Saturday, 8 May 2010

So this is how Zimbabweans feel

Doesn't it feel like living in a banana republic? A Prime Minister who was never elected in the first place has now lost an election and... he's still bloody there!

The LibDems hoped to take an historic stride towards PR - well, I think they have royally f*cked up. This, friends is what you would have after every election. A squatter, unelected, in Number 10 while the great and good meet behind closed doors to concoct a compromise deal that no one actually voted for. And, natch, the Lib Dems appointing the new PM.

Well, it sucks. FPTP generally provides a decisive result. The candidate who tops the poll in each seat may not have 50% of the vote, but they are closer to being the popular choice than anyone else. Therefore, why should the candidates who come second and third have any chance of depriving them? Extrapolate that to the national level. I can see the Tories don't have an overall majority, but we are the closest party to it. Where PR breaks down, in my opinion, is that it potentially gives the party which comes third or even fourth more power than the one which comes first, if a coalition chooses to shut out the most popular party. If that's democracy, I'm a banana. Which, appropriately enough, fits the thesis I began with.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


So, General Election day is here and I intend to be at the polling station shortly after 7am to be one of the first people to cast a vote.

For the first time in my life, I have some insight into what it must be like to live in a banana republic. How many fake postal votes have ZanuLabour engineered? There have got to be major reforms after this Election. Postal votes have got to be restricted to those who genuinely need them; they should only be available to people whose names appear on the published electoral register (mine doesn't) and they should only be available to people whose names have been on the published register for at least one year. Additionally, there must be prosecutions for any and all breaches of electoral law.

Why vote Conservative? We need a return to honesty. It is time for change. Thatcher and Blair both showed that no leader should go on for more than two terms. Major and Brown both showed that, when a long-serving leader departs, it is not a good idea to have a replacement who is chosen only by the governing party. There is nothing party political in this: the comparison between a successful leader being succeeded by a disastrous one is eerily similar in both cases. However, a tired government cannot enact the changes we need.

The country needs to cut its addiction to taxing and borrowing and spending. Social security beneftis should be sufficient fot those who need them and not handed out to people who don't. I would like to see an axe being taken to family tax credits and child benefit. Why have an army of civil servants taking taxes from people and another army handing back money to people who don't need it? Leaving the money in people's pockets to begin with would cost the government nothing and would save millions in administration. Let the civil servants find jobs where they can actually be productive.

It's time to support families. That means supporting marriage. A real family includes a married couple, with or without children. That is why we need a substantial married couple's tax allowance. We also need to end the iniquity of people on benefits being better off if they separate than if they live together. Single parenthood cheats children. Children of married couples tend to be healthier; better behaved; higher achieving; more likely to find jobs when they leave school; more likely to go into higher education and less likely to be involved in crime. All of the above saves the country money in the health service; legal system; social workers etc etc. When the people take up jobs, they pay more tax. It is a win-win situation. I despise left-wing politicians like Gordon Brown; Harriet Harman; Nick Clegg etc etc who are married; ie they see the benefits of marriage for their own families; yet refuse to lift a finger to promote the benefits to poor people.

Reform of the electoral system has to include equal-sized constituencies. End Labour's rotten burghs (Scottish spelling, for my English readers) where two men, a dog, 2000 names harvested from the local cemetery and several thousand fictitious people would elect a monkey in a red rosette. Atheist Nick Clegg says that he wants to end 'safe seats'. Fine. Let's merge Orkney & Shetland with Caithness & Sutherland: two constituencies which elected Liberal MPs even when they only had half a dozen voters across the UK. Let's put the Western Isles into Charlie Kennedy's consituency. Let's get rid of some of the sparsely populated Highland and Borders constituencies which would elect a monkey in a yellow rosette while we are about it.

We need to redefine our relationship with Europe. If only Dave had stuck to his "cast-iron guarantee" to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: he might have found Angela Merkel more sympathetic than he could have possibly imagined. What a vote-winner this golden opportunity could have been in the final week of the campaign.

However, to quote Shagger Bill himself, "It's the economy, stupid." Labour has once again (as in 1979) left the country broke. Like every Labour government in history, unemployment is higher than when they took office. The next government needs to get Britain working, saving and investing. We need low taxes; incentives for entrepreneurs and an end to political correctness. If you want ethnic minorities to vote for you, show that you are serious about family values; if you want gay people to vote for you, show that you are serious about low taxation. These will be better vote-winners, and better for the economy, than a million policies based around PC nonsense.

Anyway, the polling starts in a few minutes. I'm off to vote Tory.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Direct Party and Representative Voting

No, I hadn't heard of this until today either.

I think the system has a certain amount to commend it. Each elector would vote for both a local MP and for a party. Basically, it would keep the MP to constituency link, but introduce proportionality by weighting the voting power in Parliament according to the proportion of votes cast for each party.

The problem I have, is that you would still have the problem of any proportional system, that you would almost always have weak coalition government. It would also be possible for the largest single party to be shut out of power by the parties in second and third places. However, I wonder if this can be solved by altering the weightings?

Let us say that the party which finishes first in the popular vote automatically gets to choose the executive. Each party would have an equal chance to achieve this. In Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet would therefore represent the single most popular party, and they would have a collective 5% of the voting power in Parliament in addition to their individual votes as MPs.. They would therefore be more powerful than individual MPs, but would be nowhere near a majority on their own.

The largest party in the popular vote would have 45% of the voting power in Parliament. This would almost certainly include all of the Executive as individual MPs. Assuming the party and Executive are united, they have 50% of the vote and, with the Speaker's casting vote, they can always get their legislation through Parliament. We have strong government. Any division in the largest party could be punished, though, because a single rebel MP would move them below 50%.

The second largest party would have 30% of the voting power in Parliament, and the third largest party would have 15% of the voting power. Combined, they would have equal power to the largest party minus the executive.

The smallest parties (SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP etc) would have a combined 5% of the voting power in Parliament.

On any 'free' vote, each MP would have equal voting power.