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Friday 4 January 2019

Reform and Renewal - Voting

This is the section of the Power Inquiry that gives me the greatest problems. In the 2015 GE, UKIP came in third, with 3.89m votes, 12.6% of the votes cast, and won not a single seat. The injustice of this was felt not only by the millions who had voted for the party - including me - but many non-voters and supporters of other parties. It seemed an incredible outcome to those in other nations, but was just one of the anomalies of the First Past the Post system in the UK. However, the shock of that 2015 result catalysed Cameron into enabling the 2016 referendum - so UKIP actually won it for us, after all.

And it's not as if the voters of Britain didn't have a chance to change it; a referendum in 2011 proposed going over to an Alternative Vote system. It was defeated 68% to 32%. And coincidentally also has its own 'Remainer' movement in the Electoral Reform Society; the majority against AV in 2011 didn't dent their commitment one iota, and they campaign today as though the vote had never happened. 

Recommendation 12 was about a change to a Single Transferable Vote system, and was overtaken by this poll seven years after Power was published. 

Recommendation 13 would prevent national parties from parachuting candidates into constituencies to receive safe party-based votes - and thus would reduce central Party power and increase local power. Why wouldn't we support it?

Recommendation 15 is an early example of virtue-signalling. Yes, we can all agree that the Commons should better reflect our wider society; cohorts of chums from the top public schools, of men and women who have never had a real job other than politics in their lives, of self-selecting self-servers and narcissists who want to be MPs for what it can gain them are all shiny arses we would want reduced as far as possible from the Commons chamber. But more important than colour or gender (silly, superficial and irrelevant characteristics) we should encourage more men and women of virtue, humility, talent, altruism, passion and ability to enter parliament. These are the qualities most obviously lacking in the present make-up. 

Recommendation 16 is about reducing voter age. Its effect would be to create a more credulous voter base, one less capable of balanced judgement and one more likely to be swayed by unicorn promises. Why would we want to do that?

Finally, since the report was published in 2004, we have made great strides in clearing-up a corrupt and third-world standard voter registry. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky estimated that before the changes, there were 3m on the electoral rolls who should not have been there and 3m missing who should have been. IVR and stricter controls for postal voter identity, together with voter ID at elections, should be very effective in restoring the probity of the national electoral register to first-world standards. We should do nothing that would degrade the probity of the register.     

Recommendation 12: A responsive electoral system should be introduced for elections to the House of Commons, House of Lords and local councils in England and Wales.
Recommendation 13: The closed list system to have no place in modern elections.

Recommendation 14: The system whereby candidates have to pay a deposit which is lost if their votes fall below a certain threshold should be replaced with a system where the candidate has to
collect the signatures of a set number of supporters in order to appear on the ballot paper.

Recommendation 15: The Electoral Commission should take a more active role in promoting candidacy so that more women, people from black and minority ethnic communities, people on
lower incomes, young people and independents are encouraged to stand.

Recommendation 16: Voting and candidacy age should be reduced to sixteen (with the exception of candidacy for the House of Lords).
Recommendation 17: The introduction of automatic, individual voter registration at age sixteen. This can be done in tandem with the allocation of National Insurance numbers.
Recommendation 18: The citizenship curriculum should be shorter, more practical and result in a qualification.


DeeDee99 said...

I rejected AV in the Referendum because it was intended to entrench the power of the Big 2 (4, if you count the LibDems and the SNP). The smaller/insurgent parties, like UKIP would have been wiped out in the first or second rounds of counting and their votes most probably transferred to one of the Big 2 - thus cementing their power and perpetuating the illusion that they were "broad church parties" whose policies encompassed those of every right/left-leaning voter. The new 50% winner threshold ensured that no smaller party would EVER win a seat. At least under FPTP, there was a hope that UKIP could break through in one or two seats .... And they would have done, if the CONs hadn't cheated.

Instead of tinkering with the existing set-up in Westminster, I want our whole Devolution settlement reviewed: a Federal UK, giving the member nations more autonomy; an English Parliament to redress the democratic deficit in my country and the Lords turned into the Federal UK's Senate. A system similar to the USA. In a federal UK, the Scots would no longer be the tail continually wagging the English dog in ENGLAND.

