Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Some Tories and Labour would honestly prefer each other in government to AV? Really?

Posted by Jason O on Apr 19, 2011 in AV Referendum May 5 2011, British Politics |

“…and if you’re just joining us here on Election 2015, the news is that despite winning over half the votes of the British people between them, the first government to do that since 1931, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has been ousted by Ed Miliband’s Labour party, despite having received less votes than the coalition.”

One of the curious factors in the AV debate, and British politics generally, certainly to an outside observer used to election results having some sort of passing resemblance to how voters actually voted (the novelty!), is how all-or-nothing, indeed how “stroppy/adolescent” so many British politicians are. In the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and indeed all of the European Union, it is perfectly normal for a majority of elected members of a legislature, of differing parties, to sit down and see what deal they can get for the people who elected them. They accept the result, and get down to business, with large parties not surprisingly looking for more than small parties, but if they’re not in the majority, accepting that a majority has to be constructed through discussion and trade.

Yet British No2AV politicians have a bizarre “I want ALL of the cake or none!” approach to politics which is just plain odd. There seriously seem to be members of both Labour and the Conservatives who would have turned down the possibility of  tempering the other party on, say, the Lisbon Treaty or the Miners Strike rather than concede the principle of  possibly sharing power through a system like AV. Imagine having a dentist who told you that he only will pull out all your teeth, or none. It was that sort of moronic behaviour that let Mrs Thatcher piss off Labour people for 11 years, and Blair piss off Tories for a similar period, without being restrained by anyone.

But then, that’s the strangest thing about British politics, compared to a non-first past the post system. Under our system, the politicians are afraid of the voters, not vice versa.      

4 Comments

Eurocentric
Apr 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

Since the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty means that a parliamentary majority can change the constitution at a whim, perhaps the politicians are just used to absolute power ;)


 
david morris
Apr 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Wipe yourself down jase, its only more polwank.

Nice and all as it is to have outsiders interested in the passing sideshow that is the AV “debate”, you unnaccountably missed out linking in the closing part of iDaves speech on AV.

iDave tells us : “If you want a system that lets you, as the Americans say, ‘throw the rascals out’. If you want a system that makes your politicians accountable … You must vote on May 5th, and you must vote No to AV”.

This is a man who refused UK voters a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and who is content with ceding the nation’s powers to an unelected supreme government in Brussels, one which we can’t throw out and most certainly is not accountable.

You can’t treat this fairly and honestly, and consider it on its merits. It is not a fair and honest speech. The only thing you can do is reject it in his entirety for what it is – a studied, deliberate insult to the intelligence of the electorate.. It is the likes of this man which inhabit the top of the Multi-Kult pyramid, divorced from reality, smug, arrogant and self-assured. The perfekt bEUurocrat.

And don’t start me on Clegg & his ilk

Kind regards


 
Cynic
Apr 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

One of the curious factors in the AV debate, and British politics generally … is how all-or-nothing, indeed how “stroppy/adolescent” so many British politicians are. In the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and indeed all of the European Union, it is perfectly normal for a majority of elected members of a legislature, of differing parties, to sit down and see what deal they can get for the people who elected them.

“Stroppy”? “Adolescent”?

Have you actually looked at US politics lately? By comparison with the Tea Party wing of the GOP, any British politician is the epitome of sweet reason. The default approach there at the moment is scorched earth, with the bare minimum of co-operation in place that the constitution requires, and perhaps not even that judging by the talk about government shutdowns.

To the north, Canada is in the middle of yet another election which will result in yet another minority Conservative government on 35% or so of the vote, but where any coalition between the centre and centre-left parties who will get 50%+ of the vote is a no-no, apparently.

Australia’s Labor government is kept in power by deals with a couple of rural independents of the type that you would certainly turn up your nose at, with a bomb-throwing, hard-right opposition “Liberal” party in the wings.

And I suspect that reasonably close examination of the other countries you mention would reveal plenty of warts and flaws. How long did it take to form a government in the Netherlands this time? How long is it currently taking in Belgium?


 
Peter
Apr 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Nothing odd about it. It’s the difference between the executive and the legislature. One is representational and one is winner takes all – that’s why the American is a better system as it reflects this more accurately.

And it’s “fewer votes”, not less.


 

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