Government of all the losers – own GOAL?

I assumed the Lib Dems would negotiate with both sides, even though they said they would just negotiate first with the Conservatives to see if they could do a deal. We now learn Vince Cable was meeting his Labour friends in private whilst David Laws was meeting Conservatives in public. Why didn’t the Lib Dems announce at the beginning it was a contract race or auction, so all could see what it was about and could bid accordingly?

It’s no advert for the “new politics”. It is fascinating that Lib Dems have struggled and argued for 34 years for another chance of a hung Parliament. Now their prayers have been answered they do not know what to do and are by all accounts hopelessly split over whether to do a deal, what type of deal to do and with whom.

On display are all the features of hung Parliament some of us warned about. The politicians have to try to make deals, which entails ditching important promises to electors because no party has the votes to keep its word, and seeking to decide who should govern and how they should govern behind closed doors. Meanwhile government drifts dangerously, when we need someone in charge who can start to sort out the finances in a way designed to fuel and further recovery, and overhaul the approach to the banks with recovery in mind. We need greater honesty and transparency from our politicians. The Lib Dem way of negotiating offers less of all of these things.

I think Gordon Brown was right to resign. However, he has not resigned forthwith and remains in Downing Street. We now know that if Labour does patch up a deal with various parties and stays in office, we will have a Prime Minister no-one voted for as Leader, a person who did not take part if the famous debates to give us all a choice of Prime Minister.

Many Conservatives are resolutely against the Alternative vote. It is not proportionate. Indeed it woudl have cut Conservative representation in past elections, when Conservatives got a smaller share of the seats than they had of the vote. It would be quite wrong for any government to seek to introduce this without first asking the British people in a referendum.

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62 Comments

  1. Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    How do you find enough time to write this blog ?!?

  2. Michael Lewis
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Let them have a deal. It needs Plaid Cymru to form a coalition. Have you ever heard them ? I can tell you: they are idiots, total idiots. The leader can't string a few words together. It would be a disaster. Short term pain, illegitimate government in power, hopefully the public then wake up and get rid of them when it collapses.

  3. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    We have reached the end of the line on concessions. No more; that was our final offer. And we can add a demand of our own – Vince Cable's head on a platter.

    Take heart. If we have to stay in opposition, then the 'rainbow coalition' will grossly misgovern the country and squabble perpetually. We will get a landslide next time round, and the more aware Labour MPs – Reid, Blunkett, Abbot, Hoey etc – can see it coming and are greatly worried.

    Then we can really take on the EU.

  4. Norman
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Even before the election this Parliament was going to be a poisoned chalice for whomever won. It is doubly so now. Stand firm and don't give in to the Lib Dems demands however much the current leadership want that.

    If Labour and the Lib Dems think they can run the country as a minority coalition, with the nationalists abstaining, and by some miracle force through a change to the voting system let them try then step in to pick up the pieces in a years time.

    Everyone here at the office is aghast today at the prospect of being led by Brown for another 6 months – by staying on in the vain hope of clinging to power for a few more months he's handed the Conservatives a marvelous opportunity, don't squander it by pandering to the Lib Dems.

  5. Richard
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I do not understand why David Cameron has offered a referendum on AV to buy Lib Dem support. If there is to be a referendum on some form of PR (which AV isn't, as you say), there should be a proper examination of the options first, so the public can make an informed choice. Then the public should get a choice between some recommended form of PR and first past the post (with constituencies the same size). I didn't know what the alternative forms of PR were until yesterday & I guess 90% of the electorate are in the same boat. I hope backbench MPs, both Labour and Conservative, will vote this down in defiance of the agreement. If our constitution is to be changed in this fundamental way it should happen after full public debate on the alternatives. I'd rather see us in opposition to the ludicrous and shoddy putative 'progressive' coalition than be bounced by the Liberals into this nonsense.

    • Richard
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the idea is to agree that there will be a smaller number of constituencies, all the same size, first-past-the-post unless the referendum goes for AV, with the Conservatives expecting the referendum to turn down AV. Lets hope so – that could be a good outcome.

  6. simon
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Surely this would be the end of the Lib Dem party .

    They would lose all credibility and claim to integrity and just get absorbed into Nu Labour .

    No matter how badly the coalition screwed up they would keep getting voted in .