Legally, 16 yr olds are children and children, by definition, are not considered old enough to make important decisions and run their own lives. So why on earth should they be allowed to vote. No.

And the qualifications for someone to stand for Parliament should be strengthened. They should have a minimum period of 10 years employment experience gained in the private or public sector or Armed Services - say 10 years. That would mean someone who got a PPE Degree from Oxford would be around 33 before they could enter Parliament - ending the Public School/Oxbridge/SpAd/Safe Seat route - whilst a skilled apprentice would become eligible at around age 28.

Stephen J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen J said...

As Jack pointed out in his comment at the end of yesterday's article, the problem with localism is the corruption that could (and does) result from local people washing each others hands. I would also accept that this would also be a concern for local citizen initiated binding referendums, although slightly less so.

Even so, most of what I have read from Raedwald's re-reading of the Power Inquiry merely re-iterates how many more flaws are inherent in the representational system of democracy.

We have the corruption, we have the old school ties, we have the misrepresentations caused by choosing one version of PR over another, or the abjectly unfair FPTP system, we have the iniquities caused by the ability of a given leader to call an election at whim, which is not improved by the Clegg/Cameron stitch up. We have the professional politician, with no experience of anything but classroom theory. We have the cosy relationship between the bureaucrats and their masters, the politicians, who in reality are the junior partner, because they come and go.

We have introduced digital technology to virtually every area of human activity during the last twenty or so years, so why not for the way we manage our civic affairs?

There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

Contrary to the views of many remainer politicians, we did discuss every aspect of our membership of what have become the EU treaties and what they have done to our ancient system of democracy, and then we made the binary decision...

There were only 10 choices after all...

And we chose one of the "leave" options.

Anonymous said...

The Yellow Jackets are now demanding the end of Oligarchic rule of France and replaced with Direct Democracy ala Swiss. A similar situation is boiling in Germany, where Merkel has saddled the German people with insoluble problems.

Of course the Oligarchy in Paris and Brussels is going to resist, with force if necessary. As the police cannot be relied on in such circumstances, an EU army needs be formed.


Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Government of any society of more than 100 people may be called monarchy, dictatorship or democracy, but will in practice be oligarchy.
What is the advantage of democracy? It is not to make the government do what I wish. It is to prevent ministers attaching electrodes to my genitals. If ministers may lose power in a year or so, lose the chauffered car and the bodyguards, have no more power than you or me, may be called to account, then ministers will fear to cross some lines.
In more comfortable societies like ours at present the choice is less extreme. Not so much the use of electrodes as comfortable and profitable collusion with local interests, often to the general good. Understandings with developers or, in some cases, mafias. Turning a blind eye.
First-past-the-post is a ridiculous system and so are the various forms of proportional representation. Under the former, we often clear out the stables. Ministers lose their cars and privilege. Good service goes unrewarded. Under the latter, ministers often remain, but shuffle their bottoms to different seats around the cabinet table. Each party retains its share of power, of irritation, according to its number of votes. Very democratic, and the ministers are safe to pursue their interests.
FPTP is unjust and peremptory. It calls ministers to account. PR does not.
FPTP is dangerous; as Menken said it is the idea that the people decide what they want and deserve to get it – good and hard. Given the present opposition party's condition, that is frightening. PR lets us keep a hold on nurse for fear of finding something worse.
Take a good look at nurse. Can you even see her? How many ministers can you name? Our present state is no advertisement for FPTP. But we can dismiss them – or could if there were a decent alternative as there has been for most of my life. Under PR we could not.

Peter MacFarlane said...

"10 years employment experience gained in the private or public sector or Armed Services"

Including "public sector" in that list simply re-enables the parasites/fake charities/corrupt quangoes/BBC etc etc.

10 years employment in a business which contributes more to the tax base than it takes out, would be acceptable. Even the armed forces are a bit suspect these days, given that entry is now at least partly determined on social engineering and identity politics grounds.

jack ketch said...

I would make the case that the voting age should be raised to 21 (again?). *looks around* ok, maybe 31 might be a better move.

