Socialism rules – OK?

One of the big advantages of a first past the post system of government is the electorate can sack an administration they do not like or is failing. The continental systems based on PR make it very difficult if not impossible for electorates to choose a government. The political parties and leaders do that once the result is known, through their negotiations over who will be in the coalition and what the coalition will stand for. In 1964, again in 1970 and again in 1979 the UK electorate voted for important changes in how they were governed, and did change the government.

It is an irony of our system that perhaps the biggest changes of government since 1979 have occurred through internal decisions of the two main parties. For whilst the UK electorate can change the government at elections, the main parties can change the government between elections. The Conservative decision to change from Margaret Thatcher to John Major represented a big change in the style and policy of the Conservative government. The change from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown was a big change in the Labour government. John Major went on to get limited public endorsement for his Premiership, only losing 40 seats compared to Margaret Thatcher. Gordon Brown stands in danger of losing many more seats and not getting that endorsement if the latest opinion polls are sustained.

John Major and Tony Blair shared a lot in common. Both fought difficult wars with NATO allies that the public did not always see the point of doing. Both were famous for their spin, and their fascination with how the media saw government. Both saw themselves as moderates, standing against some of the deeply held beliefs of their own parties. Both damaged themselves through loving Europe too much and the UK too little. John Major was unable to convince his party of the justice of Maastricht even with the excellent opt out from the Euro which he negotiated for the UK, whilst Tony Blair failed over a long period in government to ram the single currency through despite wishing to do so. He gave away huge powers elsewhere instead.

Margaret Thatcher was elected to sort out the mess that was the UK in 1979. She bravely tackled Trade Union reform, giving powers back to Union members. She tackled the huge deficit and unwieldy public sector by privatising large naitonalised industries and making them compete. She cut income tax rates decisively and ended exchange controls, allowing the UK to become a richer and more competitive economy.

Gordon Brown was chosen to put socialism back into the media spun politically ambiguous direction of Tony Blair. He has upped the taxes on success and the rich, nationalised two leading banks, greatly expanded the public payrolls, and greatly increased the benefit dependence of many. He has made the UK decisively less competitive and has brought rising living standards to a grinding halt.

The change from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown was a big change of government. It now has to face its first electoral test. The forthcoming election is about a very simple question – can you afford and do you want a truly socialist government? Do you want the poor living standards and low growth that always goes with high taxes and an overexpanded public sector?


  1. John Bailey
    March 31, 2010

    Re: The continental systems based on PR

    This is why Brown and McLabour wish to introduce this system in England, our conversion for complete EU rule, which is already where our 'real' unelected, unaccountable (Mis)Government resides, we will just be electing a party of rubber stampers here that sit in the Westminster Museum of Politics.

  2. Matt
    March 31, 2010

    I disagree with your conclusion of a few days ago that Mr. Blair’s entry into the election debate is nothing to be concerned about.
    Mr. Blair’s appeal to a large but probably important minority can’t be underestimated, a super salesman, he can speak with such total conviction that, pied piper style, people will follow him.

    This even though I believe that his government has been disastrous for the UK

    What I really found insulting, what I really found a total disgrace was Mr. Blair’s comment in his Trimdon address…………………

    “On some issues like racial equality the Conservatives have left behind the prejudices of the past. I welcome that.”

    Implication that we’re reformed racists, now seen the error of our ways, have hung up my pointy white hats, extinguished the torches and sold the horses.

    Mr. Blair has been selling fantasies for so long he doesn’t know when he’s doing it any more. I find the comment that he made totally offensive.

    1. waramess
      April 1, 2010

      Yes, I heard that as well, but clearly none of our politicians did. Maybe the Socialist drift to the BNP might have been flagged.

  3. Nick
    March 31, 2010

    The problem isn't with 'government'

    One bunch of thieves has the same effect as any other bunch.

    The problem is policy. As an electorate you as a MP don't want us to control what you do. Periodically, you allow us a 'choice' of which MP gets to force their choices on us.

    Until MPs ceed the control of what becomes law to democracy, its a sham

  4. A.Sedgwick
    March 31, 2010

    I would suggest that you are swimming against the tide, public opinion is turning against FPTP after 13 years of Labour winning victories on smaller turnouts, low % of the total vote(22% in 2005), success of PR in Scotland and European elections, Scottish MPs ruling England, bias towards 80 or so marginal seats, postal voting fraud and the disgrace of overseas forces not being able to vote without complication.

