Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A speech about a vote on a referendum about voting reform for elections...

Torygeddon is looming, as New Labour continues its deserved inexorable slide towards defeat...
...deploying my impressive gifts of foresight augmented with simultaneous hindsight I feel pretty confident that's how things will shake down over the next few months. It's not a pretty prediction, and like many commentators I am torn between a natural suspicion of the stench of privilege and patronage that permeates the Conservative party and a solid conviction that the failed New Labour experiment has to be stopped, dead in the water, as soon as possible; for the sake of our ragged and torn country.

Despite the looming head shot of electoral defeat, the one that will finally dispatch him to wherever the undead rest, Gordon Brown continues to stumble blindly (well perhaps just lacking depth perception) zombie like onwards; undeterred by putrefaction and disintegration he makes like it's "business as usual" in post apocalyptic "New Britain's Labour" - or wherever the fuck he thinks it is.

His speech at the ippr today will no doubt centre on a great new idea to ensure a glorious Labour future - electoral reform.  It appears Mr Brown's intention is to rush through a preference voting system and a clamp down on non-UK taxpayers sitting in parliament.  Whether a transferable preference voting system will benefit Labour long term is anybody's guess, although it is likely to divide his already fragmented party in the run up to the election.  However the non-dom reforms will certainly punish the Conservatives in the short term, a cynical move that can be guaranteed universal approval, playing well to the anti-toff sentiments of traditional Labourighteous.

It appears to me that Labour are increasingly desperate to refresh their image in the run up to the election - this 'vote on a referendum on voting reform' is nothing more than a pointless attempt to play the "Labour's still working" card, despite the very opposite being considerably closer to the truth.

From memory no mention of these reforms were made in either the Queens Speech or Labour's legislative program - what has been mentioned, repeatedly, was an accountable and elected second chamber.  Replacing the anachronistic House of Lords with an elected second house would constitute a considerably more significant contribution to democracy than any tweaks to the voting system, who knows perhaps ordinary people might even start voting again - would politicians want that?

Then again what does Gordon care for democratic process? He inherited his job...

Picture courtesy of the talented David Forward at Tractor Stats


  1. It sounds like the Aussie system and I'm here to tell you that it sounded a lot better to me from 10,000 miles away than it did after I moved here and got to know it better. It has it's good points and might be somewhere to start from but I'd vote against an exact copy for the House of Commons. Now, the Senate as a model for replacing the House of Lords, that might be different.

  2. Exactly Angry Exile, I suspected as much. Twatting around with the way the votes are counted may make a slight difference in a hung parliament, but it's just ignoring the ephelump in the room - a non accountable legislature.

    The House of Lords is full of people who have no business being there, by dint of inheritance or patronage...

  3. Why would we trust him on a referendum? What happened to the last referendum he promised?

  4. QM - I don't trust him, as I pointed out in my tortured prose him and his gang have failed to deal with the unfair 2nd house - despite identifying it as a priority. Time for them to go...

  5. Polaris, in fairness to the Lords they've often done a better job at guarding liberty than the Commons has in the last 12 years of so. I've felt for years that it should be all elected, and being a revising chamber probably elected by PR. But I also have to admit that they've scuppered or delayed some of the more egregious government plans more than once, and after the mouth breathing, supine lobby fodder in the Commons just nodded it through to keep the fucking Whips happy without giving a picosecond's thought about their constituents. And I also have to admit that the Lords would probably have been better still before NuLab fucked with it and Phony Tony was able to start topping it up with his fucking mates.

    Still, while we might owe some of them some thanks for that the Lords isn't doing anything a fairly representative Senate couldn't do just as well if not better. Time for real reform I think. Unfortunately David Cameron's Tories might not be quite the ideal people to do it, though if you want them to make a big song and dance while shying away from any actual reforming and doing their best to achieve as close to fuck all difference as they can, well, they're just the people you need.

  6. @ Angry Exile - you are correct that the House of Lords have been quite effective in some cases, but an elected chamber, without Party Whips would be a far fairer system - I believe New Liebour committed to just such a thing.

    The Tories are not going to be elected on a reforming Libertarian agenda - they are simply "Business as usual" politicians - to a man...

  7. No argument from me, Polaris. For what it's worth I'm a republican, albeit with quite a small 'r' - I don't think it's a very high priority even for Australia (say moderately high perhaps), let alone the UK, but if I'm happy to give Mrs Queen a P45 that should tell you how I feel about aristos and bishops sitting in power over the rest of us even if it is just the second chamber. As I said in my first comment I think the Aussie Senate is a pretty good model. If you wanted an elected replacement for the H-o-L you could do much worse than that.