Domo said...

The only way I can see to break the Electoral stranglehold is single votes, and multi member constituencies.

Imagine Greater Manchester.
Let's say it has 30 MPs.
As now, everyone goes to the polling station and casts their one vote, for one named MP.
Unlike now, the 30 highest voted MPs win seats.

It would allow small parties to run one candidate with a fair chance of winning, and neuter the "block vote", in that if 1 million people voted Adam Aaiton, Labour, thats just 1 MP.

Clever people could run "east Manchester" labour ect, but there is no compulsion to vote for them, east nanchManch residents could still vote for west Manchester labour candidates ect.

Etu said...

Yes, let's have a Proportional EU Exit.

Let's do everything in the ratio of 52:48. Like, a passport that's two-coloured, and special queues at the airports, where you're subject to only 52% of the delay of non-EU travellers.


jack ketch said...

Problem with making the vote 'fairer'-however you do it , it not only means the parties you like finally get seats but also the ones you don't. One only has to look at the German history of the Greens ,or the Pirate Party or the AfD. How many Green MPs do we have in the yUK? 0.5? Do the Pirate Party UK still exist even? How about parties campaigning for the introduction of Shariah law ? Fringe group of frothy mouthers one day and seats in Parliament the next.

The British way of doing things may not be very good at getting people 'in' but it sure as hell does a sterling job at keeping the nutjobs out.

Etu said...

"No taxation without representation" someone once said, and quite rightly, the idea did seem to catch on.

So why were millions of our fellow, modern, enlightened Europeans, paying tax here, denied a vote in the referendum then?

Raedwald said...

I had lunch in Paris the other day, and paid tax there. Why shouldn't I be able to vote for the Mayor of Paris?

Stephen J said...

I forgot to mention in my first comment, something which I also like the idea of...

Trump's policy of removing two regulations in exchange for each new regulation.

That would fit in neatly with the ideas of Cowperthwaite. Each new regulation costs money to implement, so if you want a new one, you have to pay for it and a bit more by getting rid of a couple of old ones.

This would add a really neat dynamic to citizen initiated direct democracy.

Etu said...

Trump said that he might cut federal funding to California, on account of their forestry, which he blamed for the wildfires, even though everyone else suggested that the extreme weather conditions were more to blame.

However, he did not also threaten to cut it to Florida, owing to their apparent hurricane unpreparedness.

Now, why do we think that might be?

Thanks for the latest Straw Man too, Raedwald. You do not have to pay tax on your income to France. If you did, then I would say that you should have a vote.

Dave_G said...

Politics and politicians are 'ruined' by their distractions, commitments and, dare I say it, personal gain. Remove all such temptations and enforce strict punishment for transgression.

Pay them £250,000 a year, disconnect them from all business associates and lobbyists, make them personally and financially responsible for their actions and let the face the same benefits and punishments everyone else has to in their job.

Central (London) accommodation in a block of flats, free transport, assigned assistants etc.

They should receive no more than any mid level business man including a bonus - assuming they earned it. They should also get the same 'punishment' on failure or poor performance including public demotion/sacking.

Their remit should be specific and have targets (related to increased productivity and/or cost savings etc) and they must ALL be subject to recall on delivery of sufficient votes by their constituents.

I'm being too specific here but you get the drift.

Dave_G said...

Etu - California's own Forestry Commission agreed with Trumps assessment that funds were diverted from forest ground cover clearance that directly contributed to the fires ferocity. Why should Trump (the Government) pay funds towards fire prevention when it's spent on 'alternative' (allegedly) anti-Government policies?

....and to then claim Rad's response was 'straw man'..............

Raedwald said...

Yes, silly me. I thought it was 'no taxation without representation' not 'no PAYE paid by non-British citizens without representation'

And of course we' have to let everyone else in the UK vote as well - 777k Indians, 219k South Africans, 212k Americans, 183k Chinese, 136k Australians, 173k Jamaicans ....

Etu said...

If they have a right to residence, are eligible for tax, then according to the values fought for in the English Civil War, yes. Why not?

Read the 1689 Bill Of Rights.

