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1  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.
2  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.

 
3  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.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Dark horse Democrats for 2020? on: November 13, 2016, 04:59:20 pm
There does not seem to be an obvious Democratic candidate for 2020. I suspect that the nominee will be a current or recent Senator or Governor. I doubt that the sort of celebrity and non elected office holding candidates, mentioned in this thread, would be viable.

There may be room for one comparatively conservative Democratic governor to run, someone like Governor Cuomo, but probably not to be the nominee.

I suspect that Senator Kaine would be a credible candidate, but the party electorate may want a younger, more charismatic candidate. I am not sure who that dark horse candidate is as I am not sufficiently familiar with the younger Senators and Governors. It is probably someone not currently being talked about as a Presidential candidate.
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / What if the President was elected by Congress? on: November 10, 2016, 09:44:45 pm
One of the ideas which the Philadelphia convention considered but rejected.
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?hlaw:2:./temp/~ammem_jg3R::

Sect. 1. The Executive Power of the United States shall be vested in a single person. His stile shall be "The President of the United States of America;" and his title shall be, "His Excellency". He shall be elected by ballot by the Legislature. He shall hold his office during the term of seven years; but shall not be elected a second time.

If this plan had been adopted, US politics might have developed differently. At least gridlock between executive and legislative branches would be less likely.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: Opinion of Electoral Vote Allocation by Congressional District on: October 29, 2016, 09:36:51 am
It is equivalent to how district-based parliamentary systems (such as Canada, UK, and Australia) choose their PM.

Not quite. The equivalent in a US type system would be for a joint session of Congress to elect the President (with one vote for each Senator and Representative or one vote for each state delegation). That was an option that the Constitutional Convention considered, but ultimately rejected.

A group of specially chosen persons, for the sole purpose of electing a President, would not be so subject to the necessity for acting in party groups that the members of a legislature are.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How would have Sanders fared in the G.E.? on: September 24, 2016, 07:32:01 pm
Larry Sanders, Senator Sanders elder brother, is the candidate of the Green Party of England and Wales in the Witney by-election (to fill the vacancy caused by David Cameron resigning his seat in the UK Parliament). The election is on 20 October, so we will see if any of the American brother's celebrity makes any difference. I suspect not, as the Greens will probably come 4th or 5th, in a safely Conservative rural and small town district of central England.

He is not the Sanders this thread is about and the voting is not in a US Presidential election, but it is an electoral test for a Sanders.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37447086

8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections, 2016 on: September 24, 2016, 04:02:54 pm
A poor week for the Cons. Is it entirely coincidental, or is there something cooking ?

I wouldn't read much into it.  But the Lib Dems do seem to be having a number of good results; I wonder how their Witney campaign is going.

I think a lot of the good local by-election results are the Lib Dems recovering from the electoral damage the coalition caused, at least in some of their stronger areas. There does not seem to be a general recovery yet, but persistent local campaigning is now more likely to produce a good result than it has in the last few years.

The Lib Dems do seem to want to mount a strenuous campaign in Witney. It will be interesting to see if a parliamentary by-election electorate reacts in the same way that some local by-election voters have been doing.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: How long will it be before Labour wins another election? on: September 18, 2016, 02:09:29 pm
It could be anything from never to the next election.

If the existing Labour Party retains major party status, in a first past the post electoral system, then it will eventually regain power when Conservatives support falls far enough. It might have to be firstly as a minority government,  which is daring the SNP and other non-Conservative forces not to vote it out of office. As with the first Labour government, in 1924, it might be more important to gain the added credibility of being in power than in actually achieving anything much in office.

Alternatively Labour may split in the next few weeks. If a Corbyn led Labour Party loses most of the existing Labour MPs and ceases to be the official opposition, then there may be a chance of the new party becoming the major anti Conservative force for the future.

The worst case scenario for Labour would be for both fragments of the Labour Party to be largely wiped out at the next general election. Perhaps the 50 or so SNP MPs would be the official opposition in the next Parliament, with a very large Conservative majority and other anti Tory groups reduced to small fragments which would have to realign into something new to create a credible future challenger for government.

Given the extreme rigidity of the British party system the first option is most likely, but unusually the second and third possibilities are not unthinkable. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 16, 2016, 05:22:01 pm
If it's going to happen, it'll have to involve the Lib Dems "re-splitting" into their Liberal and SDP factions, and the SDP half becoming a safe-space for non-Corbynite Labour...

The Lib Dem factions are not "Liberal" and "SDP".

