In the maelstrom of post-election coalition permutations swirling around, the strongest one is usually overlooked. Namely, the so-called "grand coalition" - a marrying-up of the highest-polling parties, in our case National and Labour.

Not that I personally favour it in this instance, but it's not unknown.

Grand coalitions have cropped up frequently in German politics, in Finland, and even here, both with the 1915-18 Reform-Liberal coalition and United-Reform in 1931-1935.

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But should a grand coalition occur, then all minor-party nonsense about king-makers, 100 per cent of the power with only 7 per cent of the vote, and so forth, immediately gets hit for six.

Many might cough their cocoa through their nose at the thought of such a prospect.
Yet it could be argued that we've had a de facto grand coalition for some time.

Take the alternating governments since Labour's win in 1984 under the both orotund and rotund David Lange.

The first thing Labour did was to Roger traditional Labour values and deliver up a programme that was everything National had ever wanted but been too afraid to ask for.
Since then it's been a matter of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.

Except for the nuclear-free legislation and the Clark Government's sensible refusal to buddy up on the USA's heinous 2003 invasion of Iraq, mostly the two parties could have swapped jerseys at any time virtually unnoticed.

Whatever Government policies the Opposition of the time pretended to oppose were retained once the tables had turned.

Both parties still allowed the devil's spawn of Thatcherism and Reaganomics to rend the core fabric of our society - with all the resultant deep inequalities and collateral social damage - much as if a grand coalition had existed during this thirty three year period,
When Trader John Key stepped down last December, he looked around and surveyed all his works.

As far as he could see were bloated existing private property-holders, tax-relieved upper-income earners, blown-out Government and private debt, a blitzed manufacturing sector and vaporised unions, dispersed State assets, extrapolated opportunities for private sector profit-making from essential public services, a trashed environment, working poor, and a demoralised and unhoused new underclass trapped in perpetual serfdom.

And he was satisfied.

He knew the collective hearts of his former mentors at Merrill Lynch would be bursting with pride, for the market was now working well.

But this was the icing on a cake that Labour had put in the oven and helped bake.
When vice-captain English stepped up, though, even he could sense the natives were restless. New noises were needed to placate them.

First of all, in his secret basement laboratory at his primary place of residence in deepest Dipton, Bill managed to conjure up a magic "surplus" - a truly astounding feat, given that Government debt is now nudging $100 billion.

Bill said he now suddenly had enough dosh to right all the wrongs ratcheted up in National's previous nine years in office.

Remarkably, this particular fairy tale attracted most votes, albeit still not enough to clinch a fourth term.

Sadly, though, we seem less concerned with party policy specifics than slaves to some deep primal instinct to gang up in "sides" so we can go head-to-head like Ranfurly Shield dust-ups.

The sensible thing would be to ban party affiliations altogether, and have individual electorates elect whichever independent candidate presented the most attractive suite of policies. Elected members would in turn elect cabinet ministers (we've had coalition "War" cabinets), and a "prime" minister.

Issues and legislation could then be debated in the House on their own merits, and supported or rejected accordingly - as opposed to MPs of a particular clan being "whipped" to toe party lines.

Effective politics should be boring, where "boring" means independent members giving mature and considered thought to major issues of the moment on behalf of their constituents - not reduced to being contestants in some gladiatorial and tribal trash TV reality show.