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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 20, 2017, 04:45:18 pm
Corbyn is a very implausible coalition Prime Minister. He cannot agree with the majority of his own MPs, let alone those from other parties.

I think if Corbyn got the chance to form a government, he would produce a Labour minority administration. He would do no deals with anyone and just dare the opposition parties to combine and vote him out.

This is not a formula for a very productive period of government, but like Ramsay MacDonald in 1923 it might be thought that the fact of a left wing government for a few months would make future ones more likely.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: April 28, 2017, 01:19:39 pm
What is interesting about this election is that for the first time the CON vote share will most likely be above LAB + LIB vote shares combined.  I do not think this has even taken place in the modern era.  The only exception seems to be 1955 but LIB contested so few seats that year I do not really count that.

I would say the modern political era starts in 1922, when the Labour-Conservative two party syste, became firmly established.

The Conservatives outpolled Labour and Liberals combined in 1931. Admittedly that is a special case, as the Conservatives and Liberals were both supporting the National government and the Labour Party was split.

Again in 1935 the Conservatives outpolled the other two. The Liberal Party was no longer supporting the National government by that point.

British Electoral Facts 1832-2012 does not suggest that 1955 was an exception, C 49.3%, Lab 47.4%, Lib 2.8%.

3  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Whatever happened to this idea? on: April 25, 2017, 07:24:20 am
The modern theory of the House of Lords is that it is a gathering of the "great and the good", presumably the notable people selected as Lords temporal and the Church of England bishops who become Lords spiritual.
It can ask the House of  Commons to think again on legislation, but except for legislation to extend the term of a Parliament, the Commons view will eventually prevail if it passes the same law in two successive sessions of Parliament (a session usually being about a year long). The Lords have less power to delay money bills.

Normally the Lords perform a valuable function in carrying out a more detailed scrutiny of bills than the Commons do. A lot of detailed amendments improve legislation and are usually not very politically controversial. Because of its composition there are more likely to be experts in the membership on any subject dealt with, than in the elected chamber.
4  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: What kind of parliamentary system would you prefer to adopt? on: April 25, 2017, 07:03:39 am
No head of state. Useless, pointless, and a waste of resources.

Keep head of state and head of government combined.

A seperate Head of State can serve as a politically neutral national figurehead and perform ceremonial functions, thus leaving the Head of Government free to deal with controversies and be blamed if things go wrong without causing a constitutional crisis.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: France 2017: Results Thread on: April 23, 2017, 09:12:08 am
Continuing the discussions about the assassination of French Presidents.


On 6 May 1932, Paul Doumer was in Paris at the opening of a book fair at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, talking to the author Claude Farrère. Suddenly several shots were fired by Paul Gorguloff, a mentally unstable Russian émigré, who was also present. Two of the shots hit Doumer, at the base of the skull and in the right armpit, and he fell to the ground. Claude Farrère wrestled with the assassin before the police arrived. Doumer was rushed to hospital in Paris, where he died at 04:37 AM on 7 May. He was the only French president to die of a gunshot wound.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: April 22, 2017, 06:56:24 am
Electoral pacts are difficult to arrange due to the tribal nature of British political parties. Now the norm is that Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrats will contest every seat in Great Britain, apart from the Speaker's constituency and very occasional special cases like Martin Bell in Tatton in 1997.

Two generations ago there was not the expectation that the major parties would contest every seat.

Before 1964 there were local pacts, in two northern English boroughs with two seats, to have a Conservative candidate in one seat and a Liberal in the other. In 1964 Labour won both seats in Bolton and Huddersfield.

7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: April 19, 2017, 08:50:04 am

This reminds me more of the comment by the Labour leader, Hugh Gaitskell in 1962, that:-

It does mean, if this is the idea, the end of Britain as an independent European state ... it means the end of a thousand years of history.

Gaitskell at the time was considered a rather right wing figure in the Labour Party, but he offended younger similar politicians (notably Roy Jenkins) by taking an anti European Economic Community stance.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: April 18, 2017, 06:05:44 am
If Parliament has not been dissolved by 4 May, the writ (in theory a royal command) for the by-election to be held will remain in full force. It is irrelevant how long the new MP serves before the disolution.

If Parliament is dissolved before 4 May, then the by-election will be cancelled.

BBC is just announcing that the Parliamentary vote for an early general election (requiring support from two thirds of the members), will be held tomorrow.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: If the US had much shorter terms, single term limits, etc. on: March 31, 2017, 02:41:36 pm
The proposals would mean that the US and state governments would have next to no institutional memory. Competent officeholders would not have time to really learn what to do. In practice it would mean that the only people who would know what was going on would be the lobbyists, who would probably draft all substantial legislation.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections, 2017 on: March 30, 2017, 04:39:39 pm
The decisions on Tony Benn's ineligibility and that his opponent was entitled to be returned
 (despite having actually lost the election) was certified by Judges hearing an election Petition. The House of Commons was bound by statute to pass a motion to amend the return. The Speaker ruled that the motion was not amendable or debatable and it passed 235 to 145.

HC Deb 31 July 1961 vol 645 cc943-9 943
§ To the Right Honourable The Speaker of the House of Commons.