    We would end up with a 1 party political system .

    I reckon Clegg is smart enough to see where it would all end up but a lot of his MP's aren't or aren't bothered .

  7. Antisthenes
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Let the losers govern for a month or two it will not hold up as the markets will punish them (from the day they take office as they wont trust them to do an effective job at solving the economic problems) because their half baked economic policies will perpetuate the mess Labour got the country into. The voters will punish them as well and return a Conservative party with a working majority and then the real business of putting Britain back on it's feet can begin.

    What ever happens the Conservative party should not go it alone that is fraught with so much danger it is hardly worth thinking about.

  8. Mick Anderson
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Government of the people for the benefit of the politicians.

    Nothing changes.

  9. Robert George
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    John, the attitude of the Conservative Party to the alternative vote is wrong. Yes, if you applied it retrospectively to previous elections the conservatives would have lost some seats. BUT we are talking about the future not the past. What a transferrable vote does do is to ensure that every electors vote will eventually be for either the first or second party in a constituency. Every vote has eventually to fall into the hands of one of the two main competitors.

    This system wipes out third parties, always. It has certainly done so in Australia and would do the same in the UK. Voters like making a protest vote but their second or third preference always brings the vote home to one of the main parties.

    It beggars belief that the average Tory MP cannot work this out.

    I would also like to observe that Cable the "man of principle" is the man who has been negotiating in secret with Labour. The only principle, which needs to be put in place immediately is a strong economic policy and yet this man is contemplating leaving Brown in charge for another 2 or 3 or 6 or ?? months. The Lib dems contemplate putting wrecker Brown back in charge of the economy so long as he will promise to toddle off some time in the future.

    Cleggs party is in la la land.

  10. stabledoor
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I am so angry I can hardly type – the rank hypocrisy of Clegg and Cable, the arrogance, the smugness. the gloating of Labour. I can see why Adam Boulton got so angry yesterday – the seething rage and tension simmering below the surface with everyone I talk to. How dare they treat us with such contempt. The Tories are doing their best to be transparent and reasonable – Labour and Liberals are doing the exact opposite as they did all the way through the campaign lying and spinning their vacuous platitudes.

    It is time for an English parliament – I am sick of being shafted by the scotch people

  11. Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    A quandary for the Conservatives should they just let Brown and Clegg and various others form a government in the knowledge that it cannot last and there will be another election perhaps later this year. But if the losers of the election then change the voting system Conservatives would never get back into power.

    There is to my mind something very wrong with the idea being put about that they must do everything they can to prevent a Conservative government, it is up to the electors to choose who the government is, not the parties who lost the election to invent a system with the clear intention of denying the voters choice by always forcing a left leaning administration.

  12. Eddie
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Own goal by David Cameron?

    If the Conservatives had come out with policies that would have united the various factions there would have been a majority and Cameron would have been sitting in No 10 today. You can’t blame Labour, you can’t blame the LibDems, you can’t blame UKIP, you can’t blame the Nats the blame lies with David Cameron and the Conservative party. A party you are a member off.

  13. Terry Lynch
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I am a neighbour of Stuart Munro and acted as a teller for our party for an hour or so at the Swallowfield Polling Station last Thursday; in the 1960s, I helped distribute promotional material (little floppy plastic EPs) for Conservative Party Central Office and have voted Conservative at every General Election since. David Cameron's speech in which he made the offer to the Liberal Democrats was superb; I felt that he genuinely had the best interests of our country at heart – the first time since Margaret Thatcher's first term as PM. He seemed to correctly judge the mood of the country. It has gone down ever since with most politicians reverting to pre election type, though David Cameron has not jumped on the same bandwagon.
    Re a "fair vote". If I vote for a candidate who does not win the seat, how valuable is my vote? Little, if anything. The simple solution – for every 2 constituencies in England have one, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Island, as they all have varying degrees of devolved government, merge 3 constituencies into one. You would have approximately 304 constituencies. Elect 304 MPs by the present system; the remaining 304 MPs would be taken from a list on the basis of the percentage of votes gained at the election. (No person standing in a costituency may also appear on the other list.) If a party wins 140 seats with 40% of the vote, they would have a further 122 MPs; if a party wins no seats, but achieves 2% of the votes, they would have 6 MPs – every individual vote has due value!!! My system would allow the "outstanding individual" still to be elected, virtually eliminate tactical voting and give a genuine reflection of people's view represented in Parliament. We only seem to have good government, when our leaders have the ear of the people, so why not properly reflect that at every General Election. It might even encourage more people to vote.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised at the horse trading that is going on.

