Pass the crisps: UK Election watch

497 Responses

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  • BenWilson,

    It seems to me many Lib-Dems are repeating the wild utopian expectations of the pro-MMP campaign here, as if changing from a grandfather clock to a digital watch will somehow change the way we tell the time.

    Strange comparison. I tell the time way differently because of my digital watch than I would if I only had a grandfather clock. For instance, I can tell the time when I'm out on my bike.

    But I agree, a referendum is not necessary. It's just a good idea, when you make massive constitutional changes, in a democracy. If it's done properly, which it can easily not be. I think it makes people believe in the system more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What reason would there be to vote for it again, if the leadership made it abundantly clear that the one time they get a hung parliament and hold the balance of power, all they do is get spooked and hand the Tories the bloody keys to office without concessions?

    I'm not suggesting they do it without concessions. I just can't see them getting major electoral reform through with a bare majority.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    PR is merely a different method of electing your house of representatives, it is not a panacea change agent for people unhappy with the status quo - that properly is the job of those elected to the parliament.

    I think it's good form to put any substantial changes to your voting system to the general population. If there's one thing we should have direct control over, it's how we elect the politicians.

    Moving to a PR system is a fundamental change. It'll mean that every election will end up something like this with coalition governments having to be formed, it's a definite choice that a nation should make rather than pollies doing it themselves.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm not suggesting they do it without concessions. I just can't see them getting major electoral reform through with a bare majority.

    It's the best shot they've ever had. It's got to be the most exciting and rewarding time imaginable for the leader of the LibDems, short of actually winning the election (which is Never Going To Happen).

    They shouldn't settle for AV. That's no better than FPP. In fact, it's worse, because it hides even more effectively that it's a two party system. There's intense complication in even interpreting what people voted for under that system, and you get this bizarre claim at the end that the winner had "more than 50% support". Of course they did, because the system narrowed the choices down to 2. That's why Labour and Tories want it. Because it's even better than no change at all, it would legitimize their hold on power even more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I think it's good form to put any substantial changes to your voting system to the general population. If there's one thing we should have direct control over, it's how we elect the politicians.

    Moving to a PR system is a fundamental change. It'll mean that every election will end up something like this with coalition governments having to be formed, it's a definite choice that a nation should make rather than pollies doing it themselves.

    Certainly it's good form.

    But the Catch-22 is that neither of the two parties most likely to be forming a majority government (current situation excepted) are very likely to offer the choice. FPP suits them both fine as it tends to lead to large majorities either way, as the pendulum of public opinion swings from red to blue and back again.

    I tend to agree with the mechanics (if not necessarily the sentiment) of Ben's analysis: this is the best chance the Libs will ever have. It's now or never, and if they need to fight dirty to grasp it, then so be it.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I tend to agree with the mechanics (if not necessarily the sentiment) of Ben's analysis: this is the best chance the Libs will ever have. It's now or never, and if they need to fight dirty to grasp it, then so be it.

    Yes. But putting it to referendum is also their best chance of getting it through. The conservatives are never going to agree to vote for it in the house, but you might be able to get them to agree to have a referendum and then implement that referendum, which is basically what we had.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yes. But putting it to referendum is also their best chance of getting it through.

    Is it? What do the British people actually want? It could actually end up getting through on bizarre twists by existing cliques trying to hold onto their power. I think this is at least as likely at this point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The conservatives are never going to agree to vote for it in the house, but you might be able to get them to agree to have a referendum and then implement that referendum

    Unfortunately both Tory and Lab parties are smart enough to see a referendum for what it is, and to do their best to make sure it wouldn't make any difference even if they agree to one. What seems to be going on now (from my lightly-informed perspective) is an attempt to negotiate the LibDems into weakening their position and accepting less than genuine change.

    The difference with NZ in the 90s after a couple of lying governments is that the two main UK parties don't seem to have in turn been weakened enough in the eyes of the public to just give up their FPP privilege voluntarily. Though Brown resigning ups the ante on that side.

    Here's the business end of the confrontation between Sky News's Adam Boulton and Alastair Campbell.

    This story includes a slightly longer clip and mentions the context of an ongoing tension between Boulton and Campbell. Stoked over all those claims of legitimacy..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I might have underestimated young Mr Clegg.

    On Friday he had a disappointing election result and an offer from Cameron to do diddly squat.

    By today he's got Gordon Brown calling it quits and the Tories promising a referendum (albeit not yet the one he wants). Apparently it's their "final offer", like their previous one.