§ We, William Gorman, Knight, and William Lennox McNair, Knight, Judges of the High Court of Justice and two of the Judges on the Rota for the time being for the trial of Election Petitions in England and Wales

§ DO HEREBY CERTIFY in pursuance of the Representation of the People Act, 1949, that upon the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 21st, and 28th days of July, 1961, we duly held a Court at the Royal Courts of Justice London, for the trial of and did try the Election Petition for the Bristol, South East Constituency wherein Malcolm James St. Clair and John Malcolm Harris were the Petitioners, and Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, otherwise the 2nd Viscount Stansgate of Stansgate, was the Respondent

§ And in further pursuance of the said Act WE CERTIFY that at the conclusion of the said trial we determined.

1. that Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, otherwise 2nd Viscount Stansgate of Stansgate, was not duly elected or returned at the by-election for the Bristol, South East, Constituency held on 4th May, 1961, and
2. that Malcolm James St. Clair, one of the Petitioners herein, was duly elected at the aforesaid by-election
§ A copy of our Judgement and the proceedings before us taken by the Deputies of the Shorthand Writer to the House of Commons is sent herewith.

§ William Gorman,

§ William McNair.

§ Dated the 28th day of July, 1961.

§Said Certificate ordered to be entered in the Journals of this House.

§Copy of Shorthand Writer's Notes laid upon the Table by Mr. SPEAKER.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Worse election defeat on: February 20, 2017, 02:21:15 pm
I didnt select parties which were wiped out to an extent that they never won again.

OK, how about the British Labour Party in 1931. 287 seats out of 615 in the 1929 general election, when they were the largest party and formed a minority government. A small split over austerity measures during the Great Depression, led PM Ramsay MacDonald to form a National government. The Labour Party was crushed in the 1931 general election, electing 52 seats out of 615 including 6 unendorsed candidates. The party was back in government during the 1940-45 wartime coalition, before winning a large majority in the 1945 general election.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Worse election defeat on: February 20, 2017, 01:15:10 pm
There have been worse defeats, in UK politics. The non-coalition Liberals in 1918, went from the clear Official Opposition to no more than 36 MPs. The undivided Liberal Party was the leading party in the wartime coalition until 1916. After 1918 the official party never recovered first or second place in the House of Commons.
13  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Feasibility of a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget on: February 18, 2017, 05:00:15 pm
Presumably it is intended that the courts enforce the amendment, if it is not followed by the political branches. Alternatively the balanced budget would be a pious aspiration, which would not in practice be followed.

Most versions of a balanced budget seem to include an exception for time of war. It would be absurd for the President to have to say "we have balanced the budget despite the was. However we have unfortunately had to surrender to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, as we could not afford to counter their advanced archery technology".

The US is pratically always involved in some sort of war, so the balanced budget amendment would never be required to be implemented.
14  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Parliamentary system in the US ? on: February 18, 2017, 04:47:26 pm
You can have a system with a strong President and a Prime Minister, like France.

When a French President is supported by a majority of the lower house, the Prime Minister is clearly subordinate and can be the designated scapegoat when the administration becomes unpopular.

When the President is cohabiting with a Parliamentary majority of his opponents, the President is forced to rely upon the powers the constitution gives him (particularly in foreign policy) and the Prime Minister is an independent centre of power.

The French amended the constitution to make cohabitation less likely. Now both President and Parliament have five year terms, with the Parliamentary election following the Presidential one. There is strong pressure to give a newly elected President a Parliament he can work with.

This is, of course, the opposite of a purely Parliamentary system (like France before 1958 or the UK today) where the head of state is largely a figurehead and the Prime Minister is the person who can command the confidence of the lower house.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What would realistically be the most electable Democratic or Republican ticket? on: January 25, 2017, 06:33:41 pm
Repeat the ticket from 1904. What could go wrong as Theodore Roosevelt will not be the opponent.

A conservative from New York for President, Andrew Cuomo.

The richest man in West Virginia for Vice President, Jim Justice.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Alberta Progressive Conservative Leadership Election - March 18, 2017 on: January 19, 2017, 03:12:30 pm
From England, I would say that Canadians do not speak English without an accent. They speak English with various Canadian accents.

No one speaks a language without some sort of accent. The question is to what extent different accents and dialects of the same language are mutually intelligible.

I doubt that a Minister of the Crown, representing a riding in the Anglophone part of Canada, could not make himself understood in English even if that was not his native language.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: What if electoral votes were awarded proportionally? on: January 17, 2017, 06:38:08 pm
A proposal by Senator Howard Cannon  (D-NV) to the 91st Congress suggested a proportional electoral vote allocation plan. The number of electoral votes would be the same as before, but instead of popular electors choosing electors of the President, the popular vote would be used to divide the electoral vote of each jurisdiction calculated to three decimal places.

This is a much more radical proportional allocation plan than the one suggested by the diarist.