    Clearly none of us outside of the negotiating rooms in question know exactly what is happening, but honest Government appears to be taking second place with both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party serving up self interest as the main course.

    This whole sorry mess with Brown and the Clegg has the fingers of Lord Mandy all over it.

    To his credit David Cameron appears to be acting in an honerable manner, but he should have clarified exactly what the terms of negotiation were, in advance of any talks with Clegg, so he knew where he stood at the outset. If he did that, and Clegg has back tracked on that deal, then he knows exactly what kind of person he is negotiating with.

    If Clegg was open with Cameron about his intentions to negotiate with both sides at the outset, then Cameron should have known he could be drawn into a Dutch Auction.

    Vince Cable seems to have the same mathematical problem as Brown (neither can add up figures especially when they have £ signs in front of them), so it is no surprise he was involved only on that side of the negotiations.

    If the Lib Dems choose Labour, then the devolved Parliaments will be rubbing their hands with glee.
    Alex Hammond and his fellow Nationalists will be planning to spend even more (at the expense of the English taxpayers) in their excitement of being needed to prop up a Lab/Lib pact.

    What price Democracy. Never a truer word. What price indeed.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Awaiting moderation.

      I thought I was being rather restrained.

  15. JohnRS
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    If Cameron had gone to the country with his Lisbon promise intact he'd be in Downing Street today.

    For the impending second election he needs to get this sorted out, the 20+ seats he lost due to UKIP splitting the anti-Labour vote will be needed next time around. Having betrayed himself last time it'll need a full in/out vote this time to get UKIP on board.

    An English Parliament is now vital. Never again can a Celtic Coalition be allowed to form to protect their undeserved high levels of state spending at the expense (literally!) of the English. After all we are 80% of the UK and should have our will considered and respected separately.

    A Conservative manifesto with many more truly conservative polices will be needed as well. Serious controls on immigration, removing green taxes, moving to a small government, removal of the surveillance state, local control of as many things as possible…all need much more emphasis.

  16. Simon D
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    This was very predictable and is the worst possible advert for PR, which would deliver a permanent series of hung parliaments. Do we really want the current pantomime to be repeated at every election? I did not vote for a hung parliament or for the Liberal Democrats. I voted for a Conservative government. Why have I not got such a government, given that my party received the most votes and won the most seats despite the huge bias of the system in favour of the Labour Party?

    I want to see the reform set out in the Conservative Manifesto – a reduced number of seats, constituencies of the same size and an end to the interference of Scottish and Welsh MPs in English issues. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should all be placed on an equal footing in terms of devolution.

    If we are going to introduce some kind of PR, the issue should be put to a referendum, although both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats must be aware they would lose such a vote.

  17. Tedgo
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I think your colleague Carswell has a point. Rather than having a tiny handful of people meeting in private to determine the shape of the next government, we should allow David Cameron to lead a debate in Parliament on forming a minority government. Those MP's from all other parties who would support him should declare themselves in the national interest.

    If David cannot get a working majority then we should re run the election with only the leading two candidates in each constituency.

    Obviously he would need 20 extra MP's to support such an approach.

  18. Citizen Responsible
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    How can Clegg and Cable claim their goal is a stable government and then negotiate to form a coalition with a party which is going to spend the next 4 months in a bitter leadership contest?

  19. Pat
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The markets can't hold off caning the pond much longer- I'm amazed they've waited this long. Inflation is set to rise. And it will take years to overcome the problems.
    Its probably best that the lidlabs take office on a wafer thin fragile economy with the results of their profligacy about to strike- those who would have blamed the mess on the current government whoever it was will go against the rainbow- plus the liblabs will be seen as acting in bad faith by sufficient votes to enable their defeat in autumn- and given their fragility, they are unlikely to be able to avoid that.
    Better to get elected with a mandate to solve the problems that too many are now blind to than to try to solve them without sufficient mandate.
    And I'm not at all sure that AV would disadvantage the tories- only a party list system would do that.

