Pass the crisps: UK Election watch

497 Responses

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    As the only Westminster jurisdiction with significant experience of proportional representation...

    Really?

    1. I'm not sure you'd call five elections "significant experience".

    2. Richard Shaw ignores Scotland.

    And Ireland, Malta, Australia (the Senate), Japan and many many others.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Ok, so our MMP needs some improvement, but this is patently ridicolous. LD 22% of the vote (so far) and 7% of the seats. Right?

    Whatthe?

    Yeah.

    Labour got to govern with 35% in 2005. How fair is it that the Conservatives won't get to govern with 36%?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    neither is fair - both should be required to get enough representatives of the people so that they represent a majority of them if they want to govern - almost always having minority (in the total vote sense) governments is why FPP is unfair

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Well the system/result isn't fair to anyone it seems.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Australia (the Senate)

    I disagree on proportionality in the Australian Senate.

    Strictly speaking it's a multi-member electorate system with preferential voting. Because of preference deals, it often produces highly disproportionate results. The most infamous result in recent years was Senator Fielding of South Australia, elected with just 1.9% of first preferences (due to a deal with Labor). Labor and the Coalition usually work very hard to shut out Democrats and Greens.

    I got to talk about electoral systems for 3 hours this week... I was very happy!

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Labour got to govern with 35% in 2005. How fair is it that the Conservatives won't get to govern with 36%?

    It's ridicolous in both instances, nobody is disputing that. Still, this idea forcefully put forward by Jeremy Paxton just a couple of hours ago on the beeb that the conservatives have the moral right to form a government because they have a relative majority is just stupid. If Labour and the Libdems turn out to be able to reach an absolute majority or a workable minority (I doubt it) and Clegg decides he'd rather dance with Brown than with Cameron, then they'll form a government and that's that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    As the current PM Brown gets first hack at creating a government no matter what - and he'll stay around so long as he can survive the appropriate votes in the house

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Well at the very least this is going to create a whole new angry generation in favour of voting reform. I know few people under 35 who would admit to voting Tory or Labour over here yet there you have it. Admittedly this is London speaking but still

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I think the reason that the Tories probably snatched possible defeat from the jaws of victory had something to do with the Liberal Democrat strength. Faced with the prospect of electoral reform that would end up possibly keeping the Tories out of power for a generation or more, Labour and the LibDems will now probably stitch up a coalition deal, with Brown as a probable casualty.

    And as for the reason the Tories scored their pyrrhic victory, blame their own militant tendency- David Ashcroft and the fundie capitalists who bankrolled individual Tory candidates- the Conservative Party's own 'militant tendency' and with equally destructive effect, it would seem.

    Craig Y

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's ridicolous in both instances, nobody is disputing that. Still, this idea forcefully put forward by Jeremy Paxton just a couple of hours ago on the beeb that the conservatives have the moral right to form a government because they have a relative majority is just stupid.

    About as stupid as the other panelist who said that any government with less than 40% of the popular vote was somehow less legitimate. There are arguments for electoral reform, but that one's fucking ridiculous unless you're willing to go out there and argue that MPs in marginals are somehow less legit that those with five figure majorities.

    And as for the reason the Tories scored their pyrrhic victory, blame their own militant tendency- David Ashcroft and the fundie capitalists who bankrolled individual Tory candidates- the Conservative Party's own 'militant tendency' and with equally destructive effect, it would seem.

    You know, Craig, if that helps Ed Balls sleep he's welcome to it -- denial is a stage in the grieving process after all. But if you think Labour and the Lib Dems weren't pouring serious money and resources into their own target lists, you're either naive or spectacularly disingenuous.

    And another FYI, the Tory hard right HATE Cameron more than Gordon Brown. You better pray Cameron doesn't lose, otherwise the Earl Grey Tea-Baggers might just give you something to really be scared of.

    Labour and the LibDems will now probably stitch up a coalition deal, with Brown as a probable casualty.

    Oh really? Gordon might like to book a conference call with his close pal Helen Clark and Jim Bolger, and learn something from the New Zealand experience. I think they both learned, in their own ways, that Winston Peters was a pyrrhic victory...

    I actually know Labour people in the UK who flat out refused to hold their noses and vote tactically, because electoral reform wasn't their #1 priority and the rest of the Lib Dem platform was so flaky their manifesto should have been made of chocolate. Anyone who thinks Clegg is going to be brought off with nothing more than a vague promise of a referendum on electoral reform at some point is delusional.

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

  • giovanni tiso,

    About as stupid as the other panelist who said that any government with less than 40% of the popular vote was somehow less legitimate.

    37% of the vote means a little over one in three voters. If you think a party that gets that few votes should govern alone, as UK Labour has over the last five years, I guess your idea of democracy is different from mine.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If anything, the Lib Dems might be smarter to not not do a coalition deal with anyone -- but actually walk the talk and publicly lay out the circumstances under which they'd pull the plug on any government without batting an eyelid..

