FinancialGuy Writes!

Your author can clearly recall hearing Tony Blair and Gordon Brown justify the invasion of Iraq as being ‘for’ democracy. New Labour love ‘democracy’. So much so that they mentioned it in their election manifesto!

You can watch as democracy is explained to Britain here:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/uvl8a-ZiyTY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I don’t know about you, but this is all starting to taste rather sour. Britain elected Tony Blair and mostly they got Gordon Brown. He did not fight an election within his own party to become party leader and did not seek a new mandate from the people to justify his rule.

Now, after coming second in a ‘first past the post’ general election, he is stepping down to give his government the opportunity to cling on to power. Having not elected Gordon Brown, there is a chance the UK population will actually ‘get’ someone different again.

How cynical is this?

Something tells me that ‘history’ will judge Gordon Brown very poorly.

Lets just hope that no other major powers decide to invade the UK to ‘restore’ democracy – if they did, perhaps Gordon Brown will be found hiding in a hole in the ground on the outskirts of Scunthorpe a few months later…

Since I am venting, why stop?

Nick Clegg isn’t exactly covering himself in glory right now either. He appears to be willing to work with either party, depending upon who gives what (is that what is meant by ‘principles’ in politics?). More ashamedly, this election was mostly fought about the current state of the economy and the way forward from here.

Was electoral reform on the agenda? No, I didn’t think so either.

Thus, to hold the nation to ransom (if you want a government, you have to reform the electoral system in a way that suits me) over an issue that was not a major part of the campaigning agenda seems equally undemocratic.

For now at least, I can’t see what David Cameron has been doing to undermine democracy in the last few days. Perhaps he hasn’t been? Who can say in behind-closed-doors negotiations.

These are sad days to believe in democracy and be British.

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  1. It seems that herein lies and lies are perpetuated by a small misinformed minority.

    In a Parliamentary Democracy the Electorate (the People) and not the Press Barons are the sole purveyors of who Governs the Country. The People in the UK (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) voted on May 06th 2010 for Individual MPs (Members of Parliament) for the various Constituencies across the UK. The system that has been in place since the reform of constituencies and rotten boroughs has been one where there has been a First Pass the Post system. Such a system was devised before the 20th Century when there were only two parties and therefore you could always get a result. There has never been a system as we understand it here where the Electorate voted for the Prime Minister for the Prime Minister is in fact an MP of a UK Constituency first and foremost and is also the Leader of the Party that takes charge of Government (a titular Head.) The Leader of the Party (in