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>Political Reform

>We finally have a government that is going to look at the current voting system and offer a referendum on how the public want to vote for their representatives. This will be the first time in UK history that we have collectively decided how we want to select our representatives. Previously it has been decided by the people governing us and not the people themselves.

I believe we need proportional representation because i think it is highly undemocratic for the majority of the population to be ignored. Under the current first-past-the-post system, a government can obtain over 50% of the seats that is 50% of the representation with 35.5% of the vote and 22% of the people eligible to vote. This allows a minority of the people to rule over the majority of the population. That is undemocratic. I think some form of proportional representation is needed in order to make sure the electorate’s views are better represented. I personally don’t mind what kind of PR it is, whether it is AMS, STV, straight PR or anything else. I don’t believe AV is PR and should not be the end result of anyone wanting PR.

However, i think the UK’s deep issues cannot be solved with straight PR. I believe in the past 303 years that we have had a united government for the entire United Kingdom that Westminster has proven that it cannot effectively govern all 4 nations of the UK. I actually believe that the problems go back even further even back to before the Scottish Wars of Independence. I believe the final resting point of any UK government must be what Scotland was fighting for in the days of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.

I don’t believe Scotland was fighting for independence back then but we were fighting for a way to govern ourselves without all the interferences from King Edward. We knew we had to trade and work with the people of England and even King Edward himself but we were not willing to be ruled by them.

This argument i believe still carries on today. Scotland knows it benefits from being in a union with England – its how that union is governed that is the issue.

Thanks to Tony Blair, Scotland now has its own parliament to decide on matters such as health, education, agriculture and justice, yet key things like economic policy and employment are decided still by Westminster.

This in my opinion wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t a deep socio-economic problem dividing the countries. Scotland historically and currently has always been a poorer nation than England. We have always had a great education system and that continues to this day but our problem is that once out of education there are no jobs to go into unless you move south to England and in particular the South of England. England also has a good education system and once out of it they are competing for jobs in England with not only other Englishmen but also Scotsmen. This i believe is unfair.

I believe we are inappropriately governed. I do not believe that the people of England or the majority of the country that decide the outcome of the election (they are from the part of the country where there is a significant private sector) can do what is right for not only themselves but for the whole country where there isn’t the jobs or the private sector.

This divide in the country while it cannot be legislated out of existence, i think the government has some responsibility over it and they need to find a way to work with business leaders to get the poorer areas out of poverty and into some sort of economic stability. While government is decided by and for the majority in the south of the country, i do not believe this can happen, the minorities issues will always be overlooked even though it is the countries best interest to deal with this problem.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 14, 2010 at 16:53

    >Good blog what would be interesting is who fault is it that there are less private jobs in south? the government had blame for preferring the south however I wonder why business do not want to set up in Scotland?

  2. Nic
    June 14, 2010 at 16:59

    >There are more private jobs in the south. There are less private jobs in the North. According to the University of Strathclyde, the start-up rate of businesses in Scotland is slowing though its steady in the UK due to the recession.I think its not just business but Scotland has always been poorer. Our culture in Scotland is to stick together and look out for one another whereas in England it is more American in the fact that its look out for number one. I think England's culture is more likely to thrive under capitalism.

  3. June 14, 2010 at 17:11

    >I think then on cultural it should change to accommodate both individuality and group attachment however with capitalism its never going to be fair as someone is always going to get down trodden. Looking at the south its really the white middle classes men that is getting the top jobs. If we were to look at the working class in the south then things are similar to Scotland. To combat jobs going to a certain people I think we need to concentrate on getting the lower classes more qualified and giving them chances and also getting business to set up in Scotland and wales. If business don't want to then we should focus on entrepreneurship in Scotland with people creating their own companies.

  4. Nic
    June 14, 2010 at 17:17

    >Your right the extent that we need to get more people qualified and into the top jobs but the other thing is if we educate everyone and get everyone in some sort of business then we have no one to do the laundry or the cleaning jobs unless we start paying them big bucks as well.There are classes of jobs – the ones that need doing and the ones in bigger business which are more high paying, which maybe don't necessarily need doing. Unless of course we get robots to do the cleaning and garbage collection etc.

  5. June 14, 2010 at 17:21

    >True I think you raised an important thing are people coming down mostly for the cleaning jobs and such or the managerial jobs? We need to pay people what they deserve cleaners, secretaries, rubbish collectors should never be paid minimum wage. If this continues then the gap between rich and poor is going to get bigger and bigger.

  6. Nic
    June 14, 2010 at 17:28

    >We could increase the minimum wage, which is what some of the labour leadership candidates want to do. I wish we could get everyone into managerial or research or a high paying job but thats just not practical. We need to be able to give everyone a good wage no matter what they choose to do with their life.

  7. June 14, 2010 at 17:31

    >The problem is with higher wages business will want to increase prices on goods making it worthless thing to do. The government has to have more control over business over basic things people want and need for it to work.