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    37% of the vote means a little over one in three voters

    Thanks for the mathe-mansplain there, Gio. I won't repay the discourtesy by telling you what "plurality" means. As I said, there are arguments for PR -- and blindingly obvious ones, at that -- but that's a pretty piss-weak one, IMNSHO of course.

    After all, even under MMP it's not impossible or constitutionally outrageous to have a minority government that has to gather support for its legislative agenda on a case-by-case basis with one or more parties abstaining on confidence and supply. Which doesn't make such a government "illegitimate".

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

  • Ben Austin,

    The LDs should just do what it takes to get electoral reform before the next election as it is again being made clear that outside of an act of god they will never get a fair chance.

    Remember that they only lost their original position as one of the main parties was due to the Great War, the Depression, a substantial and long lasting party split (Asquith vs Lloyd George), following a split the previous generation (Liberal Unionist vs Home Rule) and the rise of the organised Labour movement. It is unlikely that they will be able to benefit from a similar level of collapse from the Tories or Labour

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    hmm - I guess it's official - there are now 34 seats left to decide and the Tories need 35 to get a majority

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The LDs should just do what it takes to get electoral reform before the next election as it is again being made clear that outside of an act of god they will never get a fair chance.

    Ben: If Clegg has the balls to say that, I'd admire his chutzpah if nothing else. Won't hold my breath waiting, because he'd also have to say "More fool you, if you ever believed I had any intention of negotiating in good faith with the Tories in the first instance if they came first in the popular vote."

    But this is going to get really interesting. Because Clegg is a fucking fool if he lets Brown off the hook with nothing more than PR; and I've certainly got my doubts what else is actually going to go down with anyone else. (On the policy front, the Lib Dems got away with murder.)

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

  • stephen walker,

    If anything, the Lib Dems might be smarter to not not do a coalition deal with anyone -- but actually walk the talk and publicly lay out the circumstances under which they'd pull the plug on any government

    yes. yes. yes.

    LibDems enabling NewLab to cling to power = certain political oblivion

    LibDems enabling Tories to form a majority government despite less than 300 seats of their own = near-certain political oblivion

    Tory-LibDem confidence and supply agreement with conditions (incl proportional rep referendum) = heroes for the next decade

    tell Clegg to read some wikipedia re nz politics

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Because Clegg is a fucking fool if he lets Brown off the hook with nothing more than PR

    Why? Changing the political game that much- in the Lib-Dem's favour- would be a very big f*cking deal.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Labour plus Lib Dem are still nine short of the magic number. Even if Brown offered Clegg a referendum on electoral reform, I'm not sure they could pass it through Parliament.

    Interesting times ahead though, that's for sure.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Yeah, I haven't heard anyone doing the math, but it didn't look at all likely they'd be able to command a straight majority. (More than 50% of the vote though- if we talkin' 'bout a Brown-Clegg man-date:)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    @Craig - well, we can but hope!

    Clegg faces oblivion either way - even after 2005 and 2010, two campaigns where the public loved them, they still fail to break through. What will happen in 2015 when perhaps the Tories and Labour both organise themselves better?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    is there any analysis of what the guardian lists as "OTH" and which way they are likely to group?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Why? Changing the political game that much- in the Lib-Dem's favour- would be a very big f*cking deal.

    But last time I looked the Lib Dems -- and its grassroots -- aren't a single issue party, and (to be crude) when you've had a net loss of seven seats and still have Gordon Brown's balls in the palm of your hand you're politically brain-dead if you just give 'em a light tickle then let go. (Dare I say it, it costs Brown nothing to vaguely promise an ill-defined referendum on PR at some point over the next five years.) Of course, there's a risk of over-playing his hand but folding when you've got the strongest cards you're ever likely to have is cretinous.

    To be fair, if Clegg is willing to negotiate in good faith with the Tories, Cameron is just going to have to swallow hard and give his party a down and dirty electoral maths lesson.

    It's all fun and games, especially when someone loses an eye. :)

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

  • Rob Stowell,

    Oh I think it'd be more than a vague promise, and it'd likely include both ministerial posts and other concessions. Plus the Lib-Dems could still have a firm hold on Brown's testicular future.
    I'm not sure why Clegg has stepped away from this- but perhaps Cameron can offer something as well. Waiting for another election with a hobbled Conservative minority govt? A gamble, at best.
    Look at it from another angle:if Clegg can't get some move towards PR now, he's clearly fumbled an opportunity they may never get again. Something like MMP could give them a fairly solid hold on the balance of power- playing their single best hand into long-term gain.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    is there any analysis of what the guardian lists as "OTH" and which way they are likely to group?

    Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand the 4 Sinn Fein MPs will continue the party's long standing policy of abstentionism from Westminster.

    Plaid Cymru (3 MPs) and The Scottish National Party (6) work together as a group in Westminster, but I doubt they'd formally hook up with either Labour or the Lib-Dems..

    The Social Democratic & Labour Party (3 MPs) take the Labour whip.

    The Democratic Unionist Party (8 MPs) -- well who the hell knows? They're most likely to do a deal with the Tories, but Cameron is going to have to mortgage his fiscal credibility to pay for it.

    Did I miss anyone out?

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

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