Archive for the “Politics” Category

I thought I’d post this for those who are perpetuating this nonsense about an ‘Unelected Prime Minister’, mostly the ‘political editors and corespondants’ working for the media and Tory Members of Parliament.

The UK has a Parliamentary system.  When you voted last week none of your ballot papers had a section for choosing the Prime Minister.  You voted for the person you wanted to be your Member of Parliament.  Those MPs mostly belong to Parties.  The Parties choose their leader.  The Leader of the party which forms the Government becomes the Prime Minister.

Which part of that process involves anyone other than a political party electing their leader who then becomes Prime Minister?

That’s right, it doesn’t.

The ‘unelected leader’ issue is a complete red herring and factually incorrect.

Can we at least have a clear and honest representation of the FACTS of how our Parliamentary Democracy works please?

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All this talk of ‘The National Interest’ as the Conservative and Liberal Democrats try to hammer out some kind of a deal seems a little odd.

Firstly, it suggests that the Tories wouldn’t be acting in the national interest if they didn’t have to try and get support.

Secondly, it seems to presume that a deal and all the compromise that goes with it is in the national interest.

In reality, neither of these will be completely true or completely false.

Of course the government tries to act in the national interest, or at least in their perception of what the national interest is, and in some ways compromise in government is good.

What isn’t in the national interest is political posturing and claiming that it’s only one party that is acting in the national interest while at the same time crucifying Gordon Brown for fulfilling his constitutional duty by continuing in the role of Prime Minister while the Tories try to form a government.

So much for a more mature kind of politics.

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It’s always interesting to see the swing in elections.  This election has seen a general swing from the centre left parties like Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the centre right Conservative party.

There wasn’t much of a swing from the left to other left leaning parties.  I find that odd.

My friend Leo uses a great illustration of the oddness of switching from labour to tory:

Imagine a future in which many of the Roman Catholics in the world decide that they want to show how annoyed they are with the Pope (and, let’s face it, there’s much to be disappointed with).

How do they register their dissatisfaction? Well, in my future scenario, they all leave the Catholic Church and convert to Islam.  ”Hold on a minute,” I hear you say, “That would never happen .. surely they would join a denomination that holds many of the same principles of Catholicism but is different enough to be, well, different?”  Maybe the United Reformed Church or one of the other nonconformist denominations, perhaps … but no, they all convert to Islam.

Too far fetched, d’you reckon? Apparently not. When the people of this green and septic, I mean, sceptered, Isle wished to show their displeasure with the current government they didn’t change their allegiance to a party that holds some of the same basic principles as the incumbent government, no, they went to the party that was diametrically opposite!

He’s right.

To switch from Labour to Tory or Lib Dem to Tory or the other way makes no sense and might even show a real lack of understanding of the core values of our political parties.

I’m sure that our electoral system has a huge part to play in this switching.  People have so few options that in our first past the post two horse race the only way people can imagine change is to back the other big party.

Electoral reform is crucial.  The Lib Dems got 23% of the vote and got 8% of the seats.  That’s just not right.

Perhaps the real electoral reform required is for us, the electorate, to become more politically aware, more engaged and to vote our conscience rather than out of fear or lack of choice.

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Who knew that nothing would be so interesting?

The UK election has resulted in a well and truly hung parliament with some fascinating results.

The Liberal Democrat vote went up 1% but their number of seats went down.  The Torys still have only 1 MP in Scotland but the most seats overall.  Labour’s vote went up in Scotland but down in England.

No party has a majority so we need to wait and see what deals will be done.

And the speculation, comment, gossip and opinion is hard to tear yourself away from.

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VOTE


No excuses.

The polls are open from 7am until 10pm.  You don’t even need to take your polling card, just some ID.

If you don’t want to vote for anyone then spoil your paper because they count those too.

If you want to know how to vote then watch the video here.

Voting is your right.  Exercise it.


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I was watching the BBC News this morning and the head guy from IPSOS Mori was on talking about the election polls.  For the first time I heard anyone mention margin of error which is actually pretty important with this kind of 1000 people snap sample stuff.

The margin of error is + or – 3%.

That means that the polls could be as much as 3% out either way.

He also talked about as many as 4 in 10 people (40%) in marginal seats still being undecided.