    Stick it out for a couple more days and he'll be moving in to Number 10. ;)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1319 posts Report Reply

  • Sethop,

    Heh, or to quote @timjonze "At this rate Clegg'll end up with PR, no trident, control of Belgium, £750cashback + promise Balls will wear mankini"

    South Island • Since Jan 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Stick it out for a couple more days and he'll be moving in to Number 10. ;)

    Deputy Prime Minister? That seems vaguely familiar. Surely no sensible leader would allow that much influence to their opponents just to form a government? No, wait, this.

    Winston Peters, the mercurial leader of the minor New Zealand First party, landed the role of kingmaker. After parallel talks with the main National and Labour parties he finally supported Jim Bolger’s incumbent National party.

    In return, Mr Peters became deputy prime minister and treasurer. From the outset, though, Mr Bolger’s leadership was doomed and within 12 months he was dumped by his party and a year later Mr Peters was sacked.

    And later of course resigned from HC's cabinet. Resourceful wee chap.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Not sure Clegg would appreciate that comparison.

    I'm guessing Winston hasn't read "Waiting For Godot" a hundred times:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/apr/30/nick-clegg-my-hero-samuel-beckett

    Whether this helps us understand Clegg's political manoeuvring, I really couldn't say ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1319 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    unwanted advice from the Random Factory...
    One would hope Family Cactus (and Sony) are quickly releasing (or re-promoting) their Kingmaker track in the UK...

    worth a crack,
    at least Zane Lowe could play it!

    Hell, even Savuka might get some mileage out of the name check... and some of the lyrics in this ...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7885 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Collage of topical newspaper front pages via @SiobhanBulfin

    Daily Star is classic - "Sort it out you clowns"

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    What's this stuff about a bare majority. If the Labour and Liberal Democrats get together they will represent 52% of the vote to the Tories 36%.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Oh deary me...

    From the Grauniad's live election blog:

    Quote of the day so far has come from former home secretary David Blunkett, who was on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He warned that a "coalition of the defeated" between Labour and the Lib Dems would "lose very badly" at the next general election. He added:

    "Can you trust the Liberal Democrats? They are behaving like every harlot in history."

    ...perhaps Mr Blunkett needs a nice cup of tea and a lie down.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    What's this stuff about a bare majority

    Majority of seats not of popular vote?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    behaving like every harlot in history

    quick, get Clegg over to the man-slut threads thread

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Collage of topical newspaper front pages via @SiobhanBulfin

    Good grief - talk about hyperbole...

    Look at them all metaphorically running around waving their hands in the air yelling "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

    I think the Daily Mail is the worst:

    A squalid day for democracy
    Brown quits but cynically bids to keep Labour in power by guaranteeing two-faced Clegg voting reform

    No, c'mon Daily Mail - tell us how you really feel!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    quick, get Clegg over to the man-slut threads

    Question is though, Sacha, which one is he?

    Too young to be the Silver Fox, doesn't have the Hero Coat so he can't be Dark and Brooding, definitely not The Rocker, The Preppie or The Uniform, can't be The Slightly-Disreputable Working Class Boy (which is a shame cos I think that might work), he isn't The Dandy - which leaves us with no choice other than...

    The Stripy Shirt

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What's this stuff about a bare majority. If the Labour and Liberal Democrats get together they will represent 52% of the vote to the Tories 36%.

    No they don't Logan -- they represent less than half the seats in the House of Commons. Hell, even when you add in the four seat of the SDLP and Sylvia Hermon (who will take the Labour whip in Westminster) they wouldn't enjoy the confidence of a majority of the House.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    >What's this stuff about a bare majority. If the Labour and Liberal Democrats get together they will represent 52% of the vote to the Tories 36%.

    No they don't Logan -- they represent less than half the seats in the House of Commons.

    Actually, they represent both of those things, which is what's fucked about FPP.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Got to give credit where it's due, but well played, Mr Brown.

    And when all is said and done, it just seems the Tories want it more (h/t The Guardian):

    The clincher for me though was a Lib Dem MP who is pretty sympathetic to Labour telling me this morning that a deal with the Conservatives was the only viable option.

    "I can't believe how much they've offered us," he said. "The Tories have basically rubbed out their manifesto and inserted ours. We'll have to cope for four or five years with our flesh creeping, but still."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So, anyone laid in popcorn for the spectacle of the Torygraph and Guarniad columnists having a collective meltdown?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Guardian peers at a note with details of negotiations in Clegg's hand:

    Based on an inexpert translation of the spidery script by the Guardian, it appears to begin by listing the Tories' "red lines" on which they are not prepared to give ground: Europe, immigration and the Trident nuclear deterrent.

    What a depressing list of priorities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

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