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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party leadership election 2015 on: May 15, 2015, 05:30:41 am
If the Labour Party elects a guy called Tristram as leader they should disband immediately.


e: Suggesting we refer to withdrawals as "a reverse Farage".

It is even worse, as the son of a life peer  he has the courtesy title of The Honourable Tristram Hunt. It sounds like one of Bertie Wooster's chums from the Drones Club.

No doubt all this is superficial and Mr Hunt is just as qualified as anyone else who stumbled in to a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrat leadership election, 2015 on: May 13, 2015, 03:36:06 pm
Maybe they should drop the 'Liberal' and become 'The Democrats'. Would allow them to reinvent themselves in more ways.
So they'd be "Literal Democrats"?

When the Liberal Party and the SDP merged they were officially the Social and Liberal Democrats (the acronym for Liberal and Social Democrats being considered unwise). They originally tried using the Democrats as a short name. It was tried out in a by-election but the electorate did not understand who they were. The short name Liberal Democrats was then adopted and eventually became the official name of the party.

For better or for ill liberal has been a word used to describe the party and its predecessors for almost two hundred years. To abandon the word probably would kill the party.
3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Election Day & Results Thread) on: May 12, 2015, 08:49:49 am
Can anyone tell me what the point is of voting for the Speaker seeking reelection, if that person never takes a position on any substantive issue? It effectively disenfranchises the entire constituency.

The theory is that if the Speaker has a quiet word with a government minister about a constituency issue, he or she is more likely to be listened to attentively than an ordinary back bencher making a fuss on the floor of the House.

So far as not voting on the merits of legislation, the Speaker is insulated from losing support by the convention that the major parties do not run candidates in the Speaker's constituency.

No incumbent Speaker, seeking re-election, has been defeated in a constituency election for several centuries (certainly not since they began running as the Speaker without being even a nominal party candidate in I think 1935) so the arrangement works in practice however illogical it may be.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrat leadership election, 2015 on: May 11, 2015, 03:02:42 pm
The most important argument for Tim Farron is that he would have some chance of attracting attention, whereas Norman Lamb is the sort of competent person who is invaluable in government but who will not make an impact in opposition.

Tim Farron also has the advantages of not having served in the coalition government and having voted against the tuition fees. He is best placed of all the surviving Lib Dem MPs to begin to rebuild the brand. It will not be easy.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party leadership election 2015 on: May 09, 2015, 08:41:36 pm
Perhaps this is an argument for skipping a political generation, to choose a leader first elected after 2005.

Miliband was first elected in 2005.

I know. The political generation to be skipped is, I take it, the one elected before 2005. I was however responding to Famous Mortimer's question, which implied a 2005 cut off point as all prominent candidates elected before then would have supported the Iraq War.

My own view is that it is better to have a leader with a long political career than a novice, but Labour is not helped because Blair and Brown were the sort of leaders who preferred sycophants to independently powerful colleagues. It may be that there is no one with an ideal record available, as Blair and Brown did not give prospective strong successors the chance to develop.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party leadership election 2015 on: May 09, 2015, 07:47:57 pm
Were any of the people being discussed in parliament when the Iraq War was voted on? If so, how did they vote?

This seems to be the official division list for the vote, which I believe is the one being asked about. The resolution being voted on is set out after the votes.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030318/debtext/30318-48.htm


I notice that Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Angela Eagle and David Lammy all voted for the resolution. I imagine that just about all ambitious Labour politicians holding or hoping to acquire ministerial office from Blair, who were in the House in 2003, voted for it.

Perhaps this is an argument for skipping a political generation, to choose a leader first elected after 2005.

Of the potential candidates I have noticed, Sadiq Khan was elected in 2005, Chuka Umunna in 2010 and Dan Jarvis in 2011.
7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Election Day & Results Thread) on: May 08, 2015, 12:14:32 pm
It appears Cameron actually implemented Netanyahu campaign strategy applied to Scotland and well it worked.

I'm not familiar with LD interior politics, how do they select a leader? must he be an MP?

The party constitution requires the leader to be a member of the House of Commons.

Quote
10.5 Nominations must be of a Member of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons,
who must be proposed by at least ten percent of other members of the Parliamentary Party
in the House of Commons and supported by 200 members in aggregate in not less than 20
Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations
representing youth and students as provided by Article 13.Cool and must indicate acceptance
of nomination.

The leader is elected by the party membership, using in effect the alternative vote (the version of the Single Transferable Vote involving filling a single office).