  20. Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I remember the BBC saying a few days ago that "everybody is talking to everybody" so I assume everybody knew it. The LDs made it quite clear that the Conservatives were preferred bidders & I am sure they still are. However if they won't match Labour's bid they have no complaint if it isn't taken.

    You are absoulutely right that AV isn't PR & isn't particularly in the Conservative interest., because it doesn't solve the problem of Labour seats being smaller. For that reason endorsing a referendum on PR & going for a clean reform would be better for them. Equally if the Conservatives really believe the public are happy with FPTP they should welcome a referendum to prove it. If not any criticism of the LDs for "putting party before country" is likely to rebound even more than the "coalition of losers" label from Conservatives that lost too.

  21. Javelin
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I have listened to a number of radio talk shows and watched a number of news prgrammes.

    The massively over whelmin. Opinion is that the LibDems simply can't make their mind up. They are flip flopping and have reverted to type. Neither left nor right but nowhere in between. Every HOUR this goes on for makes a YEAR that PR won't happen. The public hear the LibDems wanting a stable Government but just seeking PR.

    Every member of the public also says the Labour parties grap for power shows how shallow they are too.

    Every member of the public has been impressed by the Torys. Best to call another election ASAP and let the electorate decide who the mature adults are.

  22. grahams
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The Electoral Reform Society excludes the two-round voting system from its directory of voting systems on the grounds that it is "not on the table", even though it works well in our neighbour France. It is time that someone put it on the table. So far as I can see, it is the only alternative system that would increase the influence of voters, be simple to understand, ensure that all MPs had actually been voted for by their constituents and militate against extremists (because they would garner few new votes in a run-off between the two leading minority candidates). Once the first round of votes had been counted, voters would be able to assess the national trend and the local arithmetic and use their run-off vote to achieve the best available result in that light. In the event of there being no majority party in prospect, possible coalitions would become apparent, or be teased out, between the two voting rounds so electors would not be excluded from the haggling that seems bound to ensue from anything other than the first past the post system. I fancy that the two round system is not considered because only the voters benefit, not the party machines.

  23. Francis Irving
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Out of interest, John, what voting system do you prefer?

    It isn't fair that parties like UKIP and the BNP got no seats when they got more votes than all the nationalist parties. Even the English Democrats are large enough (64,000 votes) they should have at least one seat.

    I assume on that basis you oppose FPTP, because it is undemocratic, and you are generally pro-democracy.

    Would love to see positive engagement from the right on voting reform.

  24. Steve Cox
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Given the plethora of unelected ministers we have been cursed with in the Pathetic Parliament – Mandelson and Adonis spring readily to mind, and never forgetting that Brown was never elected either as leader of his party or as Prime Minister – the prospect of living under another gubbins of unelected or quasi-elected fools fills me with horror. Really, what is the point of our democratic system when it produces such a sham outcome?

    I would also like to point out some information that Christopher Booker provided this morning, relevant to many discussions on this blog.

    "One symptom of this on Thursday was the hidden “Ukip effect”. Although support for its individual candidates may have looked derisory, put together they polled some 900,000 votes, making Ukip easily the fourth largest party – and, more significantly, in around 20 seats which the Tories failed to win or hold, Ukip’s vote more than cancelled out the extent by which the Tories lost. If most of those votes had gone to the Tories, Mr Cameron might just have scraped that overall majority."

    So there we have it. If Cameron had played his hand regarding the EU referendum more cleverly and won UKIP over to his side, Samantha may now already have been choosing the new curtains for No. 10. Instead, we are saddled with the worst pig's ear of a cocked-up mess imaginable. I am blazingly angry.

  25. Daniel Worley
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Was just wondering, I personally voted for Edward Garnier not David Cameron because unfortunately that is the electoral system we use. Since you, and other like you, verdantly defend this system I find it very hypocritical that you claim the people wont have voted for which ever person labour try and hopefully fail to install as Prime Minister

  26. Rich
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Politicians are always "ditching important promises to electors"! In any case, I don't recall any substantive promises from David Cameron during the campaign. Even if I had heard any, I'd assume he'd have weaseled out of them in the event he was elected, the same way he did with the referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

    How do you like your socialism? New Lab, Blue Lab or Lib Dim – it really doesn't make any difference, does it?

