16 January 2007

An English Parliament.

Why is it supporters of an English Parliament always conveniently fail to mention that 10% of the English have already voted for regional devolution and have successful devolved government (The Greater London Assembly)?

The only solution that respects the wishes of all English voters is regional government, not an English parliament of 50m that not only disregards the wishes of Londoners but would prove so dominant and powerful it would inevitably cause a break up of the union.

Those who call for a English parliament do not want equity with Scotland, they want to reassert dominance over it. The English regions would be equivalent size and power to Scotland, respect regional difference and would not be divisive to the union.

An English parliament would mean a Labour north of England dominated by a Tory south. This would inevitably lead to resentment in the north, just as 18 years of Tory rule over a socialist voting Scotland led to resentment.

I suspect the real reason supporters of an English parliament want it is because they want a Tory dominated parliament. Well I have news for you, the Tories only get 35% of the vote in England. If we must have an English parliament, the only way it would be even remotely democratic, is if it was a proportionally elected one (like in Scotland and Wales). PR would allow majority government that represents a range of views, but what is the betting that supporters of an English Parliament also support the undemocratic 'first past the post' system?

10 comments:

  1. Well I followed your link to the Tories 'only' getting 35% of the vote.n And guess what, so do Labour. And Labour had so many more seats. So what's this stuff about PR and first past the post as some kind of Tory ploy? Actually regional assemblies might be ok, but I think its obvious you oppose an English parliament because the Tories might win. So much better for Scottish MPs to undemocratically force through Labour policies on an England who doesn't want them? The Tories get a higher percentage of the vote in England, then they should win. That's democracy whether you like the result or not.

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  2. Getting 35% of the vote, whether it be Labour or the Tories should not mean 'winning' an election.

    Only under FPTP where 35% of the vote can give you 55% of the seats can you 'win' with this low proportion of the vote.

    The Tories have always supported FPTP because it is undemocratic and helps them. I support PR because I want to see a democratic system - whoever wins under it.

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  3. Neil, whilst the First Past the Post system does lead to electoral oddities you highlight, it still seems important that any Government should have a working majority to implement their policies, whether that's Labour or Conservative. The alternative of permanent coalitions would be worse...

    How does FPTP currently help the Conservative Party!?! They are grossly under-represented in Wales compared to their share of the votes cast whilst they won more votes in England than Labour yet won 92(?) fewer seats!

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  4. I personally favour an AV system for an English Parliament and I also think that it is important for Labour to back this and take the thunder away from our opponents. Dismissing an idea such as an English Parliament on the basis that it will benefit your opponents will not impress the person on the street

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  5. snafu: "The alternative of permanent coalitions would be worse..."

    In what way? How has Germany and Scandanavia suffered from permanent coalitions?

    Their post war growth dwawfs ours, their public services are much better funded, they have tougher environmental legislation, higher political engagement, basically they have higher standards of living and better government all round. Surely these are the things that matter? So what if it takes a few extra weeks after elections to form a government, it seems a trifling price to pay.

    "How does FPTP currently help the Conservative Party!?!"

    Currently it helps them by making them the only electorally likely alternative government to Labour. Without this straitjacket, voters would have long abandoned them and the Tories would have drifted into the biggest right wing rump of about 20% or so among several right of centre parties.

    In England the Tories got 35.7% of the votes and 36.7% of the seats. So they are still OVER-REPRESENTED there.

    Paul: "I personally favour an AV system for an English Parliament"

    How can you say that? While AV is better than FPTP, why choose it when starting a system from scratch. Every new post-war democratic country has chosen a PR system.

    "Dismissing an idea such as an English Parliament on the basis that it will benefit your opponents will not impress the person on the street"

    The majority of people on the street support parties they perceive as tax increasing. An English Parliament under FPTP or AV could mean giving majorities to tax cutting parties they didn't vote for.

    That is part of the argument but also people want an answer to the west lothian question but not one that destroys the union. They have been led to believe there isn't an answer to both, but there is - regional government. We are already 10% of the way there in England, we cannot go back on the will of Londoners.

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  6. I agree with Neil. It is hardly a meaningful form of devolution to have 1 devolved parliament for the whole of England which is supposed to represent almost 90% of the population of the whole UK. Regional govt in England makes more sense than 1 English Parliament.

    No other devolved/federal system has 1 developed assembly that represents almost 9 in 10 of the people.

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  7. I understand now that you support PR regardless of the result. But I have to say your original post gave the deliberate impression that a minority Tory party would win under FPTP whereas labour are currently benefitting. Until we get electoral reform, would you support ending Scottish MPs rights to vote on English and Welsh only issues?