Quote
16. The election shall be conducted by secret ballot and the single transferable vote. Counts shall be conducted in accordance with the current edition of the Electoral Reform Society’s
publication ‘How to conduct an election by the single transferable vote’. The election count
may be scrutinised by the candidate, their agents and one other personal representative and
shall be open to any party member, subject to capacity of the venue.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Which is the more likely as the next UK government? on: May 07, 2015, 03:10:44 am
I think a Labour minority is the most probable government. The Conservatives will probably win the most seats,  but they will have a more difficult time mustering the votes needed to stay in power.
As for a Conservative/Labour grand coalition, that would never happen. Those two parties would rather dissolve parliament than work together.

The Grand Coalition comes after the second inconclusive general election of the year.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Where Can I Watch Election Results on: May 05, 2015, 04:32:00 pm
Keep in mind that unlike practically everywhere else, unless they've changed it, the U.K does not release partial election results, but only announces the result when all the polls have have been counted. All the candidates appear on a stage together when the results are announced.  This has made for some amusing television seeing some of the candidates of the Monster Raving Loony Party on the stage.

The British system does almost always enable the final result of a constituency election to be known, within one or at most two days of the election.

It would be nice to have official vote totals for each polling district (the smallest geographical area into which constituencies are divided - there are usually one or more per local government ward, which are the usual building blocks for the constituencies at least in  England). However no one seems to want such a system, which is surprising since all parties would benefit from having the additional information.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: May 02, 2015, 04:35:16 am
Discussion of government formation has to take account that the traditional conventions have been modified by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

The UK civil service has compiled a document, called The Cabinet Manual, to summarise the law and conventions in various areas including government formation. This part of the manual starts at page 14.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/60641/cabinet-manual.pdf

11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 10, 2015, 09:16:04 am
The Conservative Party was politically linked with the Ulster Unionist Party until 1974. Since then the UUP has been independent of the Conservatives apart from during an electoral pact at the last general election. In recent years the Conservatives have run their own candidates in Northern Ireland with minimal success.

The British Labour Party has never organised in Northern Ireland. It has some international links with the SDLP, who often co-operate with Labour at Westminster.

The Liberal Democrats do have some members in Northern Ireland, but they have not chosen to nominate candidates. The members involved are usually also members of the Alliance Party, which does present candidates. The Alliance Party has international links with the Liberal Democrats and its peers seem to take the Lib Dem whip in the House of Lords. Naomi Long did not do this in the House of Commons, possibly to distance herself from the coalition.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 08, 2015, 04:42:59 pm
I'm intrigued by the idea of Labour and SNP winning a majority of seats with nowhere near a majority of votes.  Any ideas on what the bare minimum of a total vote share might be needed to pull this off?

It is impossible to say in a relative  majority system, with an as yet unknown number of candidates and votes. The minimum number of votes to win a seat (leaving aside the drawing of lots to break a tie, which I saw happen once in a local election - where dice throws decided who won), is one more vote than the second placed candidate.

I happen to have the official results of the 2001 general election to hand. That includes a table of the seats in rank order of the winning party's share of votes. The range is from 77.8% (Labour in Liverpool Walton) down to 29.7% (SNP in Perth). The vote actually needed to win is not totally predictable in advance.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 07, 2015, 10:30:58 am
Surely another hung parliament must mean the end of FPTP?

Not necessarily. The Conservative and Labour parties both have a very strong self interest in preserving FPTP. Presumably any proportional system would accelerate the decline (and possible fragmentation) of the two largest parties.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 07, 2015, 01:58:54 am
The pre-merger Liberal Party was more consistently pro-EEC/European Union than either the Labour or Conservative party were.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 03, 2015, 02:38:31 am
Quote from: Lief
Quote
It's so weird that he's even still their leader. Obviously I'm an American and don't follow British politics as closely as I do my own, but he just seems like a walking, talking disaster of a human being. I guess there was no one else in the party brave/dumb enough to replace him (as they'd only to end up leading the Lib Dems to an historic defeat anyway), but still...

I have copied the part of the federal constitution of the Liberal Democrats concerning leadership elections. The United Kingdom party is a federation of the English, Scottish and Welsh parties.

Quote
10.2 An election for the Leader shall be called upon:
(a) the Leader asking for an election;
(b) the death or incapacity of the Leader;
(c) the Leader ceasing to be a Member of the House of Commons (other than a
temporary cessation by reason of a dissolution);
(d) the receipt by the President of the resignation of the Leader or of a declaration of
intent to resign upon the election of a new Leader;
(e) a vote of no confidence in the Leader being passed by a majority of all Members of
the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons;
(f) the receipt by the President of a requisition submitted by at least 75 Local Parties
(including for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisation or Organisations
representing youth and/or students) following the decision of a quorate general
meeting; or
(g) the first anniversary of the preceding general election being reached without an
election being called under any of paragraphs (a) through (f), provided that:
(i) the Federal Executive may postpone such an election for no more than one
year by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting; and
(ii) this paragraph (g) shall not apply if the Leader is a member of the
Government.
10.3 Upon election, the Leader shall hold office until death, incapacity or resignation or the
completion of an election called under this Article.