What exactly are their factions these days?

"Labour Can't Win Here. Vote Lib Dem to keep the Tories out" and "The Tories Can't Win Here. Vote Lib Dem to keep Labour out".

More seriously, what Phony Moderate said.  The point is that both sides identify as "liberals" and neither particularly derives from the SDP, whose less "liberal" figures mostly drifted away from the Lib Dems or (in the case of David Owen) never joined the merged party in the first place.

The Lib Dem approach, much as it irritates Tory and Labour activists, is sensible so long as there are only three parties that matter and the Lib Dems do not have to choose one of the two major parties. The rise of new parties has weakened the first precondition, but as we have seen from the political effect of the coalition it is the breakdown of the second precondition that is really toxic.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK parliamentary boundary review 2016-2018 on: September 14, 2016, 05:43:11 am
So unsurprisingly, its as bad as the last review then?

It'll be interesting to see what they do up here - the Scottish Boundary Commission has a very different attitude on ward splitting than the England and Wales one though, which I think will lead to a better map.  There certainly wasn't anything totally awful in the last one; other than the fact that the highland seats now have to a much bigger than they were which isn't particularly great for rural representation; especially since the effective Scottish quota is higher due to Orkney and Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar...

The electoral quota, for the 596 seats outside the island areas with special provisions, is calculated excluding the island area electorates; so the effective quota is the same throughout the United Kingdom. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/1/section/11
 
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 08, 2016, 05:42:57 pm
The point I was trying to make is that a shadow cabinet elected by the current PLP is likely to be hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. The leader would not have control over the shadow cabinet and would presumably find his views often rejected by its members. As the leader could not dismiss the members of the elected shadow cabinet, why would they not be free to impose party policy over the leader's objections and publicly repudiate the leader's position if he does not obey the party line in Parliament set by the shadow cabinet majority?

This is not really a situation which has arisen before in modern British politics. The conventions of cabinet government (usually applied by analogy to shadow cabinet's), would break down within the sort of institutional framework the Labour Party is thinking about adopting.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:13 pm
Will an elected shadow cabinet be bound by collective responsibility? If so, what happens when Jeremy Corbyn is outvoted on issues he feels very deeply about? Would the leader have to resign or rebel against the party line or just allow free votes on all major issues?
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Why did the Liberal Democrats collapse? on: August 24, 2016, 12:53:56 pm
The Liberal Party and then the Liberal Democrats, between the 1960s and the formation of the Coalition in 2010, prospered (to the extent they did) by refusing to make a choice between Labour and Conservative. Aligning one way or the other was always going to alienate about half their former support.

During the 1950s many of the few Liberal MPs were only elected because they benefited from local electoral pacts with the Conservatives (in the Bolton and Huddersfield areas of northern England) or in default of a candidate from one of the major parties in remote and atypical areas of rural Wales. When Jo Grimond (MP for Orkney and Shetland) became the party leader in 1956, one reason was that he was the only one of the MPs who could expect to be re-elected against both Labour and Conservative opposition.

Being the minor party in a coalition government was also disastrous. As has happened in the Republic of Ireland with a series of junior coalition partners in recent decades, the larger party gets the benefit and the smaller party is blamed for what the government does.

The Liberal Democrats were perceived as being prepared to agree with anything, for the sake of office. This destroyed, perhaps permanently, the anti-system element of the Lib Dem appeal and the image of being different from other politicians.

The party has held up, in a limited number of relatively strong areas but remains weak in much of the country. It is in a stronger electoral position, even now, than the Liberal Party in the 1950s.
15  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: How long would it take for Atlas to repeal the 22nd amendment? on: August 21, 2016, 06:43:04 pm
An alternative approach might be to have no limit on the number of terms a President can serve, except the terms could not be consecutive.

The President would not be distracted from governing, because of the next Presidential election. However a popular President could be re-hired after a 4 year break, so there would still be an incentive to govern well in the present term.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK parliamentary boundary review 2016-2018 on: August 19, 2016, 12:32:14 pm
The Commission has to do a balancing exercise to take account, as best it can, of various rules. The only rule which (for most constituencies) overrides everything else is the one about having an electorate plus or minus five percent of the average registered electorate as at December 2015. The relevant electorate range for the current review is 71,031 to 78,507.

The Commission starts drafting its proposals by working out the theoretical seat entitlement of each county/unitary authority or metropolitan/London borough (hereafter referred to as areas although that is not official terminology). If an area does not have the right number of electors to comply with the electorate range requirement, then the Commission look for the adjacent area or areas to be grouped together and which will divide neatly into the required size constituencies.

