Outside the marginals

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

Archive for the category “Election Manifestos”

Can Democracy Survive the Internet?

The internet was at one stage hailed as a major democratic tool – allowing us “voters” to have a direct input into the democratic purpose (beyond that of putting an “X” on a piece of paper every few years).

But now we are not so sure. Read more…

Abolishing Opposition

Tim Farron is emailing about the budget:

Today we saw exactly what we’ve come to expect from George Osborne.

While gleefully abolishing vital services in our communities, he declared with his usual arrogance, that he had abolished the Liberal Democrats.
Email “They want to abolish us” from Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

He doeth protest too much! 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…

Gideon’s Dictionary: Tax Credits

Every emperor, or prospective emperor, has to give the appearance of having “the common touch”. In view of the restricted background of our potential new emperor, I offer him a dictionary in the hope that studying it will help him understand the people he wishes to rule.

Tax Credits

Read more…

Civil War & Transition Time

Civil war within the Labour Party is inevitable following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, …

Kim Howells said Labour must reconcile its differences to have a chance of winning the 2020 general election. …

[if still an MP] “I’d be bitterly opposed to the current leadership of the Labour Party.

“I’d be saying things that I believe about the need to win political power and a bunch of old Trotskyites are not going win political power.”
BBC News Website, 23 September 2015 : Labour Party civil war ‘inevitable’ after Jeremy Corbyn win

Well if those are words of reconciliation, I’m a UKIPper.

But Labour is in a bind Read more…

Labour’s “Tuition Fees” moment?

Do you remember about five years ago when another party’s spokesman said he was for a policy opposite to that in their manifesto, then against the policy, then reversed his position again and then his party got in a shambles – some voting for a policy they said they were against, some abstaining, and a few voting in accordance with their previous manifesto? It really pissed off a significant portion of their supporter base. Read more…

The Activists, Members, Supporters, Voters, Us Disconnect

There is an interesting comment on Labour List about the Leadership Election that concludes:

Broadly, then, CLPs [Constituency Labour Parties] nominating left wing candidates have a history of not voting for them.
Labour List 17 July 2015 : What do CLP nominations actually tell us about the final results?

To a degree this is unsurprising, but what conclusions should party members (of all parties) draw from this observation?

Read more…

End of Term Report: Conservatives

The Conservatives did not win a majority at the last election. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics.

Read more…

A Programme for the Majority?

Just imagine the following programme for government:

  • Reform
    • A shake up of Westminster
    • Abolition of the House of Lords
    • A fair voting system
  • Public Services
    • No tuition fees
    • Educational Maintenance Allowance including part-time college students
    • The NHS in public hands, halting the tide of NHS privatisation
    • Abolition of prescription charges
    • Explicit protection for the NHS on the face of the TTIP agreement
  • Fairness
    • Pensions that protect our older people.
    • A decent welfare system that helps people into work
    • Eradication of working practices that have no place in a decent, modern economy
    • a Living Wage nation
    • Strengthening of the law against domestic abuse – speed up the court process, give more support to victims, and expand schemes to help offenders change their behaviour
    • Gender Equality: Removal of Systemic and institutional barriers – the pay gap, occupational segregation, a lack of affordable childcare and, sometimes, just outdated attitudes
  • Other
    • No new generation of Trident nuclear weapons
    • Deficit reduction but not slash and burn austerity
    • Stay in Europe

If we could break the internal coalitions in the old elitist parties, could we envisage a parliamentary coalition to support this programme? Read more…

Burnham’s New Army of Nurses

Labour’s plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020. Few would disagree with the problem, but does Labour’s prescription adequately address the problem?

We will train, recruit and pay new NHS staff: 20,000 more nurses, getting the basics right with safe staffing in hospitals, and providing personalised care outside hospital to families with the greatest needs;
Labour Party : Time to Care Fund (accessed 22 March 2015)

“To recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020” is inevitably a slogan – that is unfortunately the currency of election campaigns. But can we unpack the problem and the proposed solution? Read more…

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