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British constitutional change

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

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

Latest post of the previous page:

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

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

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#22 Post by Nick » November 2nd, 2014, 6:00 pm

Altfish wrote:Must admit, not seen those figures, have you got a link.
No, I saw it quoted on Newsnight, I think, but it may be out there on the internet somewhere...
Also, when you said 'significant' I'd expected way above 5-10%
Fair enough. Maybe 'surprising' might have been better. I do wonder, though, if some voters (including/especially Labour ones?) might switch to SNP in the hope of bagging a better deal somehow, even though they don't want a separate Scotland. It has some plausibility, I think.

stevenw888
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Re: British constitutional change

#23 Post by stevenw888 » November 3rd, 2014, 12:09 pm

Very interesting article (the original one, covering the change to a fixed five year term). As I remember, this was agreed between Nick and Dave as part of the agreement to form a coalition. The other was to promise to hold a referendum on the "first past the post" system" vs proportional representation.
I think the the constitutional change to a fixed term parliament is an excellent one.
I have seen too many elections in the past where the incumbent waited till just the right moment to call an election. The Falklands factor, just for one. Elections called in 1983, 1987, 1992, 2001, 2005 all followed this path. Therefore the incumbent party always had a distinct and unfair advantage. Thatcher and others (before the independence of the Bank of England to set interest rates) even used to manipulate the interest rates to cause a feel-good factor just before elections.
Also, the press spent months and months of (pointlessly) speculating over when the next general election would be. Used to drive me nuts - so much so, that I even yearned for fixed term parliaments, just to shut them up!
Now, under the new system, everyone knows when the election will be. The Tories have no specific advantage, and neither do Labour. Non-fixed term parliaments were another way that politicians could undermine the democratic process. The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Altfish
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Re: British constitutional change

#24 Post by Altfish » November 3rd, 2014, 1:28 pm

stevenw888 wrote: Now, under the new system, everyone knows when the election will be. The Tories have no specific advantage, and neither do Labour. Non-fixed term parliaments were another way that politicians could undermine the democratic process. The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
One possible problem (and it is happening now to an extent in the coalition) is that you can end up with 12-months to go and you have a 'dead parliament'

stevenw888
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Re: British constitutional change

#25 Post by stevenw888 » November 3rd, 2014, 2:09 pm

True, but is that a bad thing? I personally think it's good to go 12 months without any swingeing legislation. Think of Belgium - they managed for 18 months without an effective parliament, or new laws, and no-one died!
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Altfish
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Re: British constitutional change

#26 Post by Altfish » November 3rd, 2014, 2:20 pm

stevenw888 wrote:True, but is that a bad thing? I personally think it's good to go 12 months without any swingeing legislation. Think of Belgium - they managed for 18 months without an effective parliament, or new laws, and no-one died!
Take that to its logical conclusion and we don't need government...discuss?!

stevenw888
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Re: British constitutional change

#27 Post by stevenw888 » November 3rd, 2014, 2:47 pm

Not really. I never needed school on Saturdays or Sundays but it sure came in handy on Mondays through Fridays!
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#28 Post by Nick » November 4th, 2014, 5:58 pm

stevenw888 wrote: The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
Hmmmm... The US do seem prone to "lame duck" presidencies, as may happen to Obama's last 2 years in office.

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Dave B
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Re: British constitutional change

#29 Post by Dave B » November 4th, 2014, 7:46 pm

Nick wrote:
stevenw888 wrote: The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
Hmmmm... The US do seem prone to "lame duck" presidencies, as may happen to Obama's last 2 years in office.
So how many really strong national leaders (whether you take the leader as the PM or the cabinet as a whole) have we had recently? Thatcher seemed strong but just look what she achieved for the country in historical terms (so far). Are we stronger because of her? Have heard no one argue that so far.

Anyway - I am always saying, "Forget the Past, work for the Future," so I had better shut up!
"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

#30 Post by animist » November 6th, 2014, 6:42 pm

Nick wrote:
stevenw888 wrote: The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
Hmmmm... The US do seem prone to "lame duck" presidencies, as may happen to Obama's last 2 years in office.
OK Nick, so maybe you are the first! Is this "lame duck" thing, essentially just a gag, really a good reason for criticising what must surely be a rational aspect of government? I think that as so often, it is just history which makes us Brits want to value things like the ruling lot being able to manipulate the dates of elections in order to stay in power. Another aspect to this debate is that in fact the UK parliaments did have a terminal date of five (formerly seven) years before the new law was passed, so in fact any ruling party would eventually become a lame duck - but they had the unfair advantage over the opposition of choosing when to dissolve parliament

Fia
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Re: British constitutional change

#31 Post by Fia » November 6th, 2014, 7:53 pm

How about fixed terms but with the people being able to demand an election through the govt petition site? It would need a far shorter petition span than the usual year and have a well decent percentage of the populace, but it might be the basis of a good compromise?

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#32 Post by Nick » November 7th, 2014, 4:21 pm

Fia wrote:How about fixed terms but with the people being able to demand an election through the govt petition site? It would need a far shorter petition span than the usual year and have a well decent percentage of the populace, but it might be the basis of a good compromise?
I can see what you are trying to do, but can you honestly see any time when there would not be a petition against the Government? :shrug:

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Re: British constitutional change

#33 Post by Nick » November 7th, 2014, 4:27 pm

animist wrote:
Nick wrote:
stevenw888 wrote: The US has had fixed term parliaments for about 200 years and I never heard anyone moan about it.
Hmmmm... The US do seem prone to "lame duck" presidencies, as may happen to Obama's last 2 years in office.
OK Nick, so maybe you are the first!
I doubt it...
Is this "lame duck" thing, essentially just a gag, really a good reason for criticising what must surely be a rational aspect of government?
Not sure quite what you mean. Are you saying there can be no such thing as a "lame duck" government?
I think that as so often, it is just history which makes us Brits want to value things like the ruling lot being able to manipulate the dates of elections in order to stay in power. Another aspect to this debate is that in fact the UK parliaments did have a terminal date of five (formerly seven) years before the new law was passed, so in fact any ruling party would eventually become a lame duck -
Not really. So long as they could get there bills passed through the Commons, they would not be a lame duck, would they? Perviously, the threshold for getting rid of lame duck governments was lower- just a straight simple majority vote of no confidence. Now, under the new law it is much higher.
but they had the unfair advantage over the opposition of choosing when to dissolve parliament
Possibly, but that is a separate matter.