Having worked out how many seats each area or groups thereof are to receive (if more than one) the Commission will then propose the required number of constituencies taking into account the other statutory factors.

The other statutory factors are referred to in the Guide to the 2018 Review, published by the Boundary Commission for England.

Quote
26 Rule 5 in Schedule 2 provides for a number of other factors that the BCE may take
into account in establishing a new map of constituencies for the 2018 Review,
specifically:
• special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape
and accessibility of a constituency;
• local government boundaries as they existed on 7 May 2015
(see paragraph 16);
• boundaries of existing constituencies; and
• any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is the U.S. ready for the first woman president? on: August 11, 2016, 04:30:21 pm
Of course. The UK was ready for a female PM in 1979. I know the US is a lot more conservative than the UK, but polls show like 95% of the country would vote for a female president, and the socons who say they wouldn't vote for a woman will fall in line once the dems nominate a pro-choice candidate and the female republican is the only pro-lifer with a chance to win. Clinton would have won in 2008, Dole could have won in 2000 if she was the nominee, and had someone like Haley been the nominee in 2016 (not Fiorina, she would have lost in a landslide) Haley probably would have been the first female president. Even Poland elected a female PM, and she was part of a socially conservative party.
It was not so much being ready as that in 1979, for the first time, the choices for Prime Minister of the UK included a woman. Either Margaret Thatcher and her party won the election or Jim Callaghan of the Labour Party would continue in office. The 1974-79 era of Labour government had been a problem period for the economy, so the electorate decided it was time for a change rather than keep tight hold of Sunny Jim for fear of finding something worse.  I do not recall that Thatcher being a woman made much difference.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK parliamentary boundary review 2016-2018 on: August 06, 2016, 07:22:56 am
The reduction in the number of parliamentary seats from 650 to 600 was pretty arbitrary, although for the first time there is going to be a fixed mathematical relationship between the registered electorate and the number of constituencies.

However the number of seats in the House of Commons, since 1922 when the current UK boundaries were fixed, have varied between 615 (1922-1945) and 659 (1997-2005). For the 2005 general election the number of Scottish seats were reduced (by requiring them to contain similar numbers of electors than those in England, as it was felt that the existence of the Scottish Parliament made the continued over representation of Scotland at Westminster unjustified). The UK total then stood at 646. It was increased to the current 650, by the last set of boundary changes, in effect from the 2010 general election.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: July 26, 2016, 11:14:35 am
Come on y'all, don't be so pessimistic. We haven't got a clue what the climate will be around 2020 (except it'll be hotter), the Tories might very well sink their own ship into the ground on Brexit or anything else, Corbyn might get a little more... palatable to the general public, so stop acting like you gobble up everything the media feeds you. I'm not saying Corbyn is the best you could hope for, it seems he's not, but it also seems the membership is loyalist, and surely that is something of a certain value, isn't it ? Otherwise, let me point you to the nearest Brecht analogy : "The membership has forfeited the confidence of the Party's elite and can win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case for the Party's elite to dissolve the membership and elect another?"

Is not the dissolution of the membership and the election of another, precisely what the Parliamentary Labour Party will do when they split the party?
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australian Federal Election- July 2, 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 06:17:31 am
Now? It's been conservative-leaning for years. That's what population decline does to you.

How does that explain Lingiari (the seat covering almost all of the area of the Northern Territory)? It's far and away the largest seat by area held by the ALP (and since its creation in 2001). I've read that Alice Springs is more cosmopolitan than one might generally think. There's almost certainly a significant Aboriginal population in the electorate, but do they actually vote and if so, do they vote ALP (to be honest, I'm not familiar with any indigenous population in a first world developed country not voting for the centre-left party)?

In a somewhat related topic, I've wondered why the Northern Territory isn't a state. Is it because they would get more seats in the Senate as a state (quite a lot more if all states would still be considered equal)?

Only the six original states have a constitutional guarantee of equal representation in the Senate. If the Northern Territory became a state it would only have the number of Senators allowed by Parliament. The Northern Territory article in Wikipedia explains the problem.

