Changing the political mechanics

UK governments ‘hold back Scotland’

Fine, then leave, Jimmy.

That’s really rich, given West Lothian and the Barnett formula but let’s not dwell on such things now. If Scotland goes, then that’s that many less Lib Dem and Labour MPs in parliament, which gives a new Sanity party, maybe called UKP, a sporting chance to take out 2015.

I can see a scenario where the new party takes 10-15% of the country as former Tory voters, 22% already UKIP and maybe quite a few socially conservative Labourites, as against tribal Labour – maybe 30%, Pink Tory – maybe 25% and then others. However, let’s not dwell on that either.

The system’s the thing

It’s quite clear that the current system doesn’t work, it’s captured by the globalists and PCists and party preselections are a closed shop. When we vote at GEs, there’s no choice, we’ve been through all that. Personally, I think AV better but the referendum showed most don’t agree.

Fine, we run with what we have – practical politics. So let’s look at Daniel‘s proposal and also at the Swiss system, not forgetting Ivan’s proposal to return the Lords to a pre-Blair state. Those with short memories should note that there had already been considerable reform by that point.

Daniel

Labour should not get 55% of the seats from 35% of the vote (that bothered to turn-out). I would prefer not to throw the baby out with the bath water, lets get the boundaries fixed and make sure they can’t become so warped again in future.
After the boundaries are fix we need to take a look at the Lords on how that chamber can be made up in a way to help balance that out, which is an entirely different and much more complex situation altogether.

Ivan says:

The Lords is the simplest thing to fix – just take it back to what it was. why not look at what the Swiss have, it works very well and everyone gets a say in all the main concerns of the country. The only reason it would never be considered in the UK is that it relies on SMALL government that keeps out of peoples lives as much as possible.

Still, we’ll look at that next. Back to Daniel:

Can’t HoL reform be tied into election reform? A HoC keeping the present FPTP electoral system (properly reformed so constituencies are composed of roughly equal numbers of electorate and a HoL based on PR electing a number of time serving Lords … [Time Lords? JH] … with a constituency based on the counties, the number each County returns based on its population.

This way a link is kept between the electorate and the representative and the more spread out minority vote has a chance to be represented. On the plus side, the potential for deadlock as each house claims democratic legitimacy might draw all the current excess law making to a stuttering halt.

I would not have voted out the hereditary system, but I am not sure I would vote them back in either (in either case, of course I did not/will not have a vote on the matter). The 1911 Parliament Act acknowledged via it’s preamble that the restrictions placed on the Lords were step 1 to moving to an elected chamber:

“Whereas it is intended to substitute the House of Lords as it presently exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation.”

So we restricted the role of the Lords as it was an undemocratic chamber, then never moved to an elected chamber and left the upper house restrained.

IMHO The hereditary [neutered] system favoured the old establishment, the current arraignment suits the new establishment. I would prefer we saw a system where by the wisdom of wise and experienced people is heard as part of debate, but ultimately is democratic and accountable to the electorate.

In fact, Daniel, you’ve noted the bad of the new and so why does it need to be wholly elected in the Lords? Whre is the true review function if the members are beholden to the government of the day? Leave the Lords part elected, part appointed along traditional lines.

Back to you:

-HOC reformed down to 500/550 ish seats all of approx. equal size by population

-Automatic trigger of boundary reform after each census to re-equalise seat sizes

-HOL – 180(ish) FPTP Elected seats, 1 seat per county and each city (plus for a select number of sizable metropolises that are of an agreed size but don’t/don’t yet have city status (i.e. Milton Keynes)

[Nor should it – those bstds took my football team.]

– 179 (total elected seats less 1) of appointed/hereditary & CofE Lords.

This should lend balance to Parliament, whereby a large number of the HOC seats are city based there is a natural “metropolitan” Liberalism that does not necessarily resonate throught the whole country – is similar to the US notion.

179 Lords get to debate on all 3 readings, but can only vote in readings 1 & 2… This is specifically so that the wisdom of the old system and quality of debate is preserved, and so that Democratic legitimacy is in play to allow the HOL’s powers/responsibilities be increased allowing it to more ably act as a balance to the power of the HOC (in particular the Government).

HOL to look after the Judiciary and look after election of High Court and Appeal Court Judges.

HOL can vote down money bills.

HOL can introduce legislation in agreed areas.

If elected to HOL, eligible for seat in Cabinet.

Elected Lords sit in opposite benches nearer the speaker, unelected on the benches further down the chamber.

Elected HOL seats are fixed terms per seat of terms of 3 years for first election, 5 for return and 7 years for any subsequent return (not a deal-breaker, but means untested reps have to go back to the ballot box sooner, and terms lengthened each time returned). Right of recall in the constituency to force a by-election on that seat for misconduct/criminal behaviour.

Would be happy to hear if there is any bright idea how the whipping system could be made less effective in the upper house.

HOL specifically tasked to keep HOC in check (budgets, MP’s expenses etc) power to convene committees etc available. HOC also to keep HOL in check.