Nick Clegg is not particularly unpopular within the Liberal Democrats. It is also true that, unless a prospective new leader had advocated breaking up the coalition, they would be in exactly the same political situation Nick Clegg has been in.

No one seriously tried to trigger a contested leadership election during the last Parliament, so Nick Clegg is trying his luck with the electorate in the present general election.

If the general election goes really badly, I expect that there will be a leadership contest in the next few months. Who will be eligible to stand depends upon who is elected to the new House of Commons (as the leader is required to be an MP).

If Nick Clegg retains his seat and the party has say 30 MPs in the next Parliament, there may not be a contested leadership election.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 21, 2015, 04:45:19 am
Helsinkian, there is still time to nominate another candidate. In the UK you only need the signatures of ten electors to nominate a parliamentary candidate (a proposer, a seconder and eight assentors) apart from paying a £500 deposit and filling in a few forms. You can deliver a nomination paper to the local constituency returning officer between the publication of notice of election and the close of nominations.

I am taking dates and times from the Combined Timetable for elections on 7 May 2015, which the Slough returning officer has issued, based on the Electoral Commission guidance.

Parliament is to be dissolved on Monday 30 March. A writ (a royal command to elect a member to the new Parliament) will be sent to each returning officer.  The writ is received on Tuesday 31 March. The returning officer then has to publish a notice of election, which must be by 4 pm on Thursday 2 April but may be earlier. The close of nominations, which is a very rigid deadline, is 4 pm on Thursday 9 April. If a prospective candidate has not delivered valid forms by that time, they will not be a candidate in the election.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: The UK General Election Prediction Thread on: March 11, 2015, 05:09:45 pm
A Labour minority government seems to be the most likely outcome of the general election. I think there is quite a good chance, under current law, that such a minority government could continue in office until the next fixed term election due in 2020; without necessarily needing a formal confidence and supply agreement from the SNP.

The traditional Westminster model treated the ability of a ministry to obtain supply from the House of Commons as being essential to demonstrate that it retained the confidence of the House.  Thus if a government was defeated on any vote it declared a matter of confidence (which by convention would include any major financial vote) it was required to either resign or advise the monarch to dissolve Parliament and order a general election.

A past Labour government got away with relaxing the traditional conventions. On 10 March 1976, the government were defeated 284-256 on a motion approving public expenditure. A subsequent vote of confidence was won 297-280 and the ministry continued in office. Other votes were lost on quite major legislation, but the government did not treat them as matters of confidence. The ministry eventually fell on a formal Conservative motion of no confidence which passed 311-310 on 28 March 1979.

Historically, from the adoption of Home Rule for Ireland as Liberal policy in 1886 until the First World War, whenever there was no Liberal majority and the Unionists (Conservatives and Liberal Unionists) were in a minority in the House of Commons the result was a Liberal minority government. This was not due to formal agreements between the Liberals and the Irish Nationalists, but to a general understanding that only a Liberal government would pursue home rule. In 1892-95 and 1910-15 Liberal governments were in a minority, but they did not fall because they lost nationalist support.

The old conventions about when a government has lost the confidence of the House now seem to have been replaced by the statutory provisions about no confidence votes in the fixed term Parliament legislation. If that is right a government could now be defeated on its budget but still win a statutory vote of confidence, thus being able to remain in office if not precisely in power (unless the Prime Minister decided to resign because his position was too humiliating to go on).

Perhaps a Parliament where the government is unable to pass just about any law it wants, but has to seek support from outside its own parliamentary party, will serve the country better than the usual Parliamentary dictatorship of a majority government.


 
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 03, 2015, 08:45:56 pm
Helsinkian, the parliamentary representation of the Isle of Wight has long been a problem. The electorate for the Isle is an awkward number, too big for one average size constituency and too small for two. In view of the strong preference of the islanders not to have part of the island attached to a bit of southern Hampshire across the Solent, the Boundary Commission was left with an awkward decision in each boundary review.

Under former laws, about Parliamentary boundary changes, the decision has been to have one oversized constituency. Under the present legislation, when the boundaries are next redrawn, the Isle of Wight will be divided into two undersized seats (as it is treated as a special case and is not subject to the normal rules).
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: February 27, 2015, 11:40:23 pm
Ed Milliband's principal rival was his older brother David. David's reputation has risen because he was not elected, but I always thought that Ed was better at simulating normal human behaviour than David was. No doubt if David had been elected, the general opinion now would be that Ed would have been the better option.

The other candidates for the Labour leadership were Ed Balls (now Shadow Chancellor), Andy Burnham (former Health Secretary now shadowing the job) and Diane Abbott (a black London MP who appears on television a lot).

