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British constitutional change

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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animist
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British constitutional change

#1 Post by animist » October 28th, 2014, 12:29 pm

I could not see a general thread on this, so have started one. This is an interesting article on the decision which was made at the start of the current Parliament to introduce fixed-term parliaments:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/com ... 06938.html

"A constitutional revolution takes place before our eyes and we hardly notice. There is much noise and fury about constitutional changes that will never happen - and near-silence in response to a radical reform that is already implemented."

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#2 Post by Nick » October 28th, 2014, 4:22 pm

There was a back-benchers debate on this in the House the other day, some of which (sad man that I am) I watched while doing the ironing. There was reason for a 5 year parliament at the time, and I'm not convinced that a break in legislative initiaitves is entirely bad!

But I think we are in for huge changes over the next few years. First of all, Scotland remains unresolved. The Scottish LAbour Party has imploded, partly, apparently, because of Ed Miliband. Though the SNP lost, 45% of the population is a huge proportion to be disappointed. Ironically, defeat may make others comfortable to vote for them, hoping for a keener Scottish angle in their representation at Westminster, even for those who don't want separation for various reasons. And progress in Scotland, however you may define that, will be difficult if the major party just keeps on bleating that everything that goes awry is because Scotland is not independent (whether or not that is true in each case).

Secondly, UKIP is likely to dirupt matters. The population are fed up with politicians of all stripes, so are inclined to protest. This may affect Labour too, more than you might think. The 2 major parties are at about 30% each, and the Lib Dems nowhere at about 9%. The distribution of the votes will be very important. No breakthrough for the Greens, I think. But strange possibilites may appear. What if Labour win more seats, but no overall majority, or fewer seats, if Scotland is excluded? The Tories, because of the make-up of constituencies, (shamefully perpetuated by the Lib Dems, in spite of the referendum they were promised being held, ) may get more votes than Labour but fewer seats(as has happened before). What sort of coalition is possible? Lib/Lab? Hmmm... I can't see the Lib Dems repudiating everthing they have done in government. They have already pissed off half their supporters over education. Are they really going to piss off the other half as well?

It is a possibility that UKIP may get twice as many votes as the Lib Dems if the poll strongly throughout the country. They are the new party of protest. They may be on a par with, or near, the Lib Dems in terms of seats. There is no possibility of a Labour/UKIP coalition, but would it be possible (especially with other variables like the MPs for Northern Ireland) to have a Labour coalition in a situation where the government was composed primarily of parties which came 2nd and 4th in terms of votes cast?

Interesting times....

lewist
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Re: British constitutional change

#3 Post by lewist » October 28th, 2014, 8:13 pm

Though the SNP lost...
I think that exposes your complete failure to understand the situation in this country, Nick. The SNP is only one part of the equation, albeit the largest. A large proportion of the Yes movement is Labour, and both the SSP and Scottish Greens are part.

The naysayers are gradually finding the shameful extent to which they were deceived. The Yes parties are finding their membership rocketing and it looks as if the situation in England is going from bad to worse.

Freedom may come sooner than we think. :)
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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getreal
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Re: British constitutional change

#4 Post by getreal » October 28th, 2014, 8:36 pm

When did this happen? So, this means when we elect a government they cannot chose when to have the next election (during their 5 year term)- they must sit for the entire period?

No? Really?

Was I eating breakfast when they passed this?

How has it been passed without any fanfare? Or any discussion on Newsnight? Or any video blogs by Russell Brand?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

lewist
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Re: British constitutional change

#5 Post by lewist » October 28th, 2014, 8:51 pm

lewist wrote:The naysayers are gradually finding the shameful extent to which they were deceived.
Here's an interesting piece. Enjoy the read.
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Altfish
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Re: British constitutional change

#6 Post by Altfish » October 28th, 2014, 8:54 pm

Interesting the comments about "Scotland remains unresolved".
Are we then saying that after a 55-45% poll, the Scotland problem will still only be resolved when it becomes independent? Or, is there another solution?

UKIP is fascinating (and frightening) it is basically the BNP with the pub bore as its leader (as opposed to the pub bully) but it is shaping the politics of the other parties. Europe is a mess but I still think we are better in...but with many changes.

