Outside the marginals

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

Archive for the category “Voting Reform”

Who will provide the next opposition?

A while ago whilst feeling frustrated watching a usually unedifying episode of Question Time I tweeted a poll asking:

Who will provide next opposition

Now a few self-selected votes is about as far from a representative sample as you can get and the response possibly indicates that SNP supporters watching Question Time are more likely to click on polls! However  Read more…

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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…

Red White & Blue – or “Dinner means Dinner”

People talk about the sort of Brexit that there is going to be – is it hard or soft, is it grey or white. Actually we want a red, white and blue Brexit: that is the right Brexit for the UK, the right deal for the UK.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, quoted on BBC News Website, 6 December 2016 | Theresa May: We want a red, white and blue Brexit

Red as in bloody, white as in the eventual surrender and blue as in the party who will ensure that it gains the most? Is Red White and Blue Brexit any closer to reality than “Brexit means Brexit”?

Read more…

Will Democracy ever work for me?

Yes, I mean me personally. I got the vote in the mid 1970’s and democracy has never worked for me (talking UK). My vote has never made a difference and I have always been told that I must accept the “democratic will of the people”.

So I have, over and over and over again. 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…

Post “The Day” Reflections

Ok, I think it’s a disaster and I am livid at what I see as the way both campaigns – but particularly Leave’s – were run. (Remain was inept, but Leave at times seemed deliberately devious.) If I had been active in the campaign I would also be feeling sore.
But the deed is done and we have to accept the result even if we can’t respect it. But there are a number of issues that bear closer examination.

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…

Laziness and Populism

There is a strand in British politics – probably much approved of by the Pub Landlord – that says that by resorting to simplistic slogans, that have just a germ of truth to them, you can attract much approval and support.

Our Prime Minster seems to be especially good at this; I hope it is a character flaw rather than as a result of his expensive education.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Cameron said the push on language was “about building a more integrated, cohesive, one nation country where there’s genuine opportunity for people”.

He also said that while he accepted there was no “causal connection” between poor English and extremism, a better grasp would make communities “more resilient” to threats of radicalisation from so-called Islamic State – or Daesh.

“If you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh,” he said.

Lady Warsi – who was the first female Muslim cabinet minister – welcomed the new money for language teaching, but said: “This lazy and misguided linking, and what I saw once again as stereotyping of British Muslim communities, I felt took away from what was a positive announcement.”
BBC News Website, 18 January 2016 : David Cameron’s Muslim women policy ‘lazy and misguided’

We need to be more (academically) critical of some of these pronouncements. Read more…

Yet another faction

A letter in today’s Guardian says:

On Thursday we launch Open Labour, a forum bringing together activists to build a Labour left which is committed to a better quality of debate and political culture within Labour, while focusing on the question of how to win power. … Now is the time for those who believe in equality, democracy, solidarity and the emancipating power of the left to come together. Open Labour believes that there must be a place within Labour to debate and shape these values in a respectful way, free from the divisive and intolerant voices that have come to dominate Labour debate, especially on social media. …
The Guardian, 10 December 2015 : Time to unite Labour’s democratic left

This isn’t a broad church it’s a smorgasbord of churches! What do we have? Read more…

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