Making Decisions When The Scales Are Almost Balanced

In Britain’s first past the post system of electing a Government, politicians aim for a big majority.

They say that is the way to get things done. People are in thrall to the appeal of a strong Government getting things done.

But get things done for who?

The problem – if it is perceived as a problem – is that Britain is riven down the middle between different visions of Britain. On the one hand the Conservatives see society as a power pyramid of entitlement with each person making their own way. Labour – or some versions of Labour – see a safety net for everyone and a flattened distribution of wealth, and public ownership of essential services.

So where is the opportunity for compromises when everyone aims for a big majority?

The fact is that there is room to work things out between different opinions only where the prevailing opinion is held by the slimmest of majorities., where the scales appear to be almost balanced.

That is where cooperation trumps the supposed benefit of a big majority. Differences are real until consensus is achieved, at which point it becomes clear that the real accomplishment is in the connection between people with opposing views.