The left has lost its way, they are too scared to upset a race/religion that they talk rubbish most of the time. That is why they are losing voters to UKIP too. Milliband is useless, I strongly recommend Nick Cohen's book "What's Left".

The right is getting more and more nasty, only interested in itself, but because of UKIP and an ineffectual opposition it can get away with it.

UK politics is fascinating at the moment; I suspect we may have another coalition after the next election.

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Dave B
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Re: British constitutional change

#7 Post by Dave B » October 28th, 2014, 9:17 pm

Come the revolution...
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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animist
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Re: British constitutional change

#8 Post by animist » October 28th, 2014, 9:48 pm

lewist wrote:
lewist wrote:The naysayers are gradually finding the shameful extent to which they were deceived.
Here's an interesting piece. Enjoy the read.
Lewis, did you expect that devolution max would come before the 2015 election? I think Altfish is right to query any claim that Scottish independence is unresolved - a lot of people voted for it, but there is not going to be a repeat of the referendum in the foreseeable future

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animist
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Re: British constitutional change

#9 Post by animist » October 28th, 2014, 9:58 pm

getreal wrote:When did this happen? So, this means when we elect a government they cannot chose when to have the next election (during their 5 year term)- they must sit for the entire period?

No? Really?

Was I eating breakfast when they passed this?

How has it been passed without any fanfare? Or any discussion on Newsnight? Or any video blogs by Russell Brand?
Russell Brand was probably still a very naughty boy when all this happened, and he still is so IMO for what he did to Andrew Sachs. The MPs can effect an election within the five years if two-thirds of them vote for this, or if the government loses on a vote of confidence, but Richards's point is that such a consensus is unlikely in the next parliament. The Act represents a diminution in prime ministerial power; PMs were notorious for trying to call elections when they thought that they had a good chance of winning

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animist
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Re: British constitutional change

#10 Post by animist » October 28th, 2014, 10:06 pm

Nick wrote: What if Labour win more seats, but no overall majority, or fewer seats, if Scotland is excluded?
I don't see that Scotland's "exclusion" means anything. If Labour wins a majority in the UK, it has won the election, full stop, though creating a workable government could be a different matter. A coalition with the Lib Dems with SNP and Green support, which might just have worked in 2010 but did not happen, would be the most likely outcome - at least these parties all want to stay the EU, which will be the major question

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#11 Post by Nick » October 29th, 2014, 2:15 pm

lewist wrote:
Though the SNP lost...
I think that exposes your complete failure to understand the situation in this country, Nick.
I should perhaps have said "the yes campaign" rather than the SNP.
The SNP is only one part of the equation, albeit the largest. A large proportion of the Yes movement is Labour, and both the SSP and Scottish Greens are part.
...and a significant proportion of the SNP voted no.
The naysayers are gradually finding the shameful extent to which they were deceived. The Yes parties are finding their membership rocketing and it looks as if the situation in England is going from bad to worse.
Yup, a real can of worms. But we are in a blame culture everywhere.
Freedom may come sooner than we think. :)
:popcorn:

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#12 Post by Nick » October 29th, 2014, 2:20 pm

getreal wrote:When did this happen? So, this means when we elect a government they cannot chose when to have the next election (during their 5 year term)- they must sit for the entire period?

No? Really?
Not quite. But it does require a 2/3 majority in the Commons before calling an election. I don't know what would happen if such a majority were not forthcoming, but a government could not command a simple majority, on the budget, say. Hmmm...
Was I eating breakfast when they passed this?
'Fraid I can't answer that... :wink:
How has it been passed without any fanfare? Or any discussion on Newsnight? Or any video blogs by Russell Brand?
There was a lot of talk at the time (very soon after the election). As for Brand, that charlatan was probably having sex with one of his claimed 2,000 conquests and thinking that My Booky-Wook was a work of learned scholarship.