  27. David B
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    A clasic case of be careful what you wish for. A number of people wanted the choice of a Hung Parlimant on the ballet paper, well they got it.

    The question is how long will it take us to sort out not just the political mess, but also the economic mess.

    The bond markets have already started pushing interest rates up, it will not take long before our mortgage rates follow

  28. Jonathan Tee
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    It all feels a bit depressing today. I had hoped to see the Lib-Con deal up and running instead of hearing Lord Ashdown selling Lib-Lab on the Today programme.

    The Conservatives have said yes to all the Libs key policies, and offered an AV referendum. What more can the Lib-Dems possibly ask for? They could have the whole deal – progressive tax reform, enhanced social mobility through the schools, restoration of liberty, electoral reform, return to sound financing. Any Whig would be saying yes.

    Labour is offering more or less the same deal on electoral reform, having already demonstrated their lack of good faith with Jenkins. Apart from that they seem to be offering the Lib-Dems a ride with them into oblivion. We all know that Labour can't manage the economy, they've made it abundently clear over the last 10 years. We all know they hold our ancient liberties in contempt. We know they are not in favour of progressive taxation, social mobility nor electoral reform.

    If the Liberal Democrats refuse the Conservatives on this, then we know the Social Democrats didn't merge with the Liberal Party – they devoured them.

  29. Michael
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood ROCKS!!!

  30. James
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    John – If there were a whipped conservative vote in the HoC for the Alternative vote – How would you vote ?

  31. Kevin Peat
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Were it not for the right wing tabloids successfully spooking UKIP voters such as me, David Cameron would have lost to Labour.

  32. emil
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Now that push comes to shove I doubt there would be a parliamentary majority for AV , certainly would involve a few Labour turkeys voting for christmas.

    Promise a referendum on AV, I very much doubt the majority of the public (you know the non "progressives") would have much appetite for this after the events of past couple of days. A low risk strategy and our nation certainly cannot afford another few months (at least) of the "resigned" Brown having to give all sorts of concessions to his Celtic mates day by day. Deficit reduction anyone? pah

  33. Stuart Fairney
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The Labour/Lib dem coalition is a dead letter surely because they need the SNP and Plaid Cymru to get to 324 (which by my maths is the majority since Sinn Fein don't take their seats and they have five). This must be a nonsense when you consider…

    1. Some unknown person becomes PM but we know he or she is unelected, again (although I’m sending money to Hattie’s campaign)
    2. Serious constitutional changes without reference to us, again
    3. Propping up Labour would be electorally disastrous surely
    4. A 4-way coalition is so unstable and I don't think the Lib Dems can be delivered en masse for any period of time as they are basically amateurs

    So this must just be a negotiating point, I can't believe it's remotely serious. A nationalist abstention is insufficient, they need them to vote with the LibDem/Labour whip. The only possibility is the proverbial one-bill queen’s speech to change the voting system without reference to the people and then off to the polls again.

    This is close to a coup d'etat and hardly democracy in any sense. One might ponder why the people of Scotland and Wales got referenda on their constitutional change but not the English, again.

    The tories now need to play very hard ball indeed. Saying to the Scots and Welsh, right then boys, vote for this and if we ever form a government again we will have a nationwide vote on Scots and Welsh independence. The nationalists could hardly oppose this yet it is the last thing they would want having suckled at the English teat for so long. The last figures I saw, Scotland get £117 for every £100 in tax they pay, Wales £125 and they have probably gotten worse.

    Also for the next election their needs to be a deal with UKIP for an in/out referendum in exchange for withdrawal from seats the tories can win. That should give another 20 and the disaster that was the A-list needs to be binned. On can understand why the voters in some areas did not want the socialite daughters of the very wealthy with very odd names but no local links, parachuted in to patronize them in their 'funny little semis'. The wind is blowing the other way today, the tories need to realise that.

  34. emil
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    John,

    could you perhaps confirm newspaper reports that our government, who felt £6billion "taken out" of our economy through the jobs tax would halt the recovery and throw us back into double dip recession , just contributed roughly £10billion to bale out the Eurozone?

