The Ukrainian elections do not help resolve the crisis

 

Yesterday’s elections in Ukraine did not apparently take place at all in at least 27 seats. The Crimea of course did not go to the polls as it was annexed by Russia. Parts of the Russian speaking east did not vote either, where rebels hold sway and where it was thought too difficult to open polling stations.

Where a country is split badly between a majority and minority, it is most important for the majority to proceed in ways which the minority think are fair, even if they do not agree with some of the policies being pursued and want a different political answer. Holding an election when the most unhappy part of the country is  unable to participate in it is far from helpful.

The loss of the Crimea tipped the odds further against the pro Russia part of the country  by removing pro Russian voters. This has now been compounded by the Kiev government’s inability to restore law and order in Donetz and Luhansk and reassure its eastern citizens that it will operate in the interests of the whole country and take their needs into account.

The Ukrainian government needs to build bridges with the pro Russian minority if it wishes to reunite the country. Democracy does allow the majority to have its way, but democracy also entails the majority being reasonable towards the minority.

 

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23 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    You cannot convince people to support a Government, when it’s trying to kill you.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Indeed,

    Liz Truss on the Sunday politics (yet another Oxford PPE) says the Conservatives will again go in to the election again saying “vote blue go green”. She failed to answer any of Andrew Neil’s simple & sensible questions and talked complete and utter vacuous drivel. She clearly has never done the simple basic sums of energy production, know nothing of the engineering and science and is completely out of he depth. She even refused to answer the question “is the lack of warming for 18 years significant”.

    Being legally bound to reduce Carbon emissions by 80% is clearly bonkers, as it seems is she.

    She even thinks putting solar panel on roofs in the cloudy UK is a good idea. Why do these fools never do the basic sums?

    • zorro
      Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      I love the way you say ‘Indeed’ to John’s proposition on Ukraine, and then completely ignore it in the rest of your comment!

      zorro

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Well I agree with JR on this and the Ukraine is not really an area of great expertise for me.

        Mind you Liz Truss, C Huhne and Ed Davey and countless other politician do not seem to let total ignorance get in the way of their discussions of Energy systems or countless other topics.

        • zorro
          Posted October 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, ignorance appears to be bliss…. 😉 …… for them.

          zorro

    • stred
      Posted October 27, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Mr Davey, our DECC chief is looking confident about energy supplies following the closure of a number of generators recently. His department will only have to ask food producers to turn their fridges off and warm them up a bit and factories will just switch off during daytime peaks and work on economy 7. He is even thinking of putting himself forward as leader of the Dums.

      Also, Plan L ,for Liberal, in the DECC adopted book by his chief scientific advisor (available free off the DECC website) is looking more promising. In this plan (p209), produced when he was only the L’s policy advisor, most of the energy we need willl be produced from solar panels in the North Africa and clean coal (ie carbon captured coal). The figures are both 16 kWh/day per person against 8 for wind and 2 for biofuels and wave.

      PV companies operating in N.Africa are now planning to bid for the difference in cost subsidies being offered by DECC and opening up to foreign suppliers. What could possibly go wrong? While as regards carbon capture, to quote p244- The cost of sucking, ‘lets assume we wish to neutralise a typical European’s CO2 output…..the energy required is 16kWh/day. This is exactly the same as British electricity consumption (before starting the CCS). etc ed

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Where a country is split badly between a majority and minority, it is most important for the majority to proceed in ways which the minority think are fair

    The only people who can really comment on fairness are independent, outside observers. Any minority is likely to claim that the majority is “out to get them”.

    Elections just seem pointless when a country is still in civil war. You can’t force people to honour the process or result, especially when they have had so much recent self-perceived success with armed conflict.

    Government by an elected parliament is a very fragile thing. It requires those to be governed to cooperate, and why would those currently carrying guns in the east want to play that game instead?

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    In Syria and Mesopotamia, the trouble seems to be that national boundaries and ethnic loyalties conflict. So perhaps break-up, as the Turks knew, into three separate provinces/countries might be the permanent answer.
    In the Ukraine we have a sort of Scottish Independence which has been appallingly badly handled, not least by Baroness Ashton who was paid a lot of money to see that the EU foreign policy was sensible and carried out sensibly.
    Russia is not the sloppy old UK. Down here, I meet with Ukrainians and Russians regularly. They KNOW what is RIGHT. Also, they know where I live… (These are two direct quotations).

    This information will cost you £25. (Another quote).

  5. stred
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    One part of a country is unable to have a vote on independence, while the other part has a vote and the MPs from that part vote on how the former is governed. How can this possibly be allowed? Perhaps Red Ed could explain.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Elections in the Ukraine are somewhat of a farce in any case. (Some of?)The (people ed) that staged the coup against the legal government were and are financed and run by Washington. There will be no peaceful settlement whilst US interests continue to try and stoke up the new cold war with Russia and EU governments simply do what they are told to by Obama. It’s a pity that our politicians don’t act in Britain’s interest and not Washington’s for a change.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Is so the called democracy as we have known it, now starting to break down all over the world.