That also means that no-one has any idea who will win.

He also mentioned how the current polls would translate into seats:

  • Conservatives on around 43% would get around 260 seats
  • Labour on around 28% would get around 260 seats
  • Liberal Democrats on 29% would get around 90 seats.

Is it just me or is there something very wrong with our electoral system?

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The Guardian has endorsed the Liberal Democrats:

If the Guardian had a vote it would be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats. But under our discredited electoral system some people may – hopefully for the last time – be forced to vote tactically

The first-past-the-post system is undemocratic.  But that’s not the only reason to vote Lib Dem.

It has been interesting watching both Labour and Tory alike warning of the dangers of a hung parliament, or a balanced parliament as those seeking influence in the post election fall out have taken to calling it.  Big majorities are good when things need radically changed but that doesn’t seem to be where we are.

All the major parties, and I’m including the Scottish and Welsh nationalists in that, have very little difference in policy terms between them.  If you don’t believe me look at how well the Scottish Parliament works with a minority government.  There is something grown up about having to convince other people that what you want to do is a good idea.  Governments shouldn’t have to rely on whips bullying people through the division lobby.

The Leader’s Debates have changed the face of British politics forever.  We will surely move ever closer to a presidential style election.

In many ways Nick Clegg’s rise has been a parallel of the USA’s Presidential elections where often being an unknown candidate can be a benefit.  People listen to the new guy.

I heard a commentator saying this morning that David Cameron has spent the last year encouraging people to vote for someone young and new… and then Clegg came along and Cameron has been left shouting “Not him!  I meant me!”.

Labour seems to have lost their way.  The Tories seem to have discovered their past.  But what of these Liberal Democrats?

They seem to inhabit the centre ground more comfortably than either the red or blue parties.  Perhaps a fundamental commitment to real representative democracy puts you in a place where listening, compromise and co-operation are natural ways to achieve consensus and move forward.  Clegg has even had the audacity to suggest that the next parliament work together to tackle the economic crisis.  (I wonder if secretly Brown and Cameron are quite excited about the prospect of Vince Cable being Chancellor?)

What has been missed in the razzle dazzle of the three TV debates is that there are 650 elections happening next week.  Every one of us has a choice to make and no-one will arrive at their polling station to find Brown, Cameron and Clegg on their ballot paper.  Oddly, the party leaders could lose their constituency votes.  It’s unlikely, but where would that put us?

You see the BBC, Sky and ITV don’t pick the Prime Minister.  The pollsters don’t pick the Prime Minister.  We, the voters, don’t pick the Prime Minister.  The party with the most MPs don’t even pick the Prime Minister.  The Queen can ask whoever she wants to try to form a government.  Wouldn’t it be fun if she picked George Galloway for  laugh?

Our electoral system is a joke.  In my constituency Labour will win.  They have a majority of 11,000.  Our bit of the electoral map will be staying red no matter who I choose to vote for.  And that’s the problem for the Lib Dems.  Opinion polls might not translate into votes.  Even if they do get 30% of the vote our system means that they could still end up with fewer seats than the other two big parties.

And don’t get me started on the House of Lords.

And while I’m talking about electoral reform, how long are we just going to ignore the ‘West Lothian Question’?  Surely the English are going to wake up at some point and realise that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs are voting on education, health and law and order legislation which doesn’t apply in their countries!  Seriously England, are you ok with that?

So, whatever the election result next week, things are going to change.  Proportional Representation is coming, the House of Lords is changing and even Parliament itself might be smaller and differently formatted.

And that’s all good because it has come about because people are beginning to engage in politics again.  It was great to see a woman in the Question Time audience reminding the politicians that they work for us.  I hope that’s a sign of things to come… that we care enough to get involved.

You get the government you allow.  We have allowed people to lie and cheat us because doing something about it was too much effort.  Disengaging isn’t the answer.  We get government however few people vote.

So, on May 6th I’ll be voting.  Will you?

My vote will go to the Liberal Democrats.  It was going there before the election was called but the negativity of Labour and Conservative alike has just confirmed my choice.

But what about May 7th?  Or is an X in a box our contribution to society?  (I wonder if that’s a Big Society?)  Voting is the easy bit.  Not leaving the running of the country to someone else… well that’s a bit harder.  Fancy it?

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