Outside the marginals

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

Archive for the category “Disenfranchisement”

An Outside View

Sometimes it is sobering to read an outsider’s view of you. Today is one of those days. It does not help that I am already feeling depressed and not able to see a positive future.

Some people say that I only have myself to blame and it serves me right for being a small “l” liberal – although I can’t and don’t want to claim to be part of the “elite”. But early retirement does give me the luxury of time to follow current events and to read around a topic – and the internet means I have access to a wide range of views. The nihilists will claim that being informed makes me part of the “elite” and will delight at my discomfiture by recent events. That such people may be in a majority in “my country” I find incredibly depressing. Read more…

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Pressing the Button for Point of No Return

I am watching as my parliament seems to be taking the most stupid decision that I have seen them take in my lifetime. (498 Votes for – 114 Votes against – 38 abstentions)

No this is not a decision to leave the EU – let’s leave that aside for the moment.

The decision is for a process to hand over power to the Prime Minister, aided and abetted by Messrs Fox, Davis, and Johnson to trigger the irreversible process leading to an exit from the EU and get whatever deal they can get. Apparently, this is “what the people voted for and they must be respected”. Read more…

Reasons to be Fearful – 1,2,3

  1. Putin
  2. May
  3. Trump

Possibly in that order! Read more…

Enemies of the People

The country is split; horribly horribly split. This week’s High Court judgement has opened the split even more.

But dig deeper and it is not a Brexit vs Anti-Brexit split. It is a deeper and more dangerous split amongst the people of this country. The split is between those who have given up on the major institutions of the country (Parliament, Judiciary, City, “Mainstream Media”) – as well as the EU and all its institutions – and those who are still trying to have faith in some of the institutions.

Read more…

Trump and Brexit

I would like to write him off, but Trump did win the Republican Nomination even though so many commentators said he was a joke.

Why did he win the nomination?

  • He has plugged into something that most commentators (professional and amateur) don’t understand
  • I suspect that his supporters hold “commentators” in contempt, so either,
    • they are not listening to the commentators saying what a danger he is, or
    • they are listening and what is being said just hardens their support for him

He put together a coalition of support in places where it mattered and won the nomination. To win the presidency (elected by an electoral college) he has to build a coalition of support in places where it matters – the swing states. Outside those marginals it does not matter what people think or vote.

Read more…

The Crisis of Indirect Democracy and its Consequences

Indirect democracy is a fragile child. In effect we say we (“democratically”) elect representatives to a body that then “does governing for us”. This is in stark contrast to direct democracy – which in its most extreme state has everybody having a vote on everything.

Parliaments should be shining examples of indirect democracy at work. They consist of “representatives”, not mandated delegates, who collectively form a body that should be recognised as “representative”. Their legitimacy depends, I believe, on three factors.

  • Whether elections to the parliament are recognised as “free and fair”
  • Whether the resulting parliament is recognised as “representative”
  • Whether the parliament through its collective actions and the actions of its members retains the “respect of the people”.

In the UK, I think we are, to a degree, failing on all three of the above. Read more…

Labour won’t find its soul by navel gazing

… last year’s election defeat could be reduced to two key factors – Labour’s failure to pay enough attention to “economic competence”, and the fact that “the public did not perceive Ed Miliband as a credible prime minister”.
The Guardian, 1 January 2016 : When are Labour party ‘moderates’ going to do more than just moan?

But behind that there is a rejection of Labour’s attempts to hold power by trying to ape the Tories – they can never be “better Tories than the Tories”. If unrestrained global capitalism is the name of the game you might as well vote Tory.

But if unrestrained global capitalism is not the name of the game … Read more…

British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

Initially I read the above Guardian headline as referring to the “British Left” being vulnerable before realising that it was about something far more serious – or something that should be more serious.

Archbishop of Canterbury claims benefit sanctions and bureaucratic delays in welfare mean government is partly to blame for ‘tragedy’ of hunger.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that government policies on poverty and welfare reform have left too many people in Britain unable to feed their families. …

Welby also urged a widening of the political debate around welfare away from the pillorying of people dependent on benefits to one which recognised the value of social security as an expression of a national belief that “we are one people with care for all”.
The Guardian, 10 December 2015 : British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

It is serious, but “Archbishop warns about poverty” is hardly news – is it?

What we have to ask is why is this situation not just a constant but actually getting more severe?

Read more…

Rats in a Sack (and not understanding AV!)

The Cooper and Burnham camps have traded blows over their views on Mr Corbyn and their place in the contest.

A spokesman for the former said on Monday that Mr Burnham should “step back and leave it to Yvette” if he could not provide an alternative to Mr Corbyn
BBC News Website 18 August 2015 : Labour leadership: Burnham criticises Cooper call to quit

Apart from being unedifying, it also shows a remarkable disrespect for the electorate and misunderstanding of the benefits of AV. Read more…

Cannot organise an election in a constituency?

Harriet Harman has written to all Labour MPs asking them to check new members are not trying to skew the party’s leadership contest.

Each MP has been sent a list of new members from their constituency so they can check for suspicious names. …

Ms Harman, the acting leader, wants to ensure anyone who does not “share Labour’s values” is weeded out. …

Last week Ms Harman told the Guardian a similar email had been sent to constituency Labour parties.
BBC News Website 5 August 2015 : Labour leadership: Harriet Harman warns MPs over new members

This has all the makings of a shambles. What happens if an MP or constituency official “discovers” someone “suspicious”? Ballot papers go out shortly, so what is to be done? Read more…

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