Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Tories want democracy....ish

The Tories are now up in arms about the threat of another unelected prime minister if and when Gordon Brown resigns and the Lib Dems decide to go for the rainbow alliance option.

It is so refreshing to have the Tories banging on about democracy is it not? Considering their staunch support for those less than democratic organs of the British state, the Monarchy and the House of Lords. Also their total resistance to allowing the British people a referendum (can’t get more democratic than that can you?) on proper PR. Any future leader of the Labour party will have been elected in the same way that John Major was when he became Tory PM in 1990. They were bounced into offering a referendum on the alternative vote and I have just seen George Osborne saying “let the people decide” on the news. Fair enough considering their new desire for all things democratic, so why not include STV as well and let the people decide?

The Alternative Vote, which uses the same constituency boundaries and voters, would elect one person to represent them in parliament, just as we do now. However, rather than marking an 'X' against their preferred candidate, each voter would rank their candidates in an order of preference, putting '1' next to their favourite, a '2' by their second choice and so on. If a candidate received a majority of first place votes, he or she would be elected just as under the present system. However if no single candidate got more than 50% of the vote, the second choices for the candidate at the bottom would be redistributed. The process would be repeated until one candidate got an absolute majority. The Alternative Vote is not actually a proportional system, but a majoritarian system as there is only one member for one seat and in addition votes not cast for the winner are still wasted.

They don’t really want any change to the system of First Past the Post which sees a tiny minority of marginal constituencies determine the complexion of the government while the vast majority never change hands. This means that the majority of MPs (currently Tory ones in England) never actually have to face a proper democratic election. In reality they have jobs for life. This means that a vote for anyone other than the sitting MP in these constituencies is totally wasted.

Is that democratic?

The same, of course, holds true for Labour MPs in Scotland, where the vast majority of seats never change hands. So we have the weird situation where the Labour MPs in England are keen on PR while those in Scotland are not. Not a cynical ploy to continue the lazy practice of not really having to fight an election is it?


  1. Did anyone notice the live exiting from 10 Downing Street of the Labour Cabinet after the Brown "resignation" speech?

    Yvette Cooper aka Mrs Binky Balls emerged, walked down Downing Street, through the security into Whitehall. There are a dozen ways in and out of Downing Street without have to go past the keekers at the gated end and the Loyal Regiment of Press Foot Soldiers and Television Airwaves Core. She caste a few pearls of wisom to the gathering swine.

    Later out came the Milliband Banana One with Jack Straw and Spud Murphy right up their two erses. Anatomically impossible for anyone but Neferatu.

    Murphy really is a C@nt,a serf serving nematode trying to slide up the greasy pole of the brain dead Liebour Party. He is so obviously lacking in talent and intellect that he has to use animal cunning. We need a vermifuge regime on Liebour in Scotland ASAP

    Nasty bit of goods, he is.

  2. Bugger you will get no argument from me regarding Jim Murphy. I wonder what his position on PR is?

  3. I think we have a curious situation wrt the Labour Party.

    In Engerlandshire they may well want it but in Scotland Murphy and his cohorts will work to destroy it.

  4. As I said, Harris and Reid and Northern England Labour MPs will not nuy it. Harris, especially with the SNP.


    Wee Eck is playing a blinder

  5. Tris spot on with your analysis and you have clearly illustrated that MPs are clearly out for themselves. Labour MPs would be horrified if they were actually properly challenged in Scotland and the Tories in England.

    The alternative vote is not worth the paper on which it is written on. No political system is perfect but what we have in Scotland is by far the fairest system.

    The Tories and Labour are pretty thin when it comes to democracy so only independence for Scots would really put an end to both liabilities.

  6. Bugger

    I'm watching the Beeb now and it looks like Alexander and Co would rather see the Tories in than do a deal with the SNP. Now you can see just how much Scottish Labour despise the SNP and probably as Tris pointed out, they would be feart for their seats under PR.

  7. If Cameron and the Tories form a coalition with the Liberals with a pledge to hold a referendum on AV or PR then I am resigning my Party membership.

    No, no, no. Not ever- we must defend the status quo against anti-plural PR and the ineptitude of AV.