  35. Posted May 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    It would definitely be problematic if Labour lead a coalition government with an unelected leader and I think it would not be in their interests to do this.
    For observers, whatever happens, politics could not be more interesting. Personally I'd like to see who this leader is and if it is one of the new generation, what effect that has. With the Lib Dems and Conservative leaders being from a younger "Generation Jones". I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more discussion about the major transition between generations we are witnessing in the leadership of our country. After 13 long years of Baby Boomer Prime Ministers, and even longer with a Baby Boomer-dominated Parliament, we now have a new generation in charge: Generation Jones…the previously lost generation between the Boomers and Generation X. We are likely to now have a GenJones PM in Cameron (or possibly David Miliband), and Parliament has now undergone a dramatic shift from Boomer to Joneser domination. In other Western countries in recent years, a lot of media attention has accompanied this Boomer to GenJones transition. In fact, it got so much media buzz after Joneser Barack Obama came to power that The Associated Press’ annual Trend Report named The Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.
    This commentary about GenJones in The Independent last week has a very interesting take on the meaning of Clegg and Cameron’s identities as GenJonesers: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators

    I also found this site worth looking at to get a quick sense of GenJones in the UK: http://www.generationjones.org.uk/

  36. THE ESSEX GIRLS
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Despite claims to put the country before party that's clearly what the Lib & Lab negotiating teams are demonstrating.
    And never to underestimate the influence of personal self-interest it's clear that Messrs Cable & Campbell M are far likelier in the twilights of their political careers to land the posts of Chancellor and Foreign Secretary. Ummm…

    Just coming through from Laura Kuenssberg as we sit here at 2.28 – news to that the Lab/Lib talks did not go well and the economic position is the main reason.

    Good source and great reporting if you're right, Laura.
    Good news too!

  37. Jamess
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Do you have suggestions on a better system of electoral reform? PR would be a disaster, putting power into the leaders of the different parties, yet FPTP leaves people voting for people they don't want in order to keep worse people out.

    I would like to see a two stage election in each constituency, where if no-one gets 50% on the first time, candidates could pass on their votes to another candidate until someone obtains 50% of the votes. If that person isn't the candidate who got the most votes from the electorate then there would be a second vote between those two people.

    That way I could vote for whoever I wanted knowing that that vote will influence who will be in the second round. For instance in your seat, getting over 50% means that there would only be one round of elections but in Morley and Outwood UKIP would have given their votes to the Conservatives, the Lib Dems to Labour and there would be a second election between Labour and the Conservatives.

  38. Bob
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    If Cameron had offered a referendum on the EU he would have walked the election.

    Whay didn't he?

  39. pauper
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Very clever headline, Mr Redwood.

    As a professional politician, do you find the present goings-on fascinating or horrifying?

    We've had referendums on exotic voting systems for half a century: they call them general elections. Every election they're on offer at the Liberal stall, and every election the punters say "No thanks. I'd rather nail my tongue to a bus." I suspect that Mr Cameron may offer a referendum in perfect security.

  40. Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Losers coalition = long term win for the Conservatives.

  41. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    It is clear to me that 3 party politics seems to be a load of nonsense.

    Why don't those people in the Lib/Dems who are really Labour – Lite simply join Labour and, likewise, those Lib/Dems who are closet conservatives – join the Conservatives.

    What are the big differences?

    The main philosophical differences seem to be:

    Big government – state interference in everything – top down, centralized, tick box control of public and private sector – gradual movement towards Police state – surveillance society – monitoring of phone calls, emails etc. – dumbing down of education so that everyone seems to do well

    or

    Small government, local delivery of public services, civil rights guaranteed, an acknowledgement of the fact that business creates wealth and that business must be encouraged and incentivised, belief in excellence in education for everyone

  42. Christine Constable
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that England has voted overwhelmingly Conservative, and whilst Wales and Scotland already have the administrations their people have voted for England if facing the prospect of not having the administration it has voted for.

    This was the argument put forward by the Scots for devolution, why should they keep having a Conservative government, when their own country voted Labour?

    Time has moved on, now England finds herself in exactly the same situation, WHY should the English have to endure a Labour/Lib Dem alliance when England voted for the Conservatives?

