India comes to westminster?
The British clearly cannot get enough of India. We have already colonised the minds and palates of our former suzerains with Bollywood and chicken tikka masala. Now they are moving our way when it comes to their political processes as well.
What else can explain the fact that with less than a week to go before Election Day, Britain is happily contemplating a hung parliament, coalition politics and a minority government — phrases that have become the staple of political punditry in India in the past two decades?
Not that the staid British can be blamed for aspiring to this bit of Indianness.
Friends become foes only to become friends again, bloated governments become more dependent on outside support than Dolly Parton, leaders feign amnesia or worse to explain away errant behaviour and are always forgiven, plum posts are distributed as party favours, and all players (no matter how small) have a right to make their presence felt.
Like a masala movie, there's always a promise of a huge cast of boisterous characters and never a dull moment in coalition politics, India-ishtyle.
No wonder the British are ready to adopt our brand of politics with the same enthusiasm with which they dumped their ‘meatand-two-veg' for the crunchy colourfulness of arugulafestooned Mediterranean fare.
Britain has had coalition governments before, but it was impossible for citizens to enjoy the phenomenon as both times they were either on the brink or in the midst of a World War.
This time it's different; but why stop at the same three choices — Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat — when it comes to a rainbow coalition? A Monster Raving Loony Party would not have amounted to much in the Britain of yore.
But in the highest traditions of the Mayawati-Mulayam-Mamata-spiced political curry in India, Britain is probably yearning to see considerable political innovation or two to stir up the House of Commons from 2010 onwards.
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