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Monday, 29 August 2016

Labour's corrupt whine cuts no mustard

Electoral probity, universal suffrage and the secret ballot are the three keystones of a stable democracy. Labour, in an astonishing display of party interest above national interest, support the corruption of all three legs of our democratic stool in ways that unfairly favour Labour.  

Electoral probity is only gradually being restored after long neglect by all parties and determined efforts by Blair / Brown to undermine the democratic process. As Michaeel Pinto-Dischinsky commented, we have 3m on the electoral roll who shouldn't be and we had 3m missing who should be. Individual voter registration is weeding out the double and false registrations, and the recent referendum has brought in 2m of the missing 3m. Good enough. 

Second, we have an Electoral Quotient that is way beyond the basic +/- 5% envelope required for a fair electoral system, and in comparison to the +/- 3% achieved by advanced democracies such as New Zealand it makes the UK literally third-world in EQ standards. This necessary change needs no debate, and the pained whine coming from Labour at the prospects of losing more underpopulated seats than the Tories is simply contemptible. 

The fair issue for debate is what the EQ should be - and how many MPs the Commons should have. My own view is that Cameron's proposed reduction to 600 giving an EQ of 71,031-78,507 voters per seat is about right - given that the long-term trend is for devolution, localism and a reduction in the scope of the national Parliament to matters of national importance. As devolution gathers pace, this number should be reviewed and may need to fall further. 

Labour's point that the proposals are based on the 2015 electoral registers, disregarding the 2m new registrations this year, are short-sighted, and Theresa May could make things even more painful for Labour by including them. The new 2m are largely in constituencies in cities and urban SE areas and will only lose Labour more seats in the de-populated outer zones. The 2015 election was based on electoral lists that included 7m suspect registrations - which were due to be removed by 2016*, losing up to 10% of electors in some Labour inner-city constituencies. So by all means base the EQ on the very latest electoral lists available - Labour will only suffer more. The population drift from Wales, the NE and other stagnant areas of the UK to London and the South-East - from traditional Labour areas to Tory areas - is continuing and will continue. 

Labour's whining about changes that strengthen and regulate Britain's democratic systems simply shows that the party is acting now wholly in its own interest and with no regard to the good of the British people.

* But evidently weren't - Voter figures are 46.4m in 2012, 44.7m in Dec 2015 and 46.5m for the referendum. We must await the Boundary Commission report for greater clarity. 


DeeDee99 said...

This is still just attempting to make an unfair system slightly fairer.

FPTP delivered the SNP 56 MPs on the basis of 1.5 million votes; and UKIP one MP for 4 million votes.

If a system of PR can be used in the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, it can also be used in the National one in Westminster.

The argument that an MP represents his local constituents is no longer valid. The vast majority of MPs represent their Party and, as the EU Referendum highlighted, they ignore the wishes of their constituents.

Barnacle Bill said...

Constituency ability to re-call/de-select it's MP during the parliamentary cycle is another requirement on the list of electoral reforms we must see delievered by Theresa May.

Presently our MPs know they are only answerable to us at a general election. When many sins committed during the time between GEs are often forgotten by voters. Or shoved back into the closet by the offending MP.

They may work for us, so they should also be answerable to us during their tenure.

Anonymous said...

Barnacle Bill - I suppose I'd support recall of an MP if a majority of electors in their constituency* asked for it: smaller numbers would just open them up to irritating distraction.

DeeDee99: where were you when the idea was comprehensively discarded? Sure, it doesn't seem fair That UKIP's 4m votes seem to be discarded, and SNPs 1.5m over=valued reflects the gob on that Scottish Dwarf and the historic distortion of the electoral system that has given Scots more of a voice than they deserve.

*Or maybe the number of votes they obtained, plus 1

Ed P said...

I applaud attempts to reduce the electoral corruption Blair/Brown encouraged. Their despicable method, "Wear a niqab, vote early & vote often" must be dealt with by robust systems to ensure no-one can vote more than once. (Inner city stories of black-clad women voting and then rejoining the back of the queue are all too true.)

Perhaps the UK could ask a ountry with a less-corrupt voting system, such as Nigeria, to oversee our next election?

Budgie said...

Raedwald, All the reforms you mention are needed. However the concept of "representative" democracy was needed when communications, and even wealth, were such that direct democracy was precluded.

Now I believe that, like some states already do (Switzerland and California), we have the possibility of conducting referendums on other issues than Brexit. It is not just Labour who are an entrenched fixture of the establishment, all the politicians and top civil servants are. They need a shake up, and I don't mean by bad tempered Trot Corbyn and his Venezuela vision for the UK.

John M said...

Labour's rants are merely comedy pages during the parliamentary holidays. The combined rantings of Comrade Corbyn, plus those second rate clowns Owen Smith and John McDonnell are completely irrelevant because these morons are ensuring that Labour will be lucky to win 150 seats at the next general election.

It beggars belief that Smith, with his demands to reverse the Brexit vote, and McDonnell, with his pathetic attempts to bully Richard Branson, are taken seriously even by the hate filled single-IQ morons who comprise Momentum.

Ian R Thorpe said...

The reforms suggested are all needed, also possibly the proposal that always causes such controversy across the pond, to require photo id from voters. The old voting card did a good job for us for many decades, but things have changed in British society.
The change I have been suggesting for a long time however is the abolition of party whips. Ending the bullying and threats that force MPs to vote in for the party and thus the vested intersts that fund it, and allowing them to vot in the interests of their constituents would go a long way towards restoring trust.

Anonymous said...

In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England - George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)


John Brown said...

We also need to see :

An end to the (mis-) use of postal voting except under exceptional and proven circumstances.

The use of ID at the polling stations to prove identity and eliminate multiple voting.

AV used instead of either FPTP or proportional representation (although proportional representation would be very good for the HOL with its members selected by their parties)

Deselection/recall of MPs during a Parliamentary cycle if a high proportion of the constituency sign a petition to request such an action.