    Politicians seem to be getting further and further out of touch with the people.

    We are certainly in changing times.

    Not so sure if it is for better or worse.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Insightful as usual Alan.
      Whilst European politicans want fewer and larger nation blocks, the people want smaller locally controlled areas.
      Catalonia, Scotland,Wales, Brittanny, Basques, Cornwall and dare I say England.

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Building a fence along the Ukraine/Russian border…and the energy supply for winter is low.Waiting for another war/fight I think and NATO troops hanging around in Ukraine? Don’t think Putin has to do much this time…allegedly.

    Meanwhile we are legally bound to cut CO2 (CCS is a joke). New tech will help fix it in 10 years or so (whats that then?). Shut down coal power plant (self igniters?) and screw up the new nuclear builds (it always happens). Shale gas…catch it if you can. Increase renewables to 27%.

    Would you invest big money here? Depends on the handout does it not?

  9. zorro
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I have stated my views on this issue on many occasions….. but I think the reality of the situation was perfectly displayed when I listened to the state propaganda service (BBC) and they said that the elections in Ukraine had led to a swing to ‘pro-western’ parties…… and strangely enough no mention by the BBC whatsoever of the fact that the elections weren’t taking place in a large part of the country! That says it all.

    zorro

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    JR: “The Ukrainian government needs to build bridges with the pro Russian minority if it wishes to reunite the country.”

    Not much hope of that as Voice of America reports: “Heavy shelling rocked the outskirts of the pro-Russian rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine Monday, one day after the country held a parliamentary election…..Nearly three million voters in eastern Ukraine were unable to cast ballots in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
    Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says exit polls show strong support for his push for democratic reforms and for closer ties to the European Union.”

  11. forthurst
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “Holding an election when the most unhappy part of the country is unable to participate in it is far from helpful.”

    Actually, parts of Eastern Ukraine will be holding their own elections on November 2nd as they are now effectively autonomous regions which no longer welcomes interference by those responsible for killing two thousand of them, in some cases by deliberately attacking civilian targets, including schools and hospitals.

    It remains to be seen whether the newly elected parliament in Kyiv has more or less appetite for a resumption of hostilities with the East.

  12. British Nationalist
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Back in the Spring a federal solution for the Ukraine might have been acceptable to all. But now, after so much killing, it’s clear the breakaway Eastern provinces will accept only full independence or accession to Russia.

    Any government or international institution which wants to stick its oar into the Ukraine should realise that these are the only two possible outcomes and broker one or the other as soon as possible. Attempting to make anything else happen is just prolonging the misery.

    Once the Ukraine has been partitioned and peace restored the Western side could be put on track to join the EU and this would be a Western bloc “win” of sorts.

  13. Patryk
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    John, does the UK government need to build bridges with the minority that carried on the 7/7/05 attacks or the minority that goes to fight for ISIL?

    Reply No. The Iraqi government needs to build bridges with the Sunni majority in parts of its country so they wish to be governed by Iraq and wish to help identify criminals and terrorists.The UK government needs to build bridges with Scottish nationalists.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Above all we must keep our noses out of the Ukraine mess . Earlier EU intervention probably added to the tension in the country and , certainly , to the attitude Russia adopted .I cannot see any solution other than the separation of the Eastern parts who speak and are ethnically and historically aligned to Russia . If I were in the Ukraine and looking at the ridiculous state the EU is in , I would want no part of it ; as far as sovereign rights are concerned , I would be laughing my socks off .

  15. Peter Stroud
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I suggest it is pretty certain that Crimea will never again be a part of Ukraine.

  16. Elliot Kane
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I suspect this may be more about legitimising the coup than a genuine attempt at democracy. As you say, holding genuine elections in every part of the country right now would be extremely hard.

    Sadly it would seem that the Ukraine is destined to remain unhappy for some time 🙁

  17. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    It is easy to say if the British government cannot protect its Prime Minister better than an unregistered group of nightclub bouncers can protect a good-looking girl wearing a shorter than short mini-skirt, then it has no business whatsoever even thinking about affairs in Ukraine and other hot spots. Yeah, it is easy to say.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 28, 2014 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    The Ukranian Government clearly needed to demonstrate that pro European opinions were held be a majority of the electorate. Now the way is open for a ‘solution’ somewhat like that in Northern Ireland – in the eastern Ukraine, Ukraine is sovereign but there would be power sharing with pro-Russian rebels and a consultative role for Russia. Forget Crimea; Crimea has gone.

    etc ed

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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