17 May 2010

Power corrupts

I can't shake the feeling that the LibDem party have sold their principles for a sniff of power? I suspect a sniff is all they will get. Maybe it's time to dust off the old 'Whig' nickname?

Recently a number of commentators have been going on about how the last Labour government have left the country £3bn in debt (actually it's more that bailing out the banks has left us in debt). Yesterday 'Blighty' ran "Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain" back to back, carting the 60 years from the end of World War Two to the early 21st Century. Something that became obvious seeing the episodes back to back like that is there there's a pattern. Each Tory government builds up a massive debt, coupled to a damaged industrial base, that the succeeding Labour government has to repay and rebuild. The Macmillan government left the country the equivalent of £11tn in debt for the Wilson government to repay.

10 May 2010

Tories won't offer Electoral reform

Andrew Pierce of the Tory PR departmentDaily Mail just said on BBC Breakfast that there is no way the Tories will offer real electoral reform. "Turkeys tend not to vote for Christmas", he said.

Personally I'd like to see a Lab-Lib-Others coalition (this 'Progressive Rainbow Alliance' people have been talking about) with three goals:

  • Get a process in place to get us out of this recession centered around improving productivity rather than cutting services.

  • Introduce electoral reform, I favour a form of Single Transferable Vote.

  • Call another election to be held within 18 months under the new system, so giving plenty of notice to parties and public and allowing plenty of time for people to learn how the new system works.

I do have two concerns about most of the Proportional Representation systems I've heard discussed. Firstly you vote for a party rather than an individual and you may find that you don't have an MP dedicated to your own area, someone that you can hold to account if they fail to deliver on their promises. Secondly (but linked to the first) any system based around party lists tends to favour party grandees and apparatchiks over radicals (this already happens to a degree with safe seats) and make individual MPs less likely to go against the party machine in defense or favour of their constituency.

Maybe something could be worked out with dividing the country into 10-12 regions of approximately equal population and the same number of seats. Require each party to set a list for each region with candidates appearing on one and only one list.

8 May 2010

Tell Nick what you think

Just called the Lib Dems on 0207 222 7999 to express my concerns at a potential coalition with the Tories. Got voice mail but was cut off mid-message.

I really do think that a coalition with the Tories right now would be an awful thing for the country.

It has recently been reported that Cameron may try to get around tradition and constitutional law to basically suspend the democratic process have himself declared ruler. Someone tried that before, it lead to one of the bloodiest wars this country has ever fought and the original perpetrator having his head cut off.

A funny thing happened in the queue at the polling station

My local polling station is at the school just around the corner, Golden Hillock school. I tend to vote in the morning (before the party stooges get organised so I don't get them following me into the polling booth, OK that only happened once but that was once too often). Usually it's just me and the people manning the polling station. This time there were a couple of women ahead of me so I waited. My wait was extended somewhat by one of the staff arguing with one of the voters, telling her that she could not vote for the party she wanted to vote for and must vote for another party.

I then picked up my ballot paper and voted for the candidates I wanted to vote for and left.

BTW, the reason the women in the polling station couldn't vote for the party she wanted to vote for was she wanted to vote for 'Respect' and they weren't standing. There are a lot of reasons not to vote for 'Respect' but that's probably the solidest.