  8. Dean: Don't do anything in haste and temper.

    You’ll never influence anything from the outside.

  9. Och Allan, half of them wouild be gone if we had PR. And a good thing too. Far too many of them have seats for life.

    I wonder if Margaret Curren will resign her Scottish Parliament seat now that she's taken a job in England?

  10. Tris,

    This is exactly what is wrong with our current political situation. We vote for politicians on the basis of one thing, and then they go an do the opposite. I know some of my fellow life-long Tory members have already cut up their membership cards after they even had the gall to offer a referendum on AV..

    What we need is modest constitutional change, but absolutely no end to FPTP. PR is less pluralistic, and less open and democratic. No, not ever. Cameron- if not in No.10 by the end of the week will find many knives in his back I can tell you! David Davis, Ken Clarke, William Hague, Liam Fox, there are plenty of potential leaders waiting to replace him.

  11. I don't see, Dean, what can ever be wrong with offering referenda to the people, unless one is afraid of the outcome.

    I'm sorry to hear you have lost members over it. I wonder where people can go. UKIP is clearly out of the question to someone of your political views.

    I never thought that Cameron was a leader. I thought him a pleasant but rather empty vessel who made it to Oxford virtue of his Eton background and wealth rather than his intellect. Not thick, but not bright either. And only there because of his PR abilities (and connections) after the dismal failure of the previous leaders, Hague, IDS, and the disastrous Howard.

    As for the future... it’s interesting to speculate. Willie the second time around might be in with a shout, but he is anti European, and as such divisive. On the other hand Clarke would divide the party too. Liam Fox is an old bigot, and not like that old woman that Brown insulted. She was just not particularly bright (the Eastern Europeans patently obviously come from Eastern Europe). Fox hasn’t the excuse of being uneducated and yet he is bigoted. He would be a disaster for an inclusive Tory Party.

    I’m not sure about David Davies. Probably a man of principle, but on the right. Who knows though what his antics of last year have done for his standing in the party.

    Is there anyone else in your opinion, after all there’s a reasonable chance that Cameron will have to go?

  12. Tris

    Margaret Curren the natter from the east. She was elected on fear rather than hope and I can't see her giving up her Holyrood seat until next year which would be out right hypocrisy from her and labour after attacking Salmond.

  13. Dean.

    What about Cameron making Salmond chancellor? lol

  14. Allan.

    Can you imagine what Goldie would ahve to say about that?

  15. with the Conservatives back in power and their determination to crush the rebellious(scrounging) Scots and welsh........

    Independence takes a big step forward

  16. Tris

    I think she would be rather happy and the pair of them seem to get on very well together lol

  17. Mr Irish Alphabet

    Can we take it that you are now warming to the independence cause? 47% in one poll say they would be more likely to vote for independence in the event of a Tory government.

    What is striking is the amount of people who only vote Labour to keep the Tories out yet we have Labour MPs in Scotland strutting about like they are Mr and Mrs populars.

  18. Do you think it will Niko. I wonder if the Labour supporters won't rally round David Miliband or Ed Balls and believe that the only way to defeat the Tories is to vote Labour.

    Would 6 extra seats have made any difference them?

  19. Mr whatever,

    I do not agree. If we examine recent history we can see the SNP doing better under Labour administrations. Which if anything, only makes the failure to break through in 2010 even more disasterous.

  20. Tris,

    Referendum on AV or PR? Why?

    Most people either don't care or don't know the difference. Thus, if we hold a referendum on it, who is it on behalf of?

    It certainly isnt the electorate- which isnt really that fussed by it. If they had more than 23% would have voted for PR by casting their vote for the Liberals.

    So, it isn't about opposing a referendum becasue we fear losing it, it is just the fact that there is absolutely no mandate on which to call one.

  21. Well OK, Dean. There isn't anything in your manifesto, but there is in your partner's.

    I can sypathise to an extent with you. The methods are difficult, but you know, you might as well say that there's no point in calling an election. People don't understand what theya re voting for. No one reads the manifestos except the nerds.

    But that's not a good way to go.....