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Alan H
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Re: British constitutional change

#34 Post by Alan H » November 7th, 2014, 4:33 pm

Nick wrote:
Fia wrote:How about fixed terms but with the people being able to demand an election through the govt petition site? It would need a far shorter petition span than the usual year and have a well decent percentage of the populace, but it might be the basis of a good compromise?
I can see what you are trying to do, but can you honestly see any time when there would not be a petition against the Government? :shrug:
It's about numbers in a democracy, of course, but what would that situation tell you about the Government?
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?

Nick
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Re: British constitutional change

#35 Post by Nick » November 7th, 2014, 4:52 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:I can see what you are trying to do, but can you honestly see any time when there would not be a petition against the Government? :shrug:
It's about numbers in a democracy, of course, but what would that situation tell you about the Government?
I think it would say rather more about the petitioners!

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Alan H
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Re: British constitutional change

#36 Post by Alan H » November 7th, 2014, 4:54 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:I can see what you are trying to do, but can you honestly see any time when there would not be a petition against the Government? :shrug:
It's about numbers in a democracy, of course, but what would that situation tell you about the Government?
I think it would say rather more about the petitioners!
:sad:
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

#37 Post by animist » November 8th, 2014, 9:20 am

Nick wrote:
Is this "lame duck" thing, essentially just a gag, really a good reason for criticising what must surely be a rational aspect of government?
Not sure quite what you mean. Are you saying there can be no such thing as a "lame duck" government?
not really. "Gag" was the wrong word probably, but the point is that all governments are going to become lamer as the terminal date for parliaments/presidencies approaches, so I don't see the "lame duck" aspect as relevant to this issue
Nick wrote:
I think that as so often, it is just history which makes us Brits want to value things like the ruling lot being able to manipulate the dates of elections in order to stay in power. Another aspect to this debate is that in fact the UK parliaments did have a terminal date of five (formerly seven) years before the new law was passed, so in fact any ruling party would eventually become a lame duck -
Not really. So long as they could get there bills passed through the Commons, they would not be a lame duck, would they? Perviously, the threshold for getting rid of lame duck governments was lower- just a straight simple majority vote of no confidence. Now, under the new law it is much higher.
I am confused by your arguments: yes, obviously if a government can get its legislation passed then it is not a lame duck, but that ability diminishes towards the end of the parliament/presidency whatever the constitutional arrangements are. How easy it is to get rid of unpopular governments is nothing to do with whether they are lame ducks!
Nick wrote:
but they had the unfair advantage over the opposition of choosing when to dissolve parliament
Possibly, but that is a separate matter.
no, it is not a separate matter, it is one of the main reasons for criticising the previous arrangement whereby a government might hope to use favourable opinion poll ratings to perpetuate its hold on the electorate - Steven provided some good examples of this, eg the Falklands Factor in 1983 and the "Never Had It So Good" election of 1959

coffee
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Re: British constitutional change

#38 Post by coffee » November 17th, 2014, 9:59 am

I welcome that elections are no longer about two main political parties, I can get used to coalition, that is when real competition for policy ideas start and voters start to pick and choose what they like, and that is how it should be. The better option than that that I heard of is proportional representation and I hope that will come soon or latter. For now you can keep an eye on this

Manifesto watch: Where parties stand on key issues
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29642613

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Alan H
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Re: British constitutional change

#39 Post by Alan H » November 17th, 2014, 10:38 am

coffee wrote:I welcome that elections are no longer about two main political parties, I can get used to coalition, that is when real competition for policy ideas start and voters start to pick and choose what they like, and that is how it should be.
But for many, coalitions have been fatally tarnished by the present one. The LibDems may well have prevented a few Tory policies getting through, but they failed to change the voting system and have been the enablers of the dismantling of the state and the sell-off of the Royal Mail and the NHS, continuing what Thatcher started.
The better option than that that I heard of is proportional representation and I hope that will come soon or latter.
Almost certainly the best option, but the Tories didn't want it and, as has been shown, if they have any power, it will never be an option.
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?

coffee
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Re: British constitutional change

#40 Post by coffee » November 17th, 2014, 10:50 am

Almost certainly the best option, but the Tories didn't want it and, as has been shown, if they have any power, it will never be an option.
I will keep that in mind for the coming election. Thanks

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Alan H
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Re: British constitutional change

#41 Post by Alan H » November 17th, 2014, 11:01 am

coffee wrote:
Almost certainly the best option, but the Tories didn't want it and, as has been shown, if they have any power, it will never be an option.
I will keep that in mind for the coming election. Thanks
ISTM that that's what the LibDems wanted from their term of power sharing with the Tories. The Tories are better at controlling, so the question that was asked and the debate that was framed meant that the LibDems weren't ever going to get their way - it would have been a disaster for the Tories, therefore it could never be - and was never - allowed to happen. All the LibDems have therefore been able to do in 'power' was kowtow to their Lords and Masters and bide their time, hoping the backlash wouldn't be too bad. I think they'll be in for a surprise because just about everything that this Government has done is the antithesis of LibDem ideas and principles.
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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