    The 2.25 main parties no longer represent majority public opinion and New Labour in particular is only interested in creating a socialist state that bar a public uprising would last indefinitely. Mass uncontrolled immigration, large increase in state employees, overgenerous welfare and recently evidence that Unite is pulling the strings.

    The only true gauges on the upcoming election are the personal vote split and the turnout. Many people do not vote because they think it is a complete waste of time. As the electorate has no clear choice a hung parliament is a racing certainty so what's the difference with a PR hung parliament?

    Then there is the farce that is the Lords. It will be interesting to see if Jack Straw's 300 seat elected Senate "announcement" makes the manifesto.

    1. backofanenvelope
      March 31, 2010

      I'm with you – surely we can devise a better system.

      Of course we can – but then we have the turkeys voting for Christmas problem.

  5. Norman
    March 31, 2010

    I know where my vote will be going. Labour has to be judged on their record, not vague promises that the unions will never let them implement.

    Lots of positive news this week from the Conservatives too – the NI rise not going to be implemented and now rumours of the hideously contorted, expensive to run, and discouraging IR35 to be abolished.

    Long may the good news for business continue.

  6. Acorn
    March 31, 2010

    "… electorate can sack an administration they do not like or is failing." I would like to do this more often. No politician should be more than two years away from an election. I want to choose – not the parties – the candidates for that election in a constituency "primary" vote. This, in an attempt to put an end to whipped party lobby fodder.

    "… electorate can change the government at elections, the main parties can change the government between elections." I want to elect the "executive" leader (PM), separately from the "legislature". Executive NOT in the Legislature. Fixed term executive of four years. Legislature approves all nominees for senior appointment to the executive.

    As I understand it, 56 constituencies will decide the next election. The other 594 will need an outbreak of mass hysteria or bankruptcy at the DWP, to change the outcome. The U.S. can administer 300 million people with 435 House voting Representatives and 100 Senators; how come we need 650 Representatives and 700+ Lords for 60 million?

    BTW. There are some good things going on at the our Treasury, even though it is getting slated lately. The Whole Government Accounting team has now identified 1787 different entities in our government machinery, that can transfer money between each-other; including the "Union Modernisation Fund Supervisory Board". I look forward to the day when they add an "expenditure" column to their spreadsheet.

    I have great hopes for the "Total Place" strategy, including it becoming a framework for the redesign of local government in England; so badly needed.

  7. Socrato
    March 31, 2010

    I am not so sure – I heard the Chancellors' debate – and to be quite frank – it was such a dumbed down discussion about the state of affairs – total nonsense. I mean there were no searching questions being asked (or answered) – nothing about apportioning of responsibility…I mean Alistair Darling was talking about the importance of jobs – yet unemployment is at high levels. Is nobody interested in what private sector vs public sector employment deterioration looks like? Apparently not. It appears to me that some form of consensus is forming – it was more like a love in – that they will likely have to cooperate. It seemed to me that most people bought the line that the government would have to play a greater role in the economy going forward. I didn't see any evidence of desire for more radical corrective measures. The most radical measure was from Lib Dems – to take 3.5 Million people (those earning less than 10K) out of the tax system completely. I think this is a great policy and one which would bolster spending at the lower end, encourage the unemployed to take some form of work, even part time. George Osborne did not take Alistair Darling (or more justly Gordon Brown) to court, a terrible wasted opportunity and he did not present himself or the need for conservative policies adequately. An effort must be made to simply advertise Labour's dismal record (in charts, trajectories and risks) and show what the conservative policies would do in the same manner.

    I do despair however, that the public don't seem to understand the need to take stiff and tough remedial action immediately. It seems the lumpen have become too used to kid gloves. I don't think this will end well for anyone and will probably precipitate another leg down in Sterling. Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy have all announced more drastic immediate action regarding their budget deficits – why does the government think it can do anything other than that? Why are they playing poker with our futures after having so convincingly lost previous hands.

    I even looked at the telegraph swingometer – bloody appaling as well. Not only is the politics all cock-eyed – the counting system is ridiculous to boot.

    Total farce.

