Number crunching: A Brexit democracy special

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

Comparative statistics:

  • 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.


It’s me yuman rites, innit?

I’m taking some cues of my friend over at Legal Fiction by doing a short blog on human rights, the bête noire of all of our so beloved right-wing newspapers. I’m going to not cover the minutae of things such as judicial review, because he’s done it already. And he knows it better than me.

It’s been a disastrous month for the European Court of Human Rights in British opinion. Not only did they have to deal with prisoner voting, but now there’s news about an impending case before the ECHR about prisoners in psychiatric units being given “pocket money” – or, as the Daily Mail put it so eloquently, Killers and rapists go to European Court of Human Rights to win full state benefits“. It’s a perfect story for the Mail; they can rag on criminals, benefit claimants, the mentally ill, and Europe at the same time! I mean, factually, the headline is correct. But the intention of the article is to equate people who did these horrific acts because they were severely mentally ill (and thus, not responsible for their crimes) with those like, say, Ian Huntley or Harold Shipman. It’s bad for mental health awareness, but it’s absolutely terrible because these newspapers are using this as a way to score cheap political points.


Civil liberties, and the Labour and Conservative parties

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?