalyst for change.
“Hang ‘Em is about challenging the traditional party system,” Jonathan Bartley, one of the campaign’s founders, told Reuters, referring to the name of their campaign for a hung parliament.
“We want to tap into the anti-politics feeling following the expenses scandal to renew democracy and make politics more accountable.”
A hung parliament, where no party has an outright majority, has long been feared in financial markets because political deadlock would hamper efforts to cut Britain’s record budget deficit.
But proponents of the “Hang ‘Em” campaign say such worries are unfounded. They point to an OECD study which shows that seven of the 10 biggest deficit-cutting programmes since the 1970s took place in countries with coalition or minority governments.
A hung parliament is looking an increasingly likely outcome of next month’s poll, with the Conservative party’s lead over Labour having halved over the past year.
The non-partisan initiative, which is backed by open Democracy, the thinktank Ekklesia, Charter 2010 and Progressive Parliament, is urging voters to back independent candidates or those representing smaller parties in a bid to change politics from the ground up.
The campaign’s website went live on Wednesday and will use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
After a scandal over politicians’ wrongful expense claims and an unpopular war in Iraq, voter anger with Britain’s political elite is running high.
A ComRes survey on Sunday showed more voters wanted to see a hung parliament than either a Labour or a Conservative majority.
Reporting by Christina Fincher