  8. grahams
    March 31, 2010

    Totally agree that PR (as usually conceived) is less democratic. I was converted against PR in the 1980s when I realised that there was virtually no way for West Germans to remove Herr Genscher (head of their third party) as foreign minister and if we had their voting system David Owen would be in the same over-privileged position.
    But I cannot see your "clear blue water" in this election. There are three strong reasons for voting Conservative: they are not the current worn-out government; they have a good chance of replacing it and should find it psychologically easier to cut public spending they have not instituted.
    Sadly, I cannot off-hand think of any Conservative policy, at home or abroad, that really interests, excites or inspires me. Hope I am wrong. But take two key issues: front-loading deficit cuts to prevent enormous debt interest entrenching high taxes for a generation and rolling back "nanny-state" laws that have turned millions of ordinary decent people who once saw "law-abiding" as a badge of honour into petty criminals. Only muddy water here.

  9. Neil Craig
    March 31, 2010

    The concomitant disadvantage of the FPTP system is that the electorate can only get rid of the present lot of rascals by letting in the other lot. This is the only thing that could let Labour back.

    You make a strong case that the public are largely excluded from the major political decisions which take place within parties (& indeed in a collusion between party nomenklatura & media nomenklatura – I think media support of Cameron was decisive in persuading the party to go for him). Surely that implies that a system in which the electors can choose bewteen parties, while not the cure to all ills, would be a considerable improvement.

    I think the fact that Geert Wilders looks set to lead the largest party in the Netherlands shows the public having a genuine opportunity to bring about change there, which has proven virtually impossible here. It is possible he will be dealt out of power by a coalition of everybody else but even so he would have got far further than could happen here.

    1. waramess
      April 1, 2010

      The saviour of the three main parties would be to outlaw "whipping"

      They of course will not understand this and it would make the party leader's job far more difficult however, there will otherwise be a drift away from the main parties over time which will reach a stage where stopping it will be impossible.

      Discontent is now at a far greater level than I can remember although I only go back as far as a peacetime Churchill, and all we need now is for the stop-at-homes to come out and vote, to find the political horizon changed forever.

    2. APL
      April 1, 2010

      Neil Craig: "I think media support of Cameron was decisive in persuading the party to go for him"

      Indeed, the contest was swung simply on the favourable media response to a Cameron speech compared to his the rubbishing in the media of the speach made by David Davis.

      Cameron is a media creature.

      Davis perhaps has fewer friends in the media.

  10. David Burch
    March 31, 2010

    The advantage of the first past the post system is that it gives normally gives a winner who can then dictate policy for the term of the parliament. What the major parties have done is to delink local people for posting a representative to parliament and by the backdoor in my view paved the way for PR. It is clear to me that this is behind the selection process for Conservative candidates compared to 1992 / 1997. It is probable true for Labour as well who select candidates from outside.

    There is an often unreported trend on the internet for the views of people to fragment – the right for example may know they have to vote Conservative, however within that broad scope there are undoubtedly UKIP / Libertarian sections as well as some support for the BNP. Go to PR and the party would fragment at least four ways (as would Labour and the Lib Dems). In my own mind I am not yet convinced that this is a good idea, however the current system is not working and we need our politicians to think of some viable alternatives ideally that make winning an election decisive.

    Myself I wou,d adopt more of the American system of government minus the huge spending of money on campaigns and not the Euro system of wishy washy PR.

  11. Gandhi
    March 31, 2010

    "One of the big advantages of a first past the post system of government is the electorate can sack an administration they do not like or is failing"

    Whoa! They got in on 35%? We didn't elect them in the first place!

    Apart from PR there are a handful of little tweaks required to avoid the problems of the Euro's: directly elected president, so Brown would never get in even if Labour got the votes, recalls etc. FPTP is electing people by something like random chance at the moment, we are getting a broken economy and an oppressive police state by ACCIDENT!

    By standing in the way of reform, the Conservative Party is putting us all at severe risk; what happens if there's no reform and in five years time an even more radical Labour party gets in (unfairly) against an economic backdrop that resembles – oh I dunno – Germany in the early thirties?

  12. OurSally
    March 31, 2010

    PR works very fine for us Germans. You just have to understand how the system works. The coalition CDU-FDP is working just fine as far as most of us are concerned (Germans yammer all the time, don't be deceived). PR obliges politicians to live a series of compromises. This does not seem to harm Germany.

    Do not confuse European states with the EU. Those ober-quangoids were not elected by anybody, whichever system they prefer, that is the irritating thing. Germans are as deeply unhappy with the EU as anyone else, especially as we are paying for it. However, the alternative is seen to be worse, so we stick with it. What we need is less EU, not none at all.