I thought that you right-wingers claimed to be libertarians? How does that chime in with removing the liberty, of 66 million people, to live, work, play, study, retire, and be treated as an equal, in twenty-seven of the world's most civilised countries then?

Dave_G said...

How does that chime in with removing the liberty, of 66 million people, to live, work, play, study, retire, and be treated as an equal, in twenty-seven of the world's most civilised countries then?

In what way? People can work, play, study and retire any damned where they wish - provided they meet with the local requirements (laws, taxes etc). They could pre- the EU, they can do so post- the EU.

The only thing that changes is that we get to stop anyone we deem 'unacceptable' from entering. Got a problem with that?

jack ketch said...

we get to stop anyone we deem 'unacceptable' from entering.-Dave G

Dream on. If I recall rightly Ed Spalton has written about this in exhaustive detail.

Etu said...

Just remind us of the ukip share of the vote in 2017?

1.8%, wasn't it?

No, UK people will not be treated as equals in EU countries after it leaves, re healthcare, benefits entitlements etc. right to work and to attend educational institutions, just for starters.

Most of the people whom you deem "unacceptable", or their forebears, come from the ex-British Empire though don't they?

Those who took 55 fine lives on LT in 2007 were born here, and at school in Dewsbury, Sparkbrook and Luton before Blair was even PM too. They were British, not from the EU.

What difference does your lifetime's triumph make to that?

Raedwald said...

Etu, you're arguing with emotion in grief at your sense of entitlement having been offended; your *rights* to stuff is being curtailed, you think. But you're mistaken.

The EU doesn't give you free healthcare. It just allows you to continue to enjoy the free healthcare the UK provides, and then recharges the UK for the treatment you receive. And in many cases this ceases when UK citizens become residents.

Membership of the EU doesn't allow travel. We were travelling abroad long before the EU without visas, and will continue to do so in the future.

Again, entitlement to local benefits, where they exist, is not something exclusive to the EU, but the cost of paying UK benefits to EU citizens is a strain on British taxpayers; a school cleaner on minimum wage in London is paying for the Child benefit enjoyed by thousands of mums in Poland.

To be frank, I've often heard your rather selfish and self-centred whine from young Brits, mainly privileged and educated young Brits, those with a huge sense of entitlement, who see Brexit solely in terms of curtailing their free stuff. UK taxpayers paid through the nose for all those Erasmus jollies, all those Uni schemes, those EU paid-for railcards. £10 billion a year.

After Brexit you can still travel, work, reside, retire and whatever in Europe just as before. Just not at the poor taxpayer's cost. So what's wrong with personal responsiblity?

DeeDee99 said...

@Jack Ketch. "The British way of doing things may not be very good at getting people 'in' but it sure as hell does a sterling job at keeping the nutjobs out."

Does it? Taken a long hard look at the make-up of Parliament recently. Plenty of nut-jobs sitting there - particularly on the Labour benches at the moment - and effectively irremovable.

jack ketch said...

Plenty of nut-jobs sitting there - particularly on the Labour benches at the moment-DeeDee


Etu said...

The EU is the most enlightened, civilised project that this brutal, tragic, blood-drenched planet has ever seen.

Yes, the English are historically a warfaring nation, like many others.

Perhaps seeing twenty-eight nations living together in friendship threatens the identity of some.

I am glad that I am not one of them.

Incidentally, I came with nothing, from a very modest family, but am now comfortable, of independent means, and by my efforts alone.

Anon 2 said...

Et tu Brute.

Raedwald said...

Et tu

Yes, chaining the continents two most bloody nations, France and Germany, together is something we need to maintain for Europe's security. Both had done nothing but foment war, horror, conquest, death and destruction for two centuries before we chained them together.

Britsin, on the other hand, has never wanted to invade, conquer, occupy or possess any part of Europe. We are a peaceable people content to dwell on our islands independently and trade with every other nation on earth in peace and harmony.

We have had to resort to warfare - at which we are good, having resisted conquest by both the French and Germans for a thousand years - when we are threatened, bombed, our ships attacked, usually by the French or Germans, but both the Spanish and Dutch have attacked us in the past. And failed.