    You have consistently rejected the right of England to determine her own future and instead you and the Conservatives are content to see the English Taxpayer stripped bare to preserve a Union that relies on English taxpayers money to prop up. Should it go to a Lib Dem/Labour government, the people of England will have taxation without representation and the Tories will be culpable for this, by refusing to allow the people of England to have the same democratic rights as those enjoyed by the Welsh, Irish and Scots, namely a Parliament of our own.

    The Conservatives not only are dragging their feet on electoral reform, but on devolution as well and this is intolerable.

    Many people in England would like to see the Tories grasp the nettle and offer the English a vote on devolution, if we had such a vote and a Parliament was put forward as an option then the clamour for electoral reform would recede, as all parts of the Union would start to get the government their people voted for.

    Then of course comes the position of the upper House, the Parliament of the Union, where PR can operate ad nauseum.

    It is sad that the Conservatives fear giving England democracy, part of the reason the people won't endorse you and why we are in the mess we are in.

  43. Norman Dee
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Doesn't matter they don't like AV, with a free vote, the tories against it and a good proportion of the Labour party joining them in the lobby, it isn't going to happen.

  44. Sally C.
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    JR, If David Cameron is not our PM at the end of all this horsetrading, our democratic election will have been hijacked and we, the English Conservative voters, will have betrayed by the system. The LibDems have no mandate for electoral reform. They are verging on Communist at their core, which is why Nick Clegg was a Trojan horse. He looks like David Cameron's younger brother, but looks deceive. England cannot be run by Scottish socialists after the overwhelming majority that the Conservative party won in England.

  45. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    £856,000,000,000,000 ++ as we speak. Rising by £6,000 a SECOND.
    Meanwhile the Whigs (Lib Dems) are beside themselves with self importance as they discuss PR with the disgusted Conservatives.
    Mr Brown, once Big Brother, now looks like the ghost of Christmas Past.

    • simon
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Think you have got 3 too many zeros there Mike .

      No party has ever treated Parliament and the country with the contempt of the outgoing administration .

      The rank and file of the Labour party really need to look at what it has become .

      It's lost all the ideological appeal of it's earlier iterations and exists now only to fulfil the ambitions of it's power mad leaders .

  46. Michael Lewis
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Now it appears Labour have told Clegg where to go, lets see the Tories do the same, have another election if needed. Clegg has shown himself an opportunist.

  47. Tim Chick
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    In all the discussion about the result of the General Election no one seems to have noticed the local election results.

    I see that the Conservatives lost control of 8 councils and 119 councillors. Labour gained control of 15 councils and 411 councillors. Should we not be concerned about this for the longer term?

  48. Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    The sudden spotlight on the Lib Dems exposes that they are really two different parties. In the urban North, they pose as left-wing and compete with Labour. In rural/middle-class areas they pose as middle-of-the road and compete with the Tories. Ironically, the two different types of Lib Dem seem to detest the parties they more try to resemble. They will be bi-polar coalition partners.
    I suggest the impact of UKIP has been misunderstood. I suspect that quite a few of those who voted for UKIP were former Tories who had decided they did not trust David Cameron and would therefore not vote Conservative. Their choice was thus between abstention and voting UKIP. The latter gave a better signal of the nature of their alienation than simply abstaining.
    We may be entering a period when AV begins to favour the right and not the left. Mr.Cameron and his clique seem intent on purging the Conservative Party of its traditionalists. If so, the Conservative Party may split between the Unionists (who favour Union with Europe and Scotland) and the English Party (who want to split). It would then be very helpful if former Tories could mark their ballot papers: English Party – 1; Unionist (Cameroon) Party – 2; Monster Raving Loony Party – 3; Lib Dem, Lab and Others – None.
    Scotland is a scandal. Scottish MPs should be turfed out of Westminster. I favour repealing the Act of Union 1707; but I am open to other proposals with similar effects. What is intolerable is that nothing whatever has been done about this outrageous anomoly.

  49. Acorn
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    You all know me by now, so I apologise for saying it again, we have to separate the executive from the legislature. This election has proved the case, I submit.

    You will have seen that the newly elected MPs have played no part in the auction for leadership of this nation. This is how it works in the real commercial world; you have to put all the eggs in the leader's basket and trust them. No matter how democratic the company is, at some level in the organisation, there has to be one person who kicks arse. That is the way it has to be.