Quote
For several years there has been agitation for full statehood. A referendum was held on the issue in 1998, which resulted in a 'no' vote. This was a shock to both the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments, for opinion polls showed most Territorians supported statehood. However, under the Australian Constitution, the Federal Government may set the terms of entry to full statehood. The Northern Territory was offered three Senators, rather than the twelve guaranteed to original states. (Because of the difference in populations, equal numbers of Senate seats would mean a Territorian's vote for a Senator would have been worth more than 30 votes in New South Wales or Victoria.) Alongside what was cited as an arrogant approach adopted by then Chief Minister Shane Stone, it is believed that most Territorians, regardless of their general views on statehood, were reluctant to adopt the particular offer that was made.[13]
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: July 18, 2016, 06:24:44 pm
The largest split in the history of the Labour Party is probably now inevitable. The election of a leader, other than Corbyn, was the only scenario which might have avoided the breakup.

It seems likely that a majority, quite possibly a large majority of the MPs will form a new party in opposition to a Corbyn led official party. If they become the official opposition in Parliament and can convince most centre-left voters that they are the real heirs of the traditional Labour Party, then they have a chance at becoming a party of government by the second half of the 2020s. If not the first past the post system will shred them to oblivion or minor party status.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Potential UK General Election Late 2016 / Early 2017 on: July 17, 2016, 06:02:45 pm
I have looked at the Canadian law about fixed term elections. It inserts an explicit provision in the Canada Elections Act regarding the power of the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.

Quote
56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General’s discretion.

Marginal note:Election dates

There is nothing remotely comparable to the Canadian provision in the UK legislation.

I believe that language was inserted because it was so obvious. Under our constitutional monarchy there is no way short of a constitutional amendment for parliament to pass a law that affects the reserve powers of the crown. Of course one thing that is different in the UK is the fact that there is no written constitution in the first place.

What if Theresa May simply used her majority to repeal the Fixed Term Elections act and THEN asked the queen for a dissolution?


Repeal and then dissolve would work. However the Conservatives do not have a majority in the House of Lords, so repealing the 2011 legislation might take time. If the House of Lords reject the bill, it would have to be passed again in the next session, so that the Parliament Act can be used to override the Lords.

23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Potential UK General Election Late 2016 / Early 2017 on: July 17, 2016, 01:49:51 pm
I have looked at the Canadian law about fixed term elections. It inserts an explicit provision in the Canada Elections Act regarding the power of the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.

Quote
56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General’s discretion.

Marginal note:Election dates

There is nothing remotely comparable to the Canadian provision in the UK legislation.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Potential UK General Election Late 2016 / Early 2017 on: July 17, 2016, 01:15:09 pm
Again, pardon me for being persistent but doesn't the Queen always have to follow the advice of her PM? What if May simply goes to the Queen and says "I request that your majesty dissolve parliament"?

We went through this in Canada. In 2006 the Harper Conservatives passed the "fixed elections act" stating that elections were to be every four years unless parliament voted no confidence in a minority government. In August 2008 Harper decided that he wanted to call a snap early election to try to get a majority. He simply went to the Governor General and requested a dissolution and he got it! The courts subsequently ruled that the Fixed Term law was only symbolic and that nothing could stand in the way of a PM being the only person who could give advice to the crown. Why would it be any different in the UK? The crown is the crown!

The UK Act does not explicitly abolish any extant prerogative powers of the Crown to dissolve Parliament and call a general election. It does impose a comprehensive scheme of when a general election can take place and deletes the previous statute law about the topic.

There may be room for legal argument, but I would interpret the present UK law as excluding a dissolution outside its terms.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Potential UK General Election Late 2016 / Early 2017 on: July 16, 2016, 11:11:34 am
Yvette Cooper MP (Lab, Normanton) has suggested on Twitter that there will be an early election that will either be called on September 21st for October 20th as part of a dastardly scheme by the Conservatives to ruin their big day of announcing the winner of the Labour leadership election.
Exactly how does the government get around the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in just over 2 months, with Parliament in recess for most of it?

The simple rule of thumb is 429 MP's have to vote for an early election, or there is a vote of no confidence in the existing government and a vote of no confidence in the next government. The first is impossible (as it means Labour voting for an early election) the second is more than possible. May triggers a no confidence motion and whips her MP's to abstain, stating that she wishes to have a mandate (similar to Schroder and Merkel a few years back) and so the motion is carried and the government resigns, Corbyn is then asked to form a government and 14 days later presents it to the House, the Conservatives (who have the majority) vote against it and we have a general election.

I accept the suggested approach is possible. I do not see it can be arranged within the timescale Yvonne Cooper was fearing. If Mrs May wanted to trigger an election in the next few months, she would have had to already start the process. Parliament is due to go into a recess after next Thursday.
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