Outside the marginals

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

Archive for the category “Electoral Shenanigans”

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…

Cash for Votes – again

So the Labour Machine is at it again.

If you joined early this year responding to the “join and be a full part of Labour”, your membership contract apparently does not include the right to vote in an election that was not in the offing when you joined and which was called many months after you joined.

The appeal court has decided that the NEC (the top machine of a party that understands machine politics) is allowed to disqualify a group of members from having a right to vote in the leadership election. Presumably the NEC has something against this group of members. Breach of Contract does not apply – you cannot ask for “specific performance”.

But wait all was not lost … Read more…

The (Current) Coalition Government

The Conservative Party has delivered the referendum.Now back to working with colleagues to deliver the reforms we pledged in our manifesto

As the polls close, worth reflecting on fact that we delivered pledge to have referendum. Now the Conservative party can come back together

Historic referendum vote is over, I’m proud a Conservative gvt gave British people their say. Now time for our party to come back together.

The brass neck! (Do I detect a party line?) They have been casting doubts on each others’ honesty and integrity and knocking seven bells out of each other with even more vigour than they attack Labour at General Elections. Read more…

What a way to decide!

I don’t like to say that the “British People” – averaged out – are incapable of making big decisions, but the various Quit/Stay campaigners are making it very difficult and illustrating why referenda are not necessarily a good idea. Read more…

Finagling

verb (used with object), finagled, finagling.
1.
to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of):
He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
2.
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation:
to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
dictionary.com | fenagling

So who is finagling and who is being finagled? 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…

Donald J Trump is unhinged

Republican presidential rival Lindsey Graham, said: “What has been in the past absurd and hateful has turned dangerous. .. Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level.” …

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump’s proposed ban [on Muslims entering the US] would apply to “everybody”, including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country. Another Trump staffer confirmed that the ban would also apply to American Muslims who were currently overseas – presumably including members of the military and diplomatic service.
The Guardian 8 December 2015 : Donald Trump: ban all Muslims entering US

What has provoked this – as if this “man” works on reason? 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…

Do you trust the Polls

The BBC has an interesting post-mortem item on the polls and why they (the pollsters) got it wrong.

So I wonder: Read more…

Electronic Voting – the American Way?

Until Tuesday, the state of Virginia was using what one expert dubbed the “worst voting machine in the US” – one with security so appalling that all it would take to compromise it would be a laptop with a wireless card and some free software.

Immediately following the publishing of a scathing report on Tuesday by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), the Virginia State Board of Elections decertified use of the machines.
Sophos: Naked Security Blog 17 April 2015 : Tampering with US voting machine as easy as ‘abcde’, says Virginia report

I have never liked electronic voting, it fails test not just of security but also of transparency. This is just another example of the risks we run if we risk the security of the ballot. If people cease to trust the ballot you are in very deep trouble.

Read more…

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