  8. June 14, 2010 at 23:58

    >There seems to be three very important points being raised here:Firstly. To what extent does the current parliamentary system represent the democratic mandate of the public?Secondly. To what extent does the socio-economic dynamics in the UK contribute to a negative "democratic deficit" for certain parts of the UK? Thirdly. Predicated on 1 & 2 holding to be the case the last question is: Would PR and/or some form of decentralised federation restructuring of the UK positively ameliorate this socio-economic situation? While one cannot provide a complete answering to the third point here without vastly more research/investigation, establishing answers to the questions 1 & 2 above are relatively straightforward.To take the first question, any form of democratic system that does not maintain the vital relation of proportion from the popular vote to its model of democratic system (i.e. in the UK the House of Commons) cannot declare itself to be a true democracy. It's like having a road-map (another model of the world) where certain geographical points are missing or a compass which does not have 'North' or 'South' etc. The House of Commons, is a democratic model of the critical 1 vote per 1 person principle of democracy, and with all 'models' certain relations from 'reality' to the 'model' must be isomorphic with that 'reality' in order for the 'model' to maintain 'reality' representational integrity. For a situation where 35.5% of the voting public to determine a majority representation to govern in the UK is nothing short of a 'bastardisation' of democracy. 1st point made. The current UK democratic system is not a true democratic system since its critical 'model' relation of representation proportion is not maintained. it's like a compass that does not represent 'North' or a roadmap that has significant geographical locations missing. It is simply and obviously a corrupted model!! Second Question Answer. I accept the points made in the original article above and subsequent postings that, by comparison with England, other parts of the UK i.e. Scotland, Wales etc are not as affluent, but the economic problem goes even more extreme than this, since, even within England, there is a huge socio-economic divide between (broadly) the South and the North of England. As Nicola correctly identifies, this results in a concentration of wealth not only to England, but to exclusively the South of England, with the unintended side-effectual result that it even further corrupts an already inherently corrupt democratic system (aka answer one above). To what extent a proper PR electoral system would ameliorate this socio-economic situation directly is in doubt. What it would do, however, would be to ensure that the economically exclusive South of England would lose the political ability to exclusively reinforce its own interests to the socio-economic detriment to the rest of the UK, and it is for this reason that the social elite of this country will never allow it to be instituted.

  9. June 15, 2010 at 00:12

    >Based on what you said if we have PR then its still not democratic as the present coalition would still happen which people only voted for one party and not the other. How can we spread the wealth to the north with democratic means? Is it democracy that is flawed then? Which would point to Nicola point of 1 person=1 vote.

  10. June 15, 2010 at 00:26

    >No, the issue, in the end is not that PR would, by itself, result in ameliorating the socio-economic problem directly, it is the effect that it would have on 'whatever' coalitions resulted from a PR elctoral system. So party A gets 32%, Party B gets 27% and Party C gets 19%, then Party A forming a coalition to govern with either of Party B or C has the necessary 50%+ mandate to govern. The important point is that Party A may be right of centre, and Party B might be left of centre, while Party C might be to thee centre. In forming a government the 'net' effect is that Party A, to some greater/lesser degree will have to move to the left whether a coalition is made with either Party B or C. How much depends on which party A goes into a coalition with. So the important effect of PR is that it tends to ensure government policy is not only forced to be more representational of the majority, but it protects against 'extreme' political ideologies as it pulls both toward the centre.

  11. June 15, 2010 at 00:37

    >I understand however that mean it become a three party system doesn't it? Maybe its not just the electoral reforms but there also has to be a change in public opinion. I think we need to watch this coalition as it would give an indicator on how parties would be like in a PR system. I do feel a bit worried about parties changing their views because they want to be elected rather than what they believe in and moving to the centre. That is exactly why I have criticised Labour for moving to the centre which then gives no real choice.

  12. June 15, 2010 at 00:45

    >I agree that the present Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is an important 'test-case' for the UK. And its success will be possibly critical in determining the political perception of coalition governments in the UK in the future. I suspect, for the same reasons, they will be 'people' who would like the present con-lib coalition to fail. The main point for PR is that it forces political parties to be more 'representational' which often means political views that are towards the centre of the political spectrum than at the edges left or right.

  13. June 15, 2010 at 00:57

    >Good blog, Nic and I definitely agree with what you're saying. Will have to read rest of comments tomorrow.

  14. June 15, 2010 at 00:57

    >I think it would better if they didn't go to the centre but was like left and right so when they come into a coalition they can work out there polices. If we have centre parties there is no need for many parties but just one big one with differences.

  15. Nic
    June 15, 2010 at 07:54

    >Jason, whilst PR allows more than 2 parties – it doesn't mean that it is a strict 3 party race. In Denmark there are 10 parties and in Scotland where it has been in place for 13years for our parliament – there are now 5 parties that can get a representative into parliament. SNP(47), Labour(46), LibDems(16), Conservatives(16), Greens(2) as well as an independent. Tony, in your first comment, it read as if you believe PR alone can solve the socio-economic divide in the UK at the moment. I'm not sure this is the case. Socially, even this coalition does not technically have a mandate to govern in Scotland. Conservatives/LibDems have 35% of the vote whilst Labour have 42% of the vote. This 42% is concentrated in the more affluent/urban areas.What is best economically, i have no idea but surely you can't have a government running an economy that the people of a country (Scotland is a country – we may not be independent but we are a country) don't want running the economy.

  16. June 15, 2010 at 11:44

    >I agree with PR, too long we have put up with the current system that only leads to resentment. Lets start acting on this, join my campaign for PR by sending David Cameron a card telling him why we think PR will be for the good of the country. Join my campaign and send your card…http://leard.co.uk/index.php?/projects/dear-dave-new/

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