Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Musings

One of the most interesting "promises" to be made by a politician is that by David Cameron, that he will change the leadership rules for the Conservative Party so that if a leader who is Prime Minister is replaced by another leader (as in a leadership challenge), the Party will have to go to the polls in a general election within six months. This is, of course, in Cameron's favour, as it makes it less likely that leadership challenges (like that which toppled Margaret Thatcher) would take place.

The Conservative leader has been a critic of the way Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair and spent three years as PM without an election. John Major and Jim Callaghan also both took over as PM outside of elections. (1)

Meanwhile, in Jersey, the Chief Minister has so far twice been elected from Senators who have been in the middle of their term of office, and have not therefore had their popularity tested by the electorate. As Frank Walker stood down at one election, and Terry Le Sueur has said he will stand down at the next, so far there has not been any real popular vote on the matter, and it seems quite analogous to the situation of leaders in the U.K. Both took over as Chief Minister outside of elections. Wouldn't it be wonderful if anyone elected from the middle of their term had to stand in a bi-election and face the electorate within six months?

The first past the post voting system works badly in any situation where there are more than two candidates. If there are three, for example, the winning candidate need poll no more than just over a third of the votes. This means that two thirds of the electorate do not want that candidate to be elected. So it is very far from governing "by the mandate of the people". 

In Jersey, we have a mixture - the Parish boundaries marking the constituencies of the Constables and Deputies, and the Island Wide Senatorial elections. While there are certainly serious problems with the Parishes regarding fair representation (St Mary being wildly over-represented in the States), it does keep a Parish link. On the other hand, the Senatorial elections do allow us to have a degree of proportional representation, as it is not a first past the post system.

On local elections, the question that pops up is: why did Stuart Syvret go away in the first place to the United Kingdom, citing as a reason that he wouldn't get a fair trial, if he's decided to come back? I hope he posts a substantive blog on that sometime in the near future, because it seems quite inconsistent. 

Our incubus - the Jersey oligarchy - who, alone, labour under the delusion they're capable of being 'clever' - remain convinced that people are stupid - and can be conned into forgetting why I had to flee to London. Namely - a prosecution and court system so brazenly corrupt that when the prosecution case was utterly destroyed by the defence case - they solved this somewhat inconveniencing fact - simply by seeking to have the entire defence case deemed 'inadmissible'.

So what has changed so that he can now return to Jersey?

And finally, who do I think will be elected in the United Kingdom? I have no idea, but I'll leave you with this snippet from "Yes Minister". Not that in any way I'm casting any aspersions on the candidates, but why can't we have someone of the calibre of Barak Obama?

Sir Arnold: So, will the new PM be our eminent Chancellor, or our distinguished Foreign Secretary?
Sir Humphrey: Well, which do you think it should be?
Sir Arnold: Difficult. Like asking which lunatic should run the asylum.


1 comment:

Rob Kent said...

re Stuart and his intentions. My feeling is that in politics all statements and intentions that relate to strategy and not principle are by definition strategic and contingent.

Stuart's 'exile' was as much about discovering and revealing the evidence as about changing the Jersey judicial system, which was always a no-hoper anyway.

Regardless of what he said about his intentions, I think he has made all the right moves.

One also needs to remember that his enemies read his blog, and why should he honestly reveal his intentions to them? A bit of subterfuge and deception was necessary.