10 thoughts on “Campaigning II

  1. I’m curious. Is there much support for proportional representation in the UK, and what do the major parties think of the idea?

    Neither of the major parties in NZ supported it, although there was strong public demand. However one party promised a referendum on proportional representation when it thought it had no chance of winning an election. They won. The rest, as they say, is history.

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    • Well.

      Since 1945 there have been three parties: the Labour and Conservative parties, and in the centre the Liberals. In the 1980s some of the right wing of the Labour party split off and eventually joined with the Liberals to become the Liberal Democrats. The 2011 referendum offered AV, which is sometimes less proportional than FPTP. The Liberal Democrats were in coalition, and their calculation was that people would vote Labour Liberal Conservative or Conservative Liberal Labour, and they would hoover up lots of seats they had no chance in under FPTP. Meanwhile the UK Independence Party took over from the British National Party as the extreme Right racist party, because lower middle class racists who would have been ashamed of the BNP would vote UKIP. We voted against AV to spite the Liberal Democrats, whose calculation was wrong anyway- now a lot of second votes would be UKIP.

      A lot of the grass roots of the Labour Party want a Progressive Alliance- I would rather a Lib Dem MP than a Tory, though some hate the Lib Dems for their coalition with the Tories. The Greens have a wonderfully charismatic MP, Caroline Lucas, the conscience of the Commons. No-one expected this election, after the untrustworthy authoritarian May said I – I – I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020. and reiterated variations on that. The Conservatives don’t want PR- they won one MP for every 34,244 votes cast for them. There were over a million Green votes and only one Green MP. Labour has never wanted PR, as it would just split up, the left is fissiparous- but votes are splitting anyway. A lot of people can’t tell the difference between PR and AV.

      I feel an info dump is appropriate here- desired by both of us. It is so lovely to make an appropriate info dump!

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      • I know what you mean. Before the introduction of MMP (in 1996 if I recall correctly) only two parties were represented in Parliament, even when a third party gained 25% of the vote. Which ever of the two parties (Labour or National) had a majority, was able to run the country as if the other party didn’t exist. We don’t have an upper house, so the majority party effectively had absolute power.

        Since the introduction of MMP, no party has been able to govern on its own. The current government is a coalition of four of the eight parties represented in Parliament.

        What’s interesting here is that our coalitions are extremely loose. The minor parties guarantee to support the government in matters of supply and confidence in return for the government adopting a policy of the minor party and a seat in cabinet. Outside of the agreed terms, the minor parties are free to support or oppose the government as they see fit.

        It works well. There have been an occasion when the government has had to negotiate support from a party outside the coalition in order to pass a piece of legislation. Some unpopular legislation never get passed as the government is unable to muster enough Parliamentary support from the other parties.

        What I like is the fact that the government is not able to bulldoze legislation through Parliament as the did in pre MMP days. They’ve had to learn the skills of negotiation and compromise.

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        • We definitely need some of that over here. Interestingly enough, the Lib Dems compromising to work with the Tories here in the last government completely backfired and they lost a huge amount of support, destroying their gains over the years. As the minor partner in a coalition government, they got the blame for the all the bad stuff, instead of any credit for contributing to the softening of harsh policies. Maybe we’re too politically stupid in the UK – we like Goodies and Baddies.

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  2. I love Corbyn. But I can’t stand the Labour Party in general – I’ll never get over Tony Blair and I see how much the party generally hates Corbyn. Barry’s point about the voting system brings it all home – we end up fighting to get one party out, back and forth like robots with one switch. I think in 2017 we should be doing much, much better than this. But glad you’re not campaigning for May! 🙂

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    • That was 2003. The activists I am meeting tend to be on the left, because they are most enthusiastic. I meet some lovely people. We know the ConservaKIPs are so far to the right anything would be better, even a LibDem. Labour is still standing in South West Surrey but a Progressive Alliance supports the National Health Action Party against the health secretary Jeremy ‘unt. Perhaps you could support them! The trouble is, if the left divides, the right win.

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