This is rather interesting given that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, wife of the Lib Dem leader, works for DLA Piper. This is the firm’s view – as espoused by its public law expert Paul Stone today (in a press release).
A hallmark feature of a coalition government is the sheer time it can take to achieve consensus. From a legal point of view, this often results in laws being passed that are of high quality and well scrutinised, but unfortunately, are often watered down to the point of being anodyne as a result of endless rounds of review and compromise.
The main risk to UK legislation is from the perverse results which can arise when the extreme agendas of minority fringe, or single issue parties, actually gain a disproportionate ability to influence policy in return for keeping a minority government in power. In such a situation the silent majority may well find itself being forced to bend to the will of the hard line minority; such situations can result not only in “bad” laws but laws which are clearly outside the scope of what the broad majority of a voting population would be prepared to support.
On the other hand, the weak coalition governments seen in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s were largely responsible for the success of the northern Italian economy because the lack of effective central leadership created a laissez faire environment that allowed businesses to flourish. That said, it was this political ‘vacuum’ that arguably gave rise to the Northern League in Italy, because ultimately, people wanted stronger governance.”