The key part of the proposed constitutional amendment was as follows. http://www.every-vote-equal.com/sites/default/files/eve-4th-ed-ch3-web-v1.pdf

‘SECTION 4. Within forty-five days after such election, or at such time
as Congress shall direct, the official custodian of the election returns
of each State and the District of Columbia shall make distinct lists of
all persons for whom votes were cast for President and the number of
votes cast for each person, and the total vote cast by the electors of the
State of the District for all persons for President, which lists he shall sign
and certify and transmit sealed to the seat of Government of the United
States, directed to the President of the Senate. On the 6th day of January
following the election, unless the Congress by law appoints a different
day not earlier than the 4th day of January and not later than the 10th
day of January, the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the
Senate and House of Representatives, open all certificates and the votes
shall then be counted. Each person for whom votes were cast shall be
credited with such proportion of the electoral votes thereof as he received
of the total vote cast by the electors therein for President. In making
the computation, fractional numbers less than one one-thousandth
shall be disregarded. The person having the greatest aggregate number
of electoral votes of the States and the District of Columbia for President
shall be President, if such number be at least 40 per centum of the whole
number of such electoral votes, or if two persons have received an identical
number of such electoral votes which is at least 40 per centum of
the whole number of electoral votes, then from the persons having the
two greatest number of such electoral votes for President, the Senate
and the House of Representatives sitting in joint session shall choose
immediately, by ballot, the President. A majority of the votes of the com-
bined membership of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be
necessary for a choice.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does he still have a chance? on: January 16, 2017, 03:16:28 pm
The path? Having been elected President pro tempore of the Senate; when the President-elect, Vice President-elect and Speaker all decline to take office as President or Acting President.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly Elections: May 2017? on: January 10, 2017, 01:37:43 am
The simplest solution is for the DUP to either get a new leader or support another of their members for First Minister. Are Mrs Foster and her party going to be so stubborn as to let the whole devolution settlement collapse rather than give up on one individual leader?
20  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Could you merge the positions of Senate Majority Leader + President Pro Tempore? on: January 09, 2017, 04:56:50 am
President pro tempore is an office provided for in the Constitution.

Before 1890 the Senate practice was only to name a President pro tempore when the Vice President was absent or that office was vacant. Thereafter the Presidency pro tempore was held continuously, even when the Vice President was actually performing the duties of President of the Senate.

Now, with the President pro tempore having been given additional constitutional functions in connection with the presidential disability provisions of the 25th Amendment, it seems to be required that there always be a President pro tempore.

There would be no constitutional problem about the Majority Leader also being President pro tempore, if the Senate changed its rules and practice to permit the duplication.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections, 2016 on: December 15, 2016, 06:56:52 am
I do read this thread regularly, but I do not usually have much to say in response. It is a valuable community resource to keep track of the local by-elections.

The level of detail in the various Holy Words is impressive. I could perhaps duplicate it for Slough Borough Council elections, but having such information for the whole of Great Britain is awesome.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Parliamentary by-elections, 2015-2020 on: December 09, 2016, 07:42:38 pm
[quote authr=rob in cal link=topic=221651.msg5427389#msg5427389 date=1481321425]
  Not sure where to post this question, but in the various by-elections being held are all of the new Conservative candidates in favor of Brexit, and is the default assumption now that that's to be expected?

Yes, pretty much.

The Tories are still divided between big business friendly soft Brexiteers and nationalist hard Brexiteers, but almost none of the present generation of Conservatives is going to argue against Brexit means Brexit.

I would draw an analogy with the way that free traders were squeezed out of Conservative and Unionist ranks in the early 20th century. By the time of the First World War, the internal battle between free trade and protectionism was clearly won by advocates of the latter policy. The argument had shifted to one about the extent that free trade in food was still compatible with a generally protectionist policy.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Local Elections, 4th May 2017 on: December 02, 2016, 09:51:58 am
What are these strange county elections? We do not have any in Berkshire, as our County Council was swept away in 1998.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Honest question: Will there be an election in 2020? on: November 28, 2016, 07:48:04 am
When a government has been functioning in a more or less orderly way, for over two centuries, it is difficult to imagine it not continuing. However constitutional orders do sometimes break down, after being stable for a long time.

It may be that, like Rome under the early Emperors, the forms of republican government will be preserved but that real power will be exercised outside the traditional government structure. In Rome the Senate continued to meet, the Consuls and other officers continued to be elected, but the Emperor (whether or not he held formal office) was the effective ruler.

The existence of an Emperor became the core of the government, so that thereafter no serious attempt was ever made to re-establish functioning republican government.

At the end of the day an existing government will be preserved if people are prepared to follow it. If not something new will eventually emerge.

25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Popular Vote on: November 28, 2016, 07:18:56 am
Thanks for the history everyone.

This is good argument to refute those who say that popular voting for president is what everyone else does.

In effect, voting for electors, based on your location, is what many countries do.  [The biggest difference in the US, of course,  is that in most states you are voting for a block of voters not just one, and with some states (e.g. California, Florida, NY, Texas) you are voting for a large block of those votes].

There is a difference between selecting a Prime Minister and cabinet, based on the composition of a Parliament, and electing a President.

For a single office, direct election by the whole population seems the simplest and fairest system. Any other method gives the possibility of the winner of an overall plurality of votes losing to another candidate whose smaller number of votes are more efficiently distributed.
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