  13. Rich
    March 31, 2010

    I don't think it makes one jot of difference whether the Conservatives or Labour win the election. If the Conservatives lose it, that might have the welcome effect of causing a split result in the creation of a true Conservative party, in the style of Thatcher and Tebbit, rather than what we have now.

    But in my view the age of parliamentary democracy has passed. The massive British state, made up as it is of actual civil servants, fake charities, consulting firms, lobbyists and all the hangers-on, is simply too large to be taken on by a handful of MPs in Westminster. Particularly now, as the quality of MPs has never been lower.

    Why, after all, would anybody of quality want to be an MP now, when most power has been given away to Brussels?

    In the absence of a real troops on the street type crisis, I predict that Britain in 2015 will look much like it is today, except with an even larger state and smaller private sector.

  14. no one
    March 31, 2010

    first past the post cannot survive as it exists currently

    1) the English electorate will at some point go ballastic at the ongoing imbalance in the system, far too much influence given to Scotland and the rest of the UK, and far too little representation to England, compared to this issue Europe is trivia

    2) the electorate are bubbling currently and at some point will boil over into open revolt as some of the biggest issues in the publics minds are just treated superficially by the main parties, take immigration for one all the main parties are talking tough but lacking any substance and certainly significantly divergent from where the vast majority of the voters are on this issue. Far too much political correctness and influence from the media centric self selected elite conspiring to avoid real detailed debate.

    3) the party system as it stands is not delivering the results the country needs, none of the parties really stands out as a good choice for the decent majority of hard working folk who did not go to public school or oxbridge, and none of the parties really understands the problems of the underclass or shows any way they can escape to become contributing members of society

    4) a large part of the problem is the large pool of senior folk who have spent their entire life in the public sector, be they civil servants, quangocrats, local govt officers, and so on. really their should be a bar on working any more than say ten years in the public sector in a lifetime unless frontline staff.

    this election whatever the result is sadly not going to produce the result the public want and thats why there is so much apathy

    all the incentives are for the wrong things

  15. […] how he wants to ‘construct’ society, like a socialist.  Though according to Redwood we are in a socialist world.  One suspects that he thinsk we have been one since 1945, except for about 4 years in the […]

  16. Antisthenes
    March 31, 2010

    You have correctly pointed out what the outcome of a Labour win at the next election will be. The electorate as a whole do not care about this it is beyond their understanding, they are only interested what a new government will do for them in relation to what they can physically touch, see, or feel. At the moment their senses tell them that jobs are at risk, the economy is in bad shape and that they are going to suffer by a cut in their standard of living. Also they are fearful of immigration, the EU and the deterioration of standards in society in particular public servants, the public sector and crime. They know under Labour that these problems have occurred or have been exacerbated. It should naturally follow that Labour will be sacked at the next election under our current system of voting but that is possibly not going to happen . So where does that leave our electoral system especially when less than 40% of electors can elect a government so leaving more than 60% who are not properly represented. I do not know the answer as PR is not a solution AV is not a solution the current systems is no longer appropriate. One suggestion could be two rounds of voting with the two candidates with the highest poll going to a run off.

    1. grahams
      April 1, 2010

      "One suggestion could be two rounds of voting with the two candidates with the highest poll going to a run off."
      Great point Antisthenes. Two round voting seems to be the only one that gives voters more choice in practice and seemed to work in France. It tends to produce a four-party system: inside right and left plus outside right and left, with a genuine choice of four potential prime ministers, since the first round determines whether the inside or the outside candidate goes to the final round. It sounds more exciting for voters and , unlike AV, the winner has actually been voted for and one centre party is not entrenched in government.

  17. lola
    March 31, 2010

    "can you afford and do you want a truly socialist government? Do you want the poor living standards and low growth that always goes with high taxes and an overexpanded public sector?" No. And more importantly I don't want it to be inflicted upon anyone else.

  18. Mike Stallard
    March 31, 2010

    The lasts thing we need at the moment is more power to the Prime Minister. Even if it is a good man, he soon gets corrupted like Our Tony did. And Mr Brown is not necessarily of the same calibre.
    There is a sort of collective madness about PR. People think it is somehow modern and bright to believe in it. they just do not see, through their passionate belief, that it simply hands power to the party machine and takes it away from the voters.
    Local Primaries, local party, MPs who know their constituencies are the fruit.
    PR gives (witness Europe) an empty chamber, no attempt at all to be nice to the electorate or even to represent their views, jockeying for more and more goodies and power and, yes, unaccountable corruption of the very worst sort.