We could probably do away with the very unBritish Supreme Court and restore the HOL as the superior court of the land (probably not as straight-forward and unpicking the mess now though)

Numbers/sizes based on current UK make up. If countries leave the union adjustments need to be made.
West Lothian question requires an equalising of the powers and remits of the devolved assemblies in the different areas so that in the same powers can be devolved down from UK to the counties. If something is done at Scottish level for eg but not in Wales they could devolve this to the county or local assembly. if something can not be devolved to county level across the board it should be reassumed at UK level so there is a level playing field.

[I’ve already mentioned that the Scots can leave and that gives a new party a sporting chance but of course, many will not like that.]

While were (I’m) at it, no more district or regional councils or whatever the EU administrative bodies are called now – Councils for City and County will mirror the new HOL boundaries with lower town, borough and/or parish as makes sense. All locally funded; our exit from the EU (did I not mention that already…) allowed for VAT to be scrapped so VAT, local rates, flat tax etc can be levied to fund local government.

OK, OK but methinks there’s a bit too much prejudice against PR in this country. Agreed it couldn’t be used for lower house but for the Lords, it would seem to be ideal. They’re not there for popular representation.

I would add that we really need a beefed up constitution initially based on 1689 but with checks and balances in there on how boundaries can change – that sort of thing.

The Swiss system

Here’s a quick reference.

The politics of Switzerland take place in the framework of a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic republic, whereby the Federal Council of Switzerland is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government and the federal administration and is not concentrated in any one person. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland.

The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory; for any change in a law, a referendum can be requested. Through referenda, citizens may challenge any law voted by federal parliament and through initiatives introduce amendments to the federal constitution, making Switzerland the closest state in the world to a direct democracy.

Things I noted on first reading:

Any citizen may challenge a law that has been passed by parliament. If that person is able to gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days, a national vote has to be scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority of the voters whether to accept or reject the law.

Also, any citizen may seek a decision on an amendment they want to make to the constitution. For such an amendment initiative to be organised, the signatures of 100,000 voters must be collected within 18 months. Such a popular initiative is formulated as a precise new text (general proposal initiatives have been canceled in 2009 [1]) whose wording can no longer be changed by parliament and the government.

After a successful signature gathering, the federal council may create a counterproposal to the proposed amendment and put it to vote on the same day as the original proposal.

Uh huh.

The Swiss Federal Council is a seven-member executive council that heads the federal administration, operating as a combination cabinet and collective presidency. Any Swiss citizen eligible to be a member of the National Council can be elected;[2] candidates do not have to register for the election, or to actually be members of the National Council. The Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term.

Tricky to dismantle our bureaucratic, quango-ridden state.

The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide. Since 1848, it has never been renewed entirely at the same time, providing a long-term continuity.

The Swiss government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since 1959, each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of electorate and representation in the federal parliament.

But:

This “magic formula” has been repeatedly criticised: in the 1960s, for excluding leftist opposition parties; in the 1980s, for excluding the emerging Green party; and particularly after the 1999 election, by the People’s Party, which had by then grown from being the fourth largest party on the National Council to being the largest.

Well done if it excludes the encroachment of the global left – Barosso/Blair/Cameron but not so good if it excludes direct democracy parties.

Switzerland has a bicameral parliament called the Federal Assembly, made up of:

• the Council of States (46 seats – members serve four-year terms) and
• the National Council (members are elected by popular vote on a basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)

Uh huh.

Political extremism is not a widespread phenomenon in Switzerland, although far-left extremism has increased slightly since the turn of the century in 2000 has resulted in improved organization of the far left, but it has no noticeable impact on parliamentary or direct democracy.

Good that it sees leftism, being Statist, as antithetical to direct democracy.

OK, what do you think? Could any part of that serve in the UK?

Harrogate Agenda

EU Referendum
Autonomous Mind
Witterings from Witney

4 comments for “Changing the political mechanics

  1. Derek
    May 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

    The boundries were gerymandered in favour of the Labour Party by speaker Boothroyd. This can not be rectified with Clegg in government. He would much rather be in coalition with Labour. Cameron should do the boundry changes without Clegg. He would probably get it through, but not without a fight from the undemocatic left.

    There is a case for undoing just about everything that Blair and his cronies did in government. I think that he set up the Supreme Court so that at sometime, when they think that they can get away with it, the European Supreme Court can claim jurostriction over our supreme court. Put it back where it belongs, in the House of Lords.

    Blair ruined the House of Lords, as he ruined everything else, except the economy, which Brown ruined. I suggest that we bring back the majority of hereditory peers. There should be a set number of life peers, elected from those who have been given a life peerage, and elected on a proportional system. I prefer the additional member system.

    There are many ideas floating about on how we can mend our broken democracy. It is time that a serious debate was started so that it can be mended before it is too late.

    • May 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

      There should be a set number

      Yes, agreed. Question – the mechanics of redressing the boundaries.

    • James Strong
      May 22, 2013 at 7:44 am

      ‘Clegg…would much rather be in coalition with Labour.’

      Mmm, not sure about that. Some members of his party might tend more towards Labour, but Clegg seems to me to be a light-blue Tory wet.

  2. Greg Tingey
    May 23, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Don’t worry.
    The psychopathic weasel (Salmond) s going to lose.
    People have noticed how his policies cahnge from week to week… remember how the EUro was going to be the salvation of Scotland?

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