04 December 2008

'Westminster system' about to make reluctant Canadians face FIFTH general election in EIGHT years!

The Tories in Canada have just suspended parliament to as they put it - 'protect democracy'. PM Stephen Harper was about to lose a vote of confidence in parliament which would have meant his minority government losing power.

Instead, because Canada has the same 'unwritten constitution' that also afflicts the UK he can get some unelected posh person (Michaelle Jean - Canadian Governor General to HRH Queen) to scrap parliament for a few months to give the Tories some breathing space to think up some propaganda to keep them in power. Nice!

FIVE general elections in EIGHT years - I can't wait to hear about how our style of electoral system is causing such instability. Oh we never will, will we, cos it doesn't fit in with the sort of right-wing propaganda they want us to hear does it?


  1. Neil,

    you're right that it's an absolute disgrace, a coup d'etat against democracy, but why must you always lapse into this playground-level left versus right nonsense? The sad truth is if labour or another leftwing-styled government did the exact same thing, you'd justify it.

  2. TT: Playground? Look at my posts about how Brown is unsuitable to be PM, how I think the civil contingicies act is wrong, how the VAT cut was pathetic and the economy was always heading for the rocks. Where is this blind justification of Labour policies?

  3. There is still some chance, that Harper will finally succeed in convincing one of the opposition parties to help him push the budget proposal and will survive in January, but anyway, this government will be unstable and will collapse, no matter if in January or a bit later. And then what? Election again - with similar results again.
    Vicious circle here...


  4. Neil,

    you do criticise labour, but only in the context that they are the ONLY party you will countenance supporting. Indeed in a recent post, you blame labour policies on the people who left or never joined the party, rather than those at the head of it. You often seem to conflate democracy with the labour party.

    You know as well as I do that labour could have changed our electoral system, and were elected in '97 with the pledge to hold a referendum on doing so. They never did, because once in power they realised they didn't need to.

    If you believe in democracy you must accept that your enemies are those that oppose democracy, of which there are many, rather than so-called rightwingers.

  5. TT: I think I need to write a full post to explain my position on this, but for now..

    Anybody who joins ANY party is generally quite unusual, especially now party memberships have fallen from 4% of the population in the 1950s to less than 1% now. We are just not getting a proper cross section of society (not that we ever did but it has got much worse).

    The sort of people that join the Tories are generally from a very insular background and like all parties (including Labour) very middle class (or upper class in the Tory case).

    A large number of Labour party members join because they genuinely want to see redistribution of wealth and eradication of poverty. Tory ideology by contrast just does not believe this is possible, so their leadership will only pay lip service to the issue at best and generaly triple poverty when in power. This is why I think joining the Tories (whose democratic structure gives no say to members on policy) is a waste of time.

    And all the minor parties have virtually no power under this electoral system so are also a waste of time (no matter how democratic their internal structures).

    That leaves Labour. Ken Livingstone demonstrates just how radical an agenda can still be achived within the Labour party and there is still enough democracy within the party for members to have a real influence over policy direction. Yes, it is a battle of wits with a dim right-leaning leadership - but we have to remember when we criticise 'them' - they are drawn from the membership as a whole - if the membership moved to the radical left (instead of all the lefties just giving up and leaving) then so too would the leadership. The leadership will always be to the right of the membership (under FPTP) but that does not mean they can completely ignore the grassroots (though admittedly they try to). That is my justification for being in the Labour party and also why as many of the public should join, to exert an influence (rather than having an inconsequential moan from the sidelines).

    When the choice is Tory or Labour - there is no point not voting Labour over reneging on PR, Iraq, PFI or whatever, when the alternative is a Tory government that would be more gung-ho on all these policies. Nor do I believe for one second that the Tories would run public services more efficiently, or be more libertarian over CCTV, databases or freedom of information, etc. It is not in the Tory nature - they always end up being more authoritarian than Labour when in government and spend more money on political folly like defence contracts, corrupt business links, quangos (at expense of local democracy) and managerialism and consultants. The Tory record of 18 years under Thatcherism tells us this.

    You are just plain wrong if you think I am 'tied' to Labour - it is just a vehicle to get what I want - I have no emotional or other attachment to the party. I couldn't care less if another party could deliver more of what I want, I would leave Labour in a second. But for now, Labour are the best bet - and for that reason, and that reason alone, I support them.