  19. Bob
    March 31, 2010

    The Tories have not covered themselves in glory as an opposition.
    I think they've been infiltrated by the LibDems.

  20. Richard
    March 31, 2010

    Good point. Labour has certainly been a socialist government, raising the state/GDP ratio from under 40% to over 50%.

    Arn't you rather unfair to John Major? He thrashed Kinnock 40-31% in 1992. Marvellous as Margeret Thatcher was, had she survived she would have kept the poll tax and we would probably have lost in 1992. Even if she had scraped back in we would still have had black wednesday, as we were in the ERM under her PMship, for which she would then have got the blame. Also, Major's Maastricht opt-outs went far beyond the Euro.

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      April 1, 2010

      Never forget that John Major and Chris Patten pulled a huge con trick on the electorate in 1992, after forcing a tax cut on poor Norman Lamont, resulting in the last out of control public sector deficit (about half of the present annual deficit, even allowing for inflation). Major also took us into the wretched ERM in a regime that gave George Soros and his pals a one way bet against sterling.

      Major then had the sheer gall to blame Norman Lamont for the fiscal debacle and the forced ERM exit. The organ grinder shouldn't shoot the monkey – it's bad form.

      There's only one good thing to say about John Major – good (bye-ed).

      1. Richard
        April 2, 2010

        Margaret Thatcher was PM when Britain entered the ERM, not John Major

        reply: Yes, she gave in to Mr Major who insisted on doing it when she was far from keen.

  21. Citizen Responsible
    March 31, 2010

    PR- a case in point:

    There were federal elections in Germany last September. It was one month later before the horse trading was finished and the coalition government of 4 parties and policies were known. There are more elections this May in North Rhine Westphallia, where according to the polls, the SDP are expected to win the most votes. If so, Angela Merkel will be forced to include them in her coalition government which will then represent 5 parties.

  22. Yudansha
    March 31, 2010

    Off topic if I may.

    All parties are being disingenous about the most worrying issue for most people – that of uncontrolled immigration.

    We little people are not fooled when told that there is a points system in operation for those coming from 'outside of the EU'. This is a deliberate and obvious deceit to try and cover the fact that the numbers coming here are out of control.

    "Ah. But you have the freedom to live anywhere in the EU."

    Do we ? And do we want it ? Did we ask for it ?

    The people I know who have emigrated within the EU have done so because "Britain has gone to the dogs." None of them did it for the weather or because they wanted to improve their language skills. Was the plan to make the place so awful that dissenting people moved away ?

    Where's our referendum ? When do we, the people, get our say on EU membership ? (We won't get our say because you know we're likely to vote in the negative.)

    So, on the most vital of issues, does it make any difference whether we vote Tory or not ?

    No. It doesn't.

    Is there a possibility that democracy will return to Britain if the Tories lose ?

    Yes. I think so. An outside chance but more of a chance than if the Tories win. Why ?

    Because the Tories will have to reform in the image of their true voters in order to survive. And Labour will flounder bringing Britain to the brink so that there is a public revolt against them. There will be no denial of Labour being culpable for Britain's economic demise as there was before.

    Dangerous times.

    But David Cameron is not going to help us. This is clear because he is happy with EU membership and he is happy with our open border policy as it stands. That puts him at odds with the vast majority of his electorate on the most important of subjects.

  23. Slightly Green Conse
    March 31, 2010

    First past the post does have it's downsides; in my constituency in NW England even the most hopelessly optimistic person could not foresee a Conservative candidate winning, they haven't won for almost a century, and are miles off even getting near.
    I hate Labour, who currently hold the seat, but the only realistic challenger is LibDem. If I want to unseat Labour I therefore have to vote LidDem, (as their election literature, sent twice a week at least, constantly tells me). It's vaguely tempting, but I can't stomach their position on Europe, or law and order, to name but two of their many faults. And I think the candidate is an idiot. So my vote is effectively a wasted one.

  24. adams
    March 31, 2010

    kick out the socialists and replace them with closet socialists.
    is that your answer John ? sad to see a man of your undoubted intelligence duping himself so totally.
    FPTP has had its day and is the only thing keeping the three headed oligarchy where they are. get out now John. your country needs you and self respect is good for the soul .

