A major bugbear of the Leave Campaign during the recent EU referendum was their view that the EU was an undemocratic behemoth. Gove told us there were five EU presidents, all unelected. Of course, they ranged from the EU’s effective head of state (whilst we have a Queen) to the Speaker of the European Parliament (which would be weird to directly elect) and the President of the European Central Bank (which would be stupid to directly elect)
But no person drew more ire than Jean-Claude Jüncker, the Luxembourgish President of the European Commission. An unelected bureaucrat that nobody in Britain wanted! Of course, the Tories shied away from the fact that their strop from the European People’s Party in 2009 gave a lot of latitude to Angela Merkel to choose the European People’s Party spitzenkandidat.
Of course, irony would eat itself when Theresa May was declared our next presumptive prime minister without a ballot of Conservative members, let alone a general election. Of course, May herself was not happy when Gordon Brown did the same in 2007, but that’s for another day.
Today, I present some statistics for your convenience, to fully appreciate the post-Brexit democracy.
Election of the President of the European Commission:
- Number of eligible voters: 751
- Number of indirect votes for Jüncker: 38.6 million (28,014 in the UK)
- Number of direct votes for Jüncker: 425
- Number of Scottish votes for Jüncker: 2
Election of the Leader of the Conservative Party:
- Number of eligible voters: 330
- Number of votes for May: 199
- Number of Scottish votes for May: 1
- Number of votes for Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, in 2015: 318
- Number of nominations received by Gordon Brown in 2007: 313
- Number of votes for Margaret Thatcher in the 1990 leadership election (first round): 204
I don’t know about you, but I’m personally very glad that we took back control of our democracy.
If you don’t already know, the “Glee Club” is a Liberal tradition where Party members, on the last night of Conference, get wicked drunk and sing songs satirising all aspects of politics, including yourself.
The below is one such song, to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”, by Andrew “Banjo” Paterson, itself already repurposed for the classic Liberal song “Losing Deposits”:
Continue reading ““Grand Coalition”: A Liberal Glee Club song about the inevitable.”
“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy”, said David Cameron last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, not more than an hour after the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. This is a rather strange proposition for the leader of a party who proposed to reinstate the ban on “extremists” from appearing on television and have been trying for the past few years to reintroduce the “snooper’s charter”. Indeed, the Tories have gone rather native in the Home Office, in contrast to five years ago when we were all criticising Labour for restricting our civil liberties.
Several hours later, the House of Commons then debated a somewhat–but not sufficiently–diluted Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, in which Tory and Labour frontbenchers alike praised the bill for being an important tool in the fight against paedophiles and terrorists: the two words that friends of this blog have previously highlighted as resulting in universally awful legislation.
After this brief sojourn into hypocrisy, Cameron took a flight to Paris where he stood side-by-side with the world’s autocrats and despots in the name of free speech. Whilst there, he lent his name to an agreement for more surveillance powers. One would think that Charb and his seven colleagues would not want that in their name. But Cameron went one step further, and proposed the worst idea to regulate a specialist field since Labour tried to ban coffee eighteen months ago: a ban on encryption.
Continue reading “Il n’est pas Charlie”
“Homophobia”, cried Conservative Future on Friday, the day after the Lib Dems won the Grove Ward by-election in Kingston. “A return to 1983!”, cried the Lib Dem bashers around the internet (including famous opponent of equal marriage Ben Summerskill, but that’s for the next post). Why? Because the election was described as a “straight fight”, when the Tory opponent just so happened to be gay.
Continue reading “Those homophobic Lib Dems and those gay-friendly Tories”
(Note, January 2013: This post was written when I was more naive to economic circumstances. It is best read in a perspective from before the cuts starting. It is kept in the purposes of transparency and does not accurately reflect my current thoughts on the matter.)
Belt up, this is going to be a big one.
So yeah. That march a couple of weeks ago. At a generous estimate, 400,000 marched against the government’s spending cuts. And while I sympathise with them, I also think that it was just a waste of time due to how it ended up. Continue reading “The deficit and all that.”
The Electoral Commission has outlined rough plans on where the reduction of MPs from 650 to 600. As expected, traditional Labour strongholds will lose seats. But is it “gerrymandering”, as Labour have alleged?
Not exactly. It’s an undeniable fact that the current system, as is, is horribly skewed towards Labour. The 2005 election, for example, gave Labour 90 more seats than the Tories in England, despite losing by 0.3%. Labour also enjoy their concentrated support in inner-city areas, which allows them to win a lot of urban seats (and the reverse for the Conservatives, in business districts and rural areas). This creates a squeeze on smaller parties with even support, such as the Liberal Democrats, but also the Greens and UKIP.
Why does the skew exist? Well, there’s several reasons for this happening: Continue reading “Boundary Review”
The recent news about control orders makes me a little wary. On the plus side, we’re rolling back one of the most egregious power grabs by the Labour government, and the executive has to relinquish powers to the judiciary on things such as control orders, but on the other hand, the replaced regime has some massive holes; most notably, the fact that the rubberstamping is gone and the powers are permanent.
Still, I think it’s a good idea. Worst still, it pushes Labour into a corner here: they can’t support the new regime as it would be reversing on party policy to do so (and as we know, only the Lib Dems ever do that) and it’d be tacit support of the coalition they despise so much. They can’t oppose it either, as it ruins their image of having “changed” in the nine months they’ve been out of power. What’s a Miliband to do in this case? Continue reading “Civil liberties, and the Labour and Conservative parties”