"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

By Fair Means Or Foul

The governmment has lost its collective plot. Knowing that it has no chance of winning the next election the months between now and May 2010 can only get worse. Their Conference week was split between re-announcing old policies, announcing new, unfunded ones and vilification of the Conservatives.  They're washed-up and they know it.

The latest indication of how threatened they feel and how they are determined to hold on to power is the news that Cabinet Ministers are pushing Brown to rush through legislation for a referendum on electoral reform. Great isn't it? We can have referenda but only when it suits their purposes.

It's likely to be welcomed by the electorate who have been tried beyond patience with tales of corruption and MPs expenses but it will be confusing because the Cabinet itself is split between four possibilities which I think are: list; preference; alternative & single transferable vote. They also can't decide whether to offer a referendum on Election Day. They really are a mess - all they know is that Proportional Representation is likely to favour them by not wiping them out. The fact that PR favours weak, coalition governments (Italy anyone?) that aren't a good model for running a country is neither here nor there to them so long as they can keep a toe-hold in government.
“The Conservatives would never be able to get a bill revoking it through the House of Lords,” said one minister.
And I think that statement just about sums up their thinking: scorch the earth and make it as difficult as possible for the next government and, by extension, the country.  It will be discussed this week at the not-at-all-North-Korean-like Democratic Renewal Council.

Until more concrete detail emerges it's impossible to say whether any good can come from the proposal - pro: it should give a greater say to smaller parties and a voice to those who vote for them which is lacking at the moment; con: weak, compromise government.  The thought of a LibDem/Labour coalition government at some point is enough to send me running for the hills.


  1. Proportional representation favours stable, effective coalition governments, as seen in most developed countries for most of the last century.

  2. Thanks Wayne, do you know which form of PR Italy has? There seem to be a few variations so it must depend which form is chosen. 'Stable & effective' sounds good to me - it's what we'd all want, especially if smaller parties have a greater say in policy.


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