Daily Archives: 22 November 2007

EXCLUSIVE: The meaning behind Mark Oaten’s cryptic comments

Lib Dem Voice has the skinny on Mark Oaten ruminating on the possibility that he might quit early and force a byelection. Stephen Tall has quoted from the Hampshire Chronicle Oaten’s views, but I can exclusively reveal the subtext:

He said it was “me me me”.

Mr Oaten said he did not intend to trigger a by-election but “me me me”.

He said if the “me me me” came up for him and his wife, he would “me me me”.

The father-of-two said: “I hope people understand.

“Me me me me me me me me me me me me me.”

People may recall that the good people of Winchester are not known for their forgiving nature when it comes to having unnecessary byelections foisted on them. Nice as it would be for us to increase our majority by one million per cent a second time, I feel it may be asking a little too much.

Game Theory and candidate selection

A number of interesting applications of game theory in this article by Fred E. Foldvary. Land value taxation and the green tax switch you would of course expect me to approve of, and the principle of constitutional liberty is something I would very much be interested in exploring further as well. Demand revelation is an idea that I’ve heard of before and would like to see how it could be applied in practice.

Cellular democracy though. My kneejerk reaction is to think that this sounds remarkably similar to Chinese-style democracy. Internal party democracy however is rather similar. There’s a technocratic aspect to it that I don’t like. Ultimately democratic systems must enable the person at the top of the system to relate to the person at the bottom as far as possible. A cellular system does not enable this.

But should the Liberal Democrats consider it for things like the selection of candidates for the European Parliament or GLA? I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that we should. If we aren’t prepared to give candidates (or allow them to raise) the resources necessary to competitive OMOV contest that meaningfully engages members, then we should lose the pretence and have the candidates elected using a college system where the candidates would concentrate their campaigning on a few elected representatives.

One nice side effect is that it would mean that members in relatively small local parties like mine would actually have a voice instead of being utterly ignored (beyond the occasional round robin email which is almost worse than nothing).

I’m sure I’ve said this before but at least in the case of the Euro selections it really is one member one vote. In the GLA selections, the local parties with the largest membership bases get to both appoint their own constituency candidates and dominate the top of the London-wide list. Given that they are the ones most likely to get their constituency candidates selected, this means they effectively get double the candidates. This is so manifestly unfair – and blatantly self-defeating as it confines our appeal to South West London – that we really do need to reconsider.