A truly dreadful field. I would not have voted for any of them, even if I had been a Labour supporter. However, if absolutely forced to choose, I would concede that Ed was the least worst of them.

Mind you the recent Conservative and Liberal Democrat leadership candidates have not been much better. I think all UK parties had better quality leaders in the past. At least they usually tended to have been prominent political figures for a lengthy period, during which they had done things and stood for something more important than winning the next election.


20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: February 12, 2015, 11:48:54 am
Quote
AV was lost because it was too complicated a system and it looked desperately self serving on the part of the LibDems.

AV is much simpler than any system of PR. The pro AV campaign probably failed to explain it adequately. It also failed to provide an emotional case for why people should support it (ie the Tory fat cats do not like it, so it must be good).

If the AV system was perceived as self serving for Lib Dems, then the anti-AV campaign did succeed in making an emotional case against the change.

In fact many Lib Dems were distinctly lukewarm about AV because it was an inadequate move towards change/fair votes, which would have provided minimal benefit at best and might have been less favourable to the party than FPTP in other circumstances. Certainly AV would have been less favourable to the Lib Dems than any form of PR.

However in an environment where there are multiple medium sized parties, an argument based on antipathy to any one of them is less likely to be persuasive than if there was only one which seemed likely to benefit. If we continue to have a series of inconclusive elections then electoral reform may eventually come back on the agenda.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: February 12, 2015, 09:07:49 am
Presumably if Lib Dem pressure in 2010 had got a PR referendum, it would have faced exactly the same Tory misrepresentation as the AV referendum did. At least there is still the remote chance that at some future date PR will re-emerge on to the agenda, which would have been prevented if a PR referendum had been lost.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: February 09, 2015, 07:14:35 am
When the Liberal Party were a major party, they supported first past the post. After 1922 the prominent Liberal, David Lloyd George, was reported to say that if he had known the future he would have strongly supported PR in 1918 and as the Prime Minister he could have made sure that it passed.

Conversely when Labour was a third party it had supported PR, but once it had reached major party status party opinion rapidly changed.
23  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: If the president elect dies before being sworn in... on: January 22, 2015, 11:03:41 am
As I understand it, the significance of taking the oath or affirmation prescribed in the constitution is not that it confers the office of President but that it is a requirement before the person who is  President can exercise the powers and carry out the duties of the office of President.

If you imagine a situation, similar to what happened to Ariel Sharon, where the President-elect was totally incapacitated by a stroke (so they could neither resign nor take up the duties of the Presidency) but was still alive; the President elect would become President at noon on 20th January.

Presumably in that situation the Vice President elect would have to be sworn in as Vice President and there would then have to be a short pause in the inauguration so the principal officers of the executive department (the outgoing President's cabinet) held a brief meeting to declare the President incapacitated, so as to allow the Vice President to become Acting President under the terms of the appropriate constitutional amendment.

A really difficult situation would be if the person who had won the Presidential election was to die on the day when the electors were due to meet and vote for a President and vice President elect. Particularly if the circumstances were such that some of the electors knew about the death when they voted.

There is precedent (Horace Greeley in 1872) that electoral votes cast for a person known to be dead are invalid.

24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: December 22, 2014, 09:57:22 am
I am in the Slough constituency. Nothing to see here - safe Labour win.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Canadian federal election - 2015 on: December 10, 2014, 03:03:48 pm
For what it may be worth, Canada ranks 20th in the International Cricket Council rankings (and it was higher in recent years when the country had limited over international status, teams 11-16 in the list have limited over international status).

Quote
ICC GLOBAL RANKINGS (as at 29 June 2014)
SENIOR MEN'S CRICKET
Reliance ODI Championship Table:
Rating
1 AUSTRALIA FULL MEMBER 115
2 INDIA FULL MEMBER 112
3 SRI LANKA FULL MEMBER 111
4 SOUTH AFRICA FULL MEMBER 111
5 ENGLAND FULL MEMBER 109
6 PAKISTAN FULL MEMBER 100
7 NEW ZEALAND FULL MEMBER 98
8 WEST INDIES FULL MEMBER 94
9 BANGLADESH FULL MEMBER 72
10 ZIMBABWE FULL MEMBER 61
11 Afghanistan Asia No.1 Associate/Affiliate Member 34
12 Ireland Europe No.1 Associate/Affiliate Member 33
Then, Associates & Affiliates from most recent WCL event (excluding Ireland/Afghanistan mentioned above);
13 Scotland Europe 2
14 UAE Asia 2
15 Hong Kong Asia 3
16 PNG East Asia - Pacific No.1 Associate/Affiliate Member
17 Kenya Africa No. 1 Associate/Affiliate Member
18 Namibia Africa 2
19 Netherlands Europe 3
20 Canada Americas No.1 Associate/Affiliate Member
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