Tag Archives: democratic-renewal

Freedland on the Conservative and Anti-Unionist Party

At the risk of having my comments filled with swivel-eyed loons with an penchant for calling everyone who doesn’t agree with them a “c***”, I just thought I’d recommend Jonathan Freedland’s article on the Tories’ daft proposals on breaking up the UK.

There are however, the points in this I take exception to:

  1. You don’t need to go back as far as Prussia to find an example; a more contemporary example of what happens when you create an assymmetric union of nation states can be found in the form of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  2. I don’t actually accept Jonathan Freedland’s view that Scotland and Wales “civilise” the English and that without them we will simply drift to the right, although I accept that most Tories probably think that.

If the latter were true however, I think the case for breakup would be much stronger than it is: if our cultures are so sui generis, why not go our seperate ways?  In fact, what we’ll find quite quickly is that instead of all this moaning about the West Lothian Question, the feeling that the North of England is being subjugated by the South will become even more acute.  Over time, we’ll probably end up federalising England in exactly the way the Tories most fear, but with a lot more unpleasantness and a lot more time and energy wasted.  The Tories haven’t just given up on Scotland and Wales; they have discovered that by simply concentrated on a few voters in the Midlands and the South, they can use the electoral system to orchestrate a coup, and are using the Scots as convenient scapegoats in the hope that the North won’t notice.

The real problem is the massive centralisation of England; the West Lothian Question is a trainspotter’s obsession (coming from me, that’s saying something) and a serious distraction.

Make Absentions Count?

I’m usually quite sceptical of a lot of the schemes you read about on tinternet for solving our problems with democracy in this country, but this idea is at least worth debating:

I want to see political parties get penalized for a low electoral turn out. In other words, if we are fed up with them to the back teeth, I want to make our voting abstentions count. My proposal is somewhere along these lines:

If the national turnout at a general election is lower than 60%, then the next general election must be called within 4 years.

If the national turnout at a general election is lower than 55%, then the next general election must be called within 3 years.

If the national turnout at a general election is lower than 50%, then the next general election must be called within 2 years.

If enough people like this idea, then we have a hope of getting it through. As a suggestion, you could visit www.writetothem.com and ask your elected MP what they think of this idea. My guess is they probably will not like it! So maybe someone out there can think of other ways to push for it.

Not sure I’d have all those different tiers, but the basic idea has appeal. What does the panel think?