  25. Monty
    March 31, 2010

    Personally I would rather keep the system we have now, but with the elections cleaned up, and a complete end to the banana-republic shenanigans that have characterised every election since widespread postal voting was made available. Just because postal voting increases the turnout, doesn't mean many of the voters are alive or eligible. So please get us back to the polling stations. And get much more rigorous control over those ballot boxes.

  26. Steve Tierney
    March 31, 2010

    Nope. I don't want those things. My vote will be Conservative. Hopefully the rest of the country agrees.

  27. Mark
    April 1, 2010

    Dyslexia rools…KO? That's the problem with socialism – it has knocked us out already. It has misread what is needed to sort out the economy and banking, education, crime, international relations, migration, energy supply, health… you name it. It has taught the population to behave like a patient in denial of having a terminal disease, and that whatever they try, nothing will be be permitted – even a change of government.

  28. Josh
    April 1, 2010

    To be fair to Mr Major, he won 14,000,000 votes, more than any other leader of a British political party in history, and considering that he won more than Mr Attlee did despite the challenge of a larger population, I'd say that was quite an achievement. Of course vote share fell, but there was increased turnout in that election.

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    April 1, 2010

    I have taken the figures in the 2010 budget report and made the following calculations:
    (1) Got rid of the inflation to get everything in terms of constant 2010/11 prices rather than current prices. This is in order to aid comprehension – nobody knows what the inflation rate will be.
    (2) Assumed that real GDP growth will be 1.0% in 2010/11 and 2.1% in each subsequent year (2.1% is the long term average since 1979, including both booms and slumps).
    (3) Left Labour's planned tax receipts and expenditure unchanged.

    The results for 2014/15 are as follows:
    Tax receipts 40.5% of GDP vs 36.1% now
    Expenditure 44.8% of GDP vs 47.9% now
    Total public sector debt 81.5% of GDP
    Debt interest pa 9.1% of expenditure, 10.1% of tax receipts

    Is anybody happy with these figues? I'm not. They imply significant tax rises and reductions in public sector capital investment, with public sector current expenditure largely untouched. (The budget report shows a big reduction in gross investment.)

  30. alan jutson
    April 2, 2010

    Socialism fails, it always does, but not until it reverts to Communism do the people really revolt against it.

    Whilst we (the population) are under more control now than at any time in recent history, we have not yet been controlled enough for a large scale mass revolt.

    Too many people are still benefitting from the socialist financial handouts being spread ever wider with every year that goes by, to vote against it stopping.

    Yes the Conservatives may well get in this time, JUST, but mark my words, if they take the required action to get us out of this mess, they will probably be voted out in 5 years time, and this is the real worry, and the legacy of Brown and his comrades.

    The present Political system does not work, why, because it is an elected Dictatorship.

    Without the ability to recall MP's, and the banning of whipping, the electorate have no power after they have voted.

    Many Mp's seem to me to seek Power, for powers sake, and this seems true of many. The State and everything else seems to come second.

  31. Cy
    April 3, 2010

    Mr Redwood, in principle, I prefer FPTP to PR, but FPTP in today's Britain has been undemocratic to the extent that a government is easily able to bind its successor governments (of whichever party) to a particular fiscal policy.

    The 20-odd % of eligble voters who gave us Labour in 2005 have effectively bound the next two parliaments to austerity. Brown chose this path, but nobody other than current Labour MPs was capable of preventing it. It's fair enough for the parties to argue over higher taxes and higher public spending, but another thing entirely to have more of the latter and kick the bill into a subsequent parliament.

    I blame the public as well- we are not sophisiticated or sceptical enough to think long term in the face of Labour's budgetary sleights of hand and "jam today".

    For this reason, FPTP in Britain needs greater constitutional checks and balances than exist at present. Perhaps rules constraining government borrowing (especially during a period of growth), or a supermajority (with cross-party support) to pass a budget that would constrain a future government through higher borrowing.

    We shouldn't have to rely on the gilt markets to set these limits…

  32. cheap ghd
    May 7, 2010

    Periodically, you allow us a ‘choice’ of which MP gets to force their choices on us.

    Until MPs ceed the control of what becomes law to democracy, its a sham

  33. Gbg
    May 20, 2010

    Ooh dang! i just typed a very long comment and as soon as i clicked reply it showed up blank! Please tell me it worked properly? I do not want to sumit it once again if i do not have to! Either the blog bugged out or i am an idiot, the previous option doesnt amaze me lol.

    Glenda B. G

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