And the EU is the most antidemocratic, authoritarian, repressive, unscrupulous, expansionist and brutal hegemony in history - all of which it has proven, first in the subjugation of Greece, second with its attempts to foment war in Britain. We now know the EU's real character - and it is brutal and wholly antithetical to all we hold dear in these islands.

We can't leave soon enough.

jack ketch said...

Britsin, on the other hand, has never wanted to invade, conquer, occupy or possess any part of Europe


Hmm those three lions on your rugby shirt mean what? Burghers of Calais?

Raedwald said...

Leopards. They're Leopards. Really.

And the sovereign is still today the Duke of Normandy, though the Duchy has shrunk to just the Channel Islands. We held Calais and other French posessions until the 16th Century by virtue of the historic claims of William the Conqueror. We didn't invade them, though we had to chastise them from time to time ...

I remember on a booze run to Calais a London chum saw the Rodin group next to the Marie there - and until then he was familiar only with the same sculpture next to St Stephen's tower on the Embankment. 'They've copied our statue!' he exclaimed

Dave_G said...

Etu said Most of the people whom you deem "unacceptable", or their forebears, come from the ex-British Empire though don't they?

A typical ignorant reasoning from someone corrupted by leftist thought processing.

The 'unacceptable' can come from anywhere. Criminals, kiddy-fiddlers, terrorists, anyone that comes here thinking they can abide by 'their rules' rather than ours etc. This isn't race-specific, this is individual-specific and applies to EVERYONE, without favor.

Radders dismantles the remainder of your argument very succinctly and his description of the EU is precisely what those that voted Leave see in the EU and made that decision so easy.

The EU is the most enlightened, civilised project that this brutal, tragic, blood-drenched planet has ever seen.

And so was the start of Communism - equality for all! Look how that turned out and try to see the (obvious) parallels the EU show.

jack ketch said...

'They've copied our statue!' he exclaimed -Raed


"We held Calais and other French possessions until the 16th Century" (Really? That long? God knows why.), "wanted to invade, conquer, occupy or possess any part of Europe" but to be honest I was just pointing out that England wasn't quite the paragon of historical virtue you were making out. Take Northern Ireland for example.

Etu said...

France and Germany are probably not the world's bloodiest nations.

Harvard University estimates that the British Empire, during its centuries, caused 1.6 billion - yes, billion - excess deaths.

That's what our overseas aid is about - blood money.

It makes WWII seem a breeze by comparison, doesn't it?

My point about the 07/07 bombers was that Blair did NOT "let 'em in", incidentally. They were born here years before he took office.

Raedwald said...

Not more of your spurious figures Etu - I've had to demolish every one of your numerical claims so far. OK then, where does your latest false claim come from?

Etu said...

Caroline Elkins and Chalmers Johnson amongst others. He cites "a thousand-and-a-half million" deaths, rather than Harvard's 1.6 billion, however.

But what's a hundred million dead between flag-wavers eh?

But whatever, I don't think that the Mau Mau - who won their case - would describe this country as historically peaceable somehow. Do you?

And what do peer-reviewed professors of history know, compared to that guy smoking and spitting outside BetFred of a Wednesday afternoon anyway?

Raedwald said...

Etu, you have zero credibility.

Elkins wrote a book on the Mau-Mau rebellion - estimate 12,000 dead, black and white

Johnson has written alsmost exclusively on what he calls 'the American Empire'

You are so full of bullshit, falsity, fantasy, mendacity and self delusion that there could be no finer example to represent the same qualities exhibited by the EU.

If you had any evidence to back your lies, you would know how to quote it - I've schooled you thoroughly in the previous post as to how to reference supporting evidence.

Away with you, wankpuffin.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch said: "Hmm those three lions on your rugby shirt mean what? Burghers of Calais?"

There is a common view - held most strongly by Hollywood film makers - that England's first attempt at Empire was conquering bits of the continent.

That such a travesty is an inversion of the truth passes them by. England was conquered by the Norman-French. Normandy, and land subsequently accreted by the Norman kings of England marrying French wives, was never "English", it was just property owned by the same people who owned England.

