Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “Parliamentary Democracy”

Parliament and “The Will of The People”

Since the referendum the Government (or the hard Brexit elements of it) have found a new “respect” for “The Will of The People”. A respect so strong that they seem to be completely enslaved to it – provided of course that the “Will” in question is the Will expressed on 23rd June 2016.

It raises some interesting questions about The Primacy of the House of Commons. Read more…

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Referenda as a decision making process

It’s not that I don’t think “we” should not be in charge of our destiny but, a week in to the EU Referendum campaign, I am really wondering if referenda are a good way to decide key decisions.

But with 16 weeks to go I can’t see things improving. 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…

BBC Bias? “Legitimacy”

The BBC is making much of what they are calling the struggle for legitimacy. By this they imply that the biggest minority in the new parliament is by default the “legitimate government”. Whilst the bulletins are pushing this line Nick Robinson is a bit more nuanced:

So, what is obsessing politicians of all parties behind-the-scenes is the debate about what a legitimate government would look like.

You might think that’s simple – one led by the winning party – but think again. In politics things aren’t nearly so neat and simple as that. …

So, what are the competing arguments?

1. A legitimate government is led by the party which “wins” – ie wins the most MPs and votes …

2. A legitimate government is one supported by a majority of MPs (of whatever party) …

3. A legitimate government must be backed by all parts of the UK
BBC News Website 5 May 2015 : Election 2015: And the winner is? Er…

This is so muddled-headed. Read more…

Ruling out partners

Will you rule out a coalition with?

Will you rule out any formal agreement with?

Will you rule out any agreement with?

These questions come from the politicians, the dimblebariat and members of the public (presumably learning from their elders if not their betters)

These questions should be banned. I know, what about “free speech”, but … Read more…

Union Barons and Government by Consent

I have mixed feelings about our “Union Barons”:

The head of the Unite union has said he will not “respect” any law passed by a future Conservative government tightening the rules on strike ballots.
BBC News Website 20 March 2015 : Unite boss McCluskey warns over strike ballot changes

But then I have less mixed feelings about our Prime Minister’s more blatant agenda:

David Cameron has said strikes should not be lawful unless a minimum number of union members vote in a ballot.

Plans for a “turnout threshold” will be in the party’s election manifesto.

But Unite boss Len McCluskey said this would “oppress the people and remove their freedoms”. He added: “Can we respect it? It ain’t going to happen.”
ibid

There is a problem, but I do not agree with the Prime Minister’s prescription. I don’t like McCluskey’s response – but I can’t see an alternative. Read more…

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