Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Who chooses the Prime Minister?

David Cameron on Andrew Marr (2 May 2010) condemns Proportional Representation, saying:

It’s not the voter choosing the prime-minister

No David, it’s not – but neither is First Pass the Post (FPTP).  FPTP makes a few voters very important in electing the MPs in the marginals – and that determines which party has the lotto majority in the House of Commons.  The House of Commons then (by not voting down a government in a no confidence debate), selects the Prime Minister (the person “most able to command a majority”).

Proportional Representation makes a better job of choosing the House of Commons, and more of the voters matter.  Under STV around 80% of votes matter – in all constituencies. (see previous thread)

If Cameron really wants “the voters to elect the Prime Minister”, let him propose a Presidential System.  Unless he does that he is just being sanctimonious, two-faced, and self-interested (i.e. a politician) in his attitude to PR.

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

4 thoughts on “Who chooses the Prime Minister?

  1. FPTP has pros and cons. The major pro is that it is always more likely that we will have a majority-led government, which is good because there is one major and experienced party in control of things like our struggling economy. In the current political climate of scepticism towards the status quo, caused by the expenses scandal and Nick Clegg’s rise to stardom, it seems that many believe a hung parliament is our best chance of securing such reforms, and ousting complacent MPs from their safe seats.

    I agree that Cameron is self-interested in his attitude to PR, as it’s surely in his interest for Britain to keep the current system. It seems you can’t trust politicians these days…

    • The major pro is that it is always more likely that we will have a majority-led government, which is good because there is one major and experienced party in control of things like our struggling economy.

      I think that this is a false perception:

      • – A majority-led government does not necessarily have majority support. If we have to accept considerable pain over the next few years, the government needs to be able to claim majority support if it is to carry the population with it. (c.f Greece?)
      • – If say the Conservative were to form the government, just how experienced are they? They have shouted from the sidelines for the last 13 years, and the CVs of their leading members are often shallow and lacking any evidence of real understanding of Britain and how it works

      There is a separate issue about whether even a majority supported government can carry the population if they introduce painful measures vastly in excess of those they have paraded for our inspection! How do we make political parties put a truthful manifesto in front of us in difficult times? The evidence is that we “vote with our wallet” in our short-term individual self-interest, rather than in the long term interests of the country (and hence all of us).

      I also wonder whether any government can control our bit of the global economy or whether (as Ken Clarke seems to imply) the Bond Markets will decide and all that the Government can try and do is “ride the Tiger”. (If it falls off the Tiger it will be gobbled up.)

  2. Pingback: Laboured understanding of AV | Enfranchise me!

  3. Pingback: Clearing the deficit is taxing | Outside the marginals

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: