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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How our system works

I wonder if our newspapers have a use any more.

The redtop tabloids are full of semi clad women, pages and pages of celebrity culture and garish headlines. To be fair the occasional good journo's story bares little resemblance to the headline.

At election time they ALL become rabidly partisan and instead of reporting the news they bias it totally to the point it is misleading.

To be fair some of the "quality" papers have some good journalism but you have to work hard to find it! When I was a lad there was quality investigative reporting in papers like the Mirror.

Let us take an example. Gordon Brown was unelected. Even supposedly educated people like Ian Hislop fall for this refrain so I can perhaps forgive the man/woman in the street for getting this wrong.

Firstly. We do not vote for a Prime Minister, no sorry we don't. What we do is vote for an MP, that's it. The MP may stand as a member of a party but that is also to a degree irrelevant. If on the Friday after the election the Conservatives had a majority it did not have to be David Cameron who was prive ministers if someone had mounted a challenge to be Conservative Leader and won then they would be legitimately prime minister. The Sun et al may not like that but that is how our system works.

Indeed party membership is to a degree irrelevant. If 326 members defect to form a new party they can do so.

I'm not saying this is right merely that it is how our system works.

We have often decried a Presedential system in this country and yet that is what the televised debates herald.

The sad thing is that in both 2010 and 1997 good MPs were lost (yes there are some whatever you read) not because the public thought they were doing a bad job but becuase they fancied the leader of the other party. Nowadays there are less maverick MP's becuase we vote purely for the leader and ignore the record of the MP. There are many MP's who keep their jobs becuase of this. In parts of the south east chinless wonders keep getting elected because their rosette is blue, and up North neaderthals get elected becuase their rosette is red. That's bonkers.

As it is we now have a coalition government who the press constantly say is unelected. GET THIS INTO YOUR HEADS WE VOTED FOR A SET OF MPS WHO HAVE NOW GOT TOGETHER AND FORMED A GOVERNMENT. THIS IS PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE.

Personally I have to applaud Cameron and Clegg for doing this. The world economy is a mess and we need stable government. They seem to have a semi sensible agenda going forward. This does not mean I necessarily agree with it just that I think they have done the right thing.

As John Redwood and Menzies Campbell both said last night parties are coalitions anyway. I suspect Ken Clarke (Tory) is more in tune with Lib-Dem policy on Europe than he is with his own parties.

I'm sure Cameron and Clegg have agendas and motives. Cameron's days would have been numbered if it didn't get the Tories in power and Clegg knew this was his one chance of getting a reform of the voting system.

Conservatives may hate the idea of this but the intelligent ones like John Redwood have twigged that you can't campaign for a rederendum over Europe and object to trusting the British people over electoral reform. Redwood knows that his friends in the press will campaign against it and so it is a risk worth taking.

Indeed I think all parties realise that some degree of reform is necessary. How can the 100,000 people on the isle of wight elect 1 MP and the 20,000 people on the western isles have 1 MP?

If we want elected to Prime Ministers that's fine by me but that isn't our system at present. We vote for MP's who represent us. GET OVER IT!


Anonymous said...

I'm not going to get all party political on you but whilst i can agree 1 MP on Isle of wight is unfair with western isles 20,00 - that doesn't take any accpount of the urban MP whose casework is much higher than some of the rural areas...I will send you a well argued case re this from Mary Honeyball MEP...when I can find the link - its from her blog...she is a down to earth straight talking London MEP who knows her onions..the Tory case for redistribution and less mps is a political gerrymandering of the worst kind - like Dame Shirley Porter and Westminster of old...but
on a non political stance - whoever serves the people in urban areas if that increases the size of pop will be an impossible task!

As to the Con dems - I wait and see ....some of the lib dems are very uncomfortable - as are some Torries...

one good thing from this is the rapid rise in Labours membership during the election March -May and since!
people who left due to "issues" and Lib dems who are joining...

Best result this last Election?
Barking and Dagenham and the demise of the BNP. I hear the Leader of BNP will go - in 3 years time - well beaten - peeps must work on the Euro elections to rid that Parliament of them next time!

Pete said...

i'm sorry but saying an urban MP has more casework is missing the point.

The basic concept of our democracy is that each vote is equal. and yet it isn't.

I do not see why my vote should be worth more or less than anyone elses.

I don't think you can call it Jerrymandering. At present the system is skewed to benefit Labour. The BBC had a seat predictor based on % of vote. If all 3 seats had got 33.3% Labour would have about 280 seats tories 240 and Lib Dems about 85. And that is fair???

less mps? I don't know I agree with that (although the US manage to have less reps with five times the population). I just know that the current system is totally not fair.

I'm not saying the coalition will work merely that Clegg had no choice. I wonder if many of those objecting just prefer being in opposition.

your essential argument around casework to me holds no water.

ok so urban constituencies typically have a higher percentage of poorer people on benefits. they'll have more problems re language education etc. that doesn't mean their vote is worth more than a public schoool educated tory boy living it up in Surbiton.

We struggled to make everyone have the same democratic rights and that's what I want.

I won't comment on the B&D result for obvious reasons. I would ask you to check out if the number of votes they received fell or might it have something to do with turnout!