Norman kings and barons did indeed use English peasants as cannon-fodder as they attempted to hold or expand their continental possessions. The English language was not officially re-instated for 200 years (Statute of Pleading, 1362), and Norman-French was still used up to the C16th.

Calais was lost to the kings that owned England in 1558.

Budgie said...

Oops, 300 years . . .

jack ketch said...

it was just property owned by the same people who owned England

In other words it was 'possessed', which according to Raed 'England' has never desired to do. We fought a century long war about keeping those bits of supposedly unwanted French Real Estate or who got which bits of France.

Stephen J said...

Whilst I criticise Dr. North on a regular basis, he and Christopher Booker did write a good history of the EU... "The Great Deception".

At the beginning of the book they cite the seeds of the EU as having been sown by the founders of the USSR, civil servants at the League of Nations (Monnet and Salter) were so impressed by the "achievements" at uniting the nations that comprised the USSR by Lenin and Stalin, that they thought that they would emulate that in western Europe.

The major difference between the former ad the latter was that the USSR had already been an absolute monarchy, whilst the latter had been making attempts at empire building and continuously failing with much consequent bloodshed. So they decided that their plan should be executed by stealth rather than brute force. The final outcome would be the same though, with a politburo and five and ten year plans etc.. all controlled from the centre.

So they drew up a plan, and although that plan seems to be falling apart, well... maybe fraying at the edges a bit, so far, the development of "the Project" has followed the plan almost implicitly since 1923, when Salter finalised it.

Raedwald said...

Jack - fair point. I concede.

But for the past four centuries we've been very well behaved. Unlike the French and Germans.

jack ketch said...

But for the past four centuries we've been very well behaved. Unlike the French and Germans.

We've been reasonably well behaved in regards to Europe and pretty appalling just about everywhere else (although not as appalling perhaps as the French/Belgian and Germany Colonialists)-which I think was the somewhat valid point Etu was trying to make.

Whether or not the Dutch successfully invaded us is one those questions that sane people leave to historians to debate (I seem to recall there is documentary evidence that armed Dutch soldiers were patrolling the streets of our fair capital, soiling its fabled golden pavements with their dirty clogs). Also your contention that "We have had to resort to warfare - when we are threatened, bombed, our ships attacked" ...did the Kaiser threaten to invade us in 1918? Were we forced to declare war on Nazi Germany because WE were under attack? (Two examples perhaps of that glorious British trait of doing the right thing for totally the wrong reasons).

Raedwald said...

Disagree jack.

The colonial period barely lasted 90 years from 1870 to 1960, and only happened when we had (a) Quinine prophylaxis (b) steam gunboats and (c) breech loading rifles. We were generally more eager to baptise our new subjects than to kill them. I'll need to reference it, but prior to that our casualties from disease often outnumbered the number of natives we killed. It wasn't high intensity warfare, it was low level attrition and utterly insignificant in comparison to the death and destruction that firstly Napoleon, then the Prussians brought to Europe.

And yes, we fought both first and second wars as defensive reactions to German hostile intent.

And no, the Dutch never invaded. They may have landed a few soldiers, but that's not invasion, is it?

jack ketch said...

Disagree jack. -Raed

natürlich :) and natürlich I also disagree with much you wrote in your reply but I see no reason to take this thread further off topic.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch said: "In other words it was 'possessed', which according to Raed 'England' has never desired to do".

But not possessed by "England". Because the conquest was the other way. England was just one among many of the possessions of the foreign kings, dukes and barons who had acquired England by invasion as a cash cow.

For example: Richard "Coeur-de-Lion" (names a bit of a giveaway), died 1199, probably couldn't speak English and apparently would have sold England if he could have found a buyer.

Claiming that "England" possessed cities, land, dukedoms, etc, on the continent is as absurd as claiming Greece possessed Gaul simply because the Romans had conquered both.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"However, the shock of that 2015 result catalysed Cameron into enabling the 2016 referendum - so UKIP actually won it for us, after all"

I have pointed this out many a time. Although the Greens and UKIP are an electoral failure under FPTP, if enough people vote for them, it nudges the big two parties in the chosen direction.