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  8. Neil, I'm not close enough to the machinations of German and Scandinavian politics to be able to comment on their relative successes!

    Germany's total destruction would have helped in their phenomenal post-war growth. How does that compare to socialist East Germany's growth!?!

    Swedish support for a generous welfare state and high taxation seems to be disappearing now though...

    I thought FPTP frequently penalised the Conservative Party by Lib. Dem. / Labour tactical voting!

    Neil, I'm yet to meet anyone "on the street" who likes to pay more tax themselves!

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  9. ranter: "Until we get electoral reform, would you support ending Scottish MPs rights to vote on English and Welsh only issues?"

    A referendum and electoral reform could happen very quickly if there was political will at the top.

    However if no electoral reform then we have to ask how many examples are there of Scottish MPs making a difference to English/Welsh issues? It is a very rare thing, the Tories are only suggesting this exclusion for political advantage. On most bills passed there is an English/Welsh majority of MPs. The best thing to do is to devolve powers to the regions as quickly as possible to correct the anomaly rather than going for devisive messy short term solutions.

    Anon: As you rightly suggest, no federally devolved system would have such a top heavy system where 90% of the population were in one devolved parliament.

    snafu: "I'm not close enough to the machinations of German and Scandinavian politics to be able to comment on their relative successes!"

    Oh come on, nobody would deny that German and Scandanavian public services are better funded and that they have higher political engagement and better environmental protection and higher economic growth. Where has permanent coalition government made things 'worse' for them?

    "Germany's total destruction would have helped in their phenomenal post-war growth."

    Yes but it doesn't explain why they went from GDP per capita less than ours to one greater (although obviously re-unification stalled growth recently but now there are signs of it turning around again).

    "How does that compare to socialist East Germany's growth!?!"

    I agree market led systems are better, the private sector does most (but not all) things more efficiently, but this is not an argument for or against PR?

    Of course East Germany and other Soviet dominated countries were a mess (mostly because it was undemocratic socialism - an oxymoron in my opinion, I am for democratic socialism as they have in Scandanavia). FPTP is more democratic than what they had under communism and PR is more democratic than FPTP, so lets move to the most democratic system, the evidence of PR run countries shows the benefits.

    "Swedish support for a generous welfare state and high taxation seems to be disappearing now though..."

    It was a very close win for the right and it is a temporary blip. After 75 years of socialism out of the last 85 years, the Swedes fancied a change, they will soon realise their mistake.

    "I thought FPTP frequently penalised the Conservative Party by Lib. Dem. / Labour tactical voting!"

    The tax increasing parties vote is more split, which is always going to be a disadvantage under FPTP. It means that the 57% of voters that have always voted against Tory tax cuts have ended up with Tory public service cutting governments most of the time.

    "Neil, I'm yet to meet anyone "on the street" who likes to pay more tax themselves!"

    Of course people don't want to pay any tax if they can get away with it, but at the same time they want decent public services. Overall most people will pay more tax if they get better public services, which is why the Tory press has to keep telling us how bad everything is.

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  10. I suspect the real reason supporters of an English parliament want it is because they want a Tory dominated parliament.

    Oh look, you're wrong. AGAIN! Do you actually have any evidence to support this theory of yours? I thought not.

    Well I have news for you, the Tories only get 35% of the vote in England. If we must have an English parliament, the only way it would be even remotely democratic, is if it was a proportionally elected one (like in Scotland and Wales).

    In the last election, the conservatives got more votes in England than new labour did! They, and not new labour, have a mandate in England. Thus, if the people of England want a tory parliament they must have one. You cant argue against this because youre always stating that youre all for what the people want. Ha! ha!

    "Remotely democratic"? Yeah im sure they tories will be more democratic than new labour have been. Saying that, it wont be hard for the tories to be more democratic than new labour. Will it? Mussolini was probably no worse than new labour!
    Who is the latest scotch new labour crook to be caught out? The speaker! Or should I state, the ex-speaker. ha! ha!

    what is the betting that supporters of an English Parliament also support the undemocratic 'first past the post' system?

    What! Like new labour have for all these years you mean?

    You dont care what excuse you use for justifying the continuing denial of self determination to the (AngleCynn) English nation. That is plain to see. The fact is in the election the tories got more votes in England than new labour so if they do dominate the newly reestablished English parliament then it is entirely in keeping with the wishes of the people of England! Innit Harding?
    Oh come off it, the reason people like you are crapping yourselves is because the tories will dominate England, and the snp and pc will dominate scotland and wales. What is left for pathetic new labour? Ha! ha! You deserve nothing less.

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