Re: Electoral reform
- From: Jan Böhme <jan.bohme@xxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 04:59:54 -0700 (PDT)
On 8 Maj, 13:29, "wulfit" <wul...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
The news yesterday was that some Tory "leaders" were very angry at the
suggestion of electoral reform as part of a possilble compromise deal with
the Lib Dems. The leaders of all three parties have said they want reform.
Exactly who these Tory "leaders" are is unclear but what they are angry
about is equally unknown.
There has been lots of discussion about reform to both Houses, but little or
nothing about reform to the way to the monarchy works, depending on which
google search thread you follow.
I'm intrigued as to exactly what makes the Tory "leaders" so angry - exactly
what changes do they fear?
They have made it perfectly clear what they fear. They fear a
perennial Lib/Lab coalition, shutting the Conservatives (and indeed
any other parties than Labour and the Liberal Democrats) permanently
out of power. I think that their fears are exaggerated - Labour might
have some 20% of the voters who vote Labour solely as a manifestation
of class identity, completely irrespective of which the Labour
policies were, and how successful they had been, but the Liberal
Democrats certainly haven't got that large loyal base who would vote
the party candidate even if it were a horse. Furthermore, the
parliamentary group of the Lib Dems have a stronger position vis-à-vis
the party leadership than in the two larger parties, which means that
the concerns of the MP:s most likely to lose their seats in a bad
election are more important in the LibDems. Thus, the Liberal rats
would most certainly abandon the Labour ship as soon as the sailing
became really rough. And even if they miraculously wouldn't, a
sufficiently unpopular government gets defeated, no matter how large
its previous majority was.
Is it that they want to keep the gerrymandering
that happens in the UK and which by nature is generally very unfair,
although it allegedly usually favours Labour? Or is it that they would lose
some, or many, privileges, which suggests the HOL? I am curious to know the
details and their justification for keeping the status quo, when some parts
of the status quo are indefensibly unfair, depending on your point of view.
For example, an hereditary HOL as opposed to an elected upper house, and
first-past-the-post versus proportional representation or the preferential
voting system for the lower house.
Let's be perfectly clear: Proportional representation won't only
strengthen the Liberal Democrats at the expense of (mainly) Labour and
(also quite significantly) the Conservatives, It will strengthen the
Greens at the expense of the established party most likely to lose
votes to them, if they stood a real chance - which, incidentally, is
the Liberal Democrats. It will also strengthen the SNP and, if not
really strengthen Plaid Cymru, so at least make them a bit more secure
at the level of 3-4 MP:s, so the "Celtic coalition" whose support a
putative Lib/Lab government desperately needs, would be reasonably
happy with PR.
But above all it would bring in the UKIP and the BNP into Parliament
in quite respectable numbers. Is that really what anybody outside UKIP
and BNP really wants?
If we take the result from the last European elections, and correct
for turnout in such a way that we assume that all voters not voting in
the European elections, but voting in this parliamentary election,
would vote for the established parliamentary parties, UKIP and BNP
would still get 8,6% and 3,0% - translating into 56 and 19 MP:s,
respectably. (The Greens would get 4.1%, translating into 27 MP:s -
LibDems, take note!) While the figure for UKIP might still be inflated
because of the nature of the election fought, there is no such bias
for BNP and the Greens, and my figures for them should be taken as
minimal estimates, given how they were calculated. I'd say that the
total figure for UKIP, BNP and Greens together is reasonably accurate,
such that any losses by the UKIP relative to the prediction will be
offset by corresponding gains of the Greens and BNP.
When it comes to the House of Lords, I can't see any point with a
second elected chamber in Britain. If there is any political point
with the HoL at all, it is to have a body of experts and ex-
politicians who, once appointed, are completely independent of the
political parties and the public opinion. If one thinks that the
present situation is undemocratic, the best thing is to make the HoL
completely politically irrelevant, and to make the HoC to be all that
matters politically, rather than turning the HoL into an unneeded and
unnecessary second elected chamber, likely to come into conflict with
the already existing elected chamber for no obvious political good.
Elected upper houses are normally there for making things not happen -
the US senate is very good at that, for example. Is this really what
the UK needs?
- Electoral reform
- From: wulfit
- Electoral reform
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