Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Since the end of the election I've been unable to drive myself to post anything new or remotely interesting. I've been following the discussion about PR on certain blogs and injecting a note of caution that PR will not save the day in British politics. It is certainly a step I would like to see taken, but I just cannot decide between the plethora of systems available. All I can say is that I don't want to see a list system, and all those who are advocating STV are deluded. It may be good, but it's never going to be acceptable to politicians in this country. Even the Lib Dems professed support for it is probably not sincere.

The only options are for AV (which is still not proportional), AV+ (slightly more proportional, and probably more likely), or AMS (the most proportional of the three and retains a constituency link too), such as that in Germany, Scotland and Wales. I know I don't want AV, and I fear AV+ will be used to destroy the Tory party and not for genuine reasons. I like AMS, but it may be a sudden shock to the political culture of this country to see permanent coalition governments become the new order of the day. AMS is like a more inclusive version of FPTP... most countries with AMS end up with two blocks, one of the right wing, one on the left wing. Governments can be extracted, but at least now the new government would command more than 50% of support.

But we need more than PR. The politicians themselves could do with a good clearout. Michael Howard's new beauty contest Shadow Cabinet fills me with dread as to who we're going to be seeing a lot of in the next 20 years, and I fear that Blair has left his legacy on the Labour party for decades, or at least, now in his final term he will move to ensure that's the case. As for the Lib Dems, it's very tough to see where they go now. They will need a new leader eventually, and I just can't see who that might be.

In the face of this, AMS won't make much difference. We'll still get the three main parties holding a considerable majority of the seats. We might see a couple of Green MPs, UKIP MPs and very likely BNP MPs given their share of the vote at the last election. Veritas might even be lucky to scrape one. But it's just tinkering at the edges. British politics needs a much more radical reform, only I'm not sure how it can be achieved. A written constitution wouldn't go amiss. Perhaps it's time to bin the whole system and hold some elections to a constituent assembly, charged with redrawing British politics from scratch. That would certainly be more interesting.

Who am I trying to kid?

As for this blog, I am not going to continue it for much longer, I'm afraid. I know my many fans will be disappointed (ha!), but I just don't have the energy to continue ranting about the slow descent of the British into moral panics over the slightest things. Hooded tops, anyone?

More on that very soon...


At 11:53 am, May 13, 2005, Anonymous bookdrunk said...

What we all clearly need is some kind of hooded-top-story aggregator, so that we can get all of our information in one place. Never before has the need been so fabricated.. uhm.. great.


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