    The next government has a huge task. Principally to destroy the virus that is socialism. This will be hard. The labour Marxist government has spent thirteen years getting the populace hooked on welfare benefits. They have deliberately created a beholden client state.

    This election has also told us that there is a great desire for an English parliament sitting in Westminster; and, I suggest, a federal structure for the UK. The House of Lords should be abolished and become the seat of the new federal government. The only place where all 650 MPs, from the four nations, can legislate for the UK.

  50. Francis Irving
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Jamess – what you've described *is* pretty well what AV is!

    AV is completely different from AV+. AV is not proportional, and completely maintains the constituency link. It just lets you rank the candidates in preference.

    I'd expect Tories to be in favour of AV as a refinement to FPTP that kicks out tactical voting.

    I recommend reading the Jenkins report for some background on electoral reform, if it something you've never considered before (but you're beginning to realise UKIP etc. need) http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/docum

  51. Jamess
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    John,

    it looks like there will be a call for a referendum for AV. I hope you and other Euro-sceptic MP's will vote against it unless it also calls for a referendum on Europe.

    After all, being a region of another country is a bigger constitutional change than how a local MP is selected.

  52. DennisA
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    The sad thing is that we are going be stitched up with even more green nonsense to save the planet and escalating energy prices. Apparently it snowed in Newcastle today, I wonder if they felt the chill at Northern Rock, where the taxpayer is still funding the Labour party's local charities, including their football team.

  53. Javelin
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Cameron will be the loser if he thinks £6bn in cuts is enough to stop a crisis. The markets will be looking for North of £60bn.

    I sincerely hope that Cameron is trying to get the markets to punish him for not cutting enough. Then using them as excuse.

    My head is spinning. This autumn will be a rough ride.

    • Mark
      Posted May 12, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I expect the markets are looking for £150bn cuts in under 5 years. Ultimately, it will be a case of cutting more than the other pseudo-AAA economies – and maybe some lower ranking ones too if we get downgraded.

  54. OurSally
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    PR or AV is what you make it. Anyone voting, for example, for UKIP right now knows that it is a wasted vote, much the same as spoiling one's vote. In Germany, where we are used to tactical voting, we know that the second vote means something, and use it accordingly. The fringe parties who people voted for out of protest may find they get no votes at all under PR.

  55. Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that Cameron is trying to get the markets to punish him for not cutting enough. Then using them as excuse.

  56. Mark
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Offering AV is a bad mistake. There is nothing to recommend it as a system for electing a Parliament, and yet there is a danger that simply because it is an option, it gets chosen. The logic of AV is that you want a fourth/fifth party whose votes will be the first to be re-distributed to have second preferences that break in your favour. Instead of subsuming UKIP back into the fold, you need it to continue – even though it won't get any representation. You also have to pander to voters for the third party, whose second preference votes will decide the election of many constituencies. Why should the third largest block of voters have sway over everyone else?

    There is much to recommend the reforms pushed by Hannan and Carswell. Everyone can have a say in who represents them under truly open primaries, even when their preferred party may be in a minority locally or nationally. The selection of short lists for primaries is of course a factor, but in marginal constituencies there is an interest in choosing a candidate with a broader appeal across the constituency. Right of recall does give the valuable opportunity to sack MPs who fail to live up to the billing.

  57. JimF
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Hmmm was this meant to be today's headline too?

    Feelings of relief here that the Labour terror is no longer in charge, mixed with misgivings about the turf wars to come…..

    I still believe the E-word has been submerged but could soon create fissures within the Coalition….
    What happens when the PIIGS come knocking at our door for support?
    How soon before the LibDems long-declared ambition to join the Euro re-surfaces?

    Many on here will see the fact that a LibCon Coalition was possible but a referendum promise on the Lisbon Treaty was not as confirmation that the Conservative party is now Centrist, and many UKIP policies on Grammar Schools, Taxation, Enterprise, Europe/the Euro, the Surveillence State will be held far more closely by your posters here than will LibCon policies….

    You could be in the early stages of creating a Centrist Party here, which will be seen to have delivered massive cuts to living standards. This could leave the door open to elect a revitalised Socialist/Labour Party in future, unless a true alternative Party of the reasonable Right can be created along UKIP lines.

  58. Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Continually writing like this will draw in a lot of viewers keep up the good, work.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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