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#13 Post by Nick » October 29th, 2014, 2:33 pm

animist wrote:
Nick wrote: What if Labour win more seats, but no overall majority, or fewer seats, if Scotland is excluded?
I don't see that Scotland's "exclusion" means anything. If Labour wins a majority in the UK, it has won the election, full stop, though creating a workable government could be a different matter.
Hmmm... how much of a full stop can that be, if in the same sentence you question whether a workable government is possible. This was exactly the point I was making.
A coalition with the Lib Dems with SNP and Green support, which might just have worked in 2010 but did not happen, would be the most likely outcome - at least these parties all want to stay the EU, which will be the major question
But as UKIP was the largest party in the EU elections, do you think that is likely? And any gain by the SNP will be at the expense of Labour and the Lib Dems. And do we really want the future of government to depend on Caroline Lucas....? Or, indeed, Ed Miliband....?

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animist
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Re: British constitutional change

#14 Post by animist » October 29th, 2014, 6:00 pm

Nick wrote:Hmmm... how much of a full stop can that be, if in the same sentence you question whether a workable government is possible. This was exactly the point I was making.
um well I think that "winning", ie being the largest single party, does matter because that party's leader gets first go at making viable coalition or other arrangement
Nick wrote:
A coalition with the Lib Dems with SNP and Green support, which might just have worked in 2010 but did not happen, would be the most likely outcome - at least these parties all want to stay the EU, which will be the major question
But as UKIP was the largest party in the EU elections, do you think that is likely? And any gain by the SNP will be at the expense of Labour and the Lib Dems. And do we really want the future of government to depend on Caroline Lucas....? Or, indeed, Ed Miliband....?
I suppose I mean it could at least as likely as any other outcome. Watching TV last night, there was an academic who said that elections are increasingly unpredictable, with five national parties plus the nats in contention - so even with our hallowed FPTP we could be in a future of coalitions of some sort

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Altfish
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Re: British constitutional change

#15 Post by Altfish » October 29th, 2014, 6:36 pm

Nick wrote:...and a significant proportion of the SNP voted no.
Are you sure? Have figures on that been published?
To me that's a bit like saying that a significant proportion of UKIP voted to stay in the EC in the 2017 referendum

coffee
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Re: British constitutional change

#16 Post by coffee » October 30th, 2014, 9:54 am

I wonder if we are we on our way to something better than first past the post voting system?

http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2014/adam-le ... A+blogs%29

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Alan H
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Re: British constitutional change

#17 Post by Alan H » October 30th, 2014, 10:08 am

coffee wrote:I wonder if we are we on our way to something better than first past the post voting system?

http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2014/adam-le ... A+blogs%29
Interesting...
I’ve suggested elsewhere that a starting point – and it is only a starting point – for such a shift would be to enshrine in law that an MP’s primary responsibility is to represent the views of their constituents not those of their party leader, party donors or media moguls. Although, to be clear, that is only a starting point.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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animist
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Re: British constitutional change

#18 Post by animist » October 30th, 2014, 3:06 pm

Alan H wrote:
coffee wrote:I wonder if we are we on our way to something better than first past the post voting system?

http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2014/adam-le ... A+blogs%29
Interesting...
I’ve suggested elsewhere that a starting point – and it is only a starting point – for such a shift would be to enshrine in law that an MP’s primary responsibility is to represent the views of their constituents not those of their party leader, party donors or media moguls. Although, to be clear, that is only a starting point.
actually, how would an MP represent the presumed views of their constituents if not by furthering the aims of a political party? In fact, how would constituents decide which MP to elect if there were no strong party ties? I sometimes wonder if so-called political alienation or apathy is largely a negative description for political consensus on most issues, and is this really not a good thing? For instance, the supposed big issue of immigration is something people seem to think is wrong even if they are not "suffering" from it, and no one really knows what the effects of leaving the EU would be. The media, and politicians themselves, have to keep inflating issues in order to give the appearance of crisis and division, so that people will watch and listen to them

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Re: British constitutional change

#19 Post by Nick » October 30th, 2014, 3:20 pm

Altfish wrote:
Nick wrote:...and a significant proportion of the SNP voted no.
Are you sure? Have figures on that been published?
To me that's a bit like saying that a significant proportion of UKIP voted to stay in the EC in the 2017 referendum
I know it seems strange, but that is what the polls showed prior to the referendum. IIRC, about 5-10% of the SNP vote took this view.

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Altfish
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Re: British constitutional change

#20 Post by Altfish » October 31st, 2014, 7:27 am

Must admit, not seen those figures, have you got a link.

Also, when you said 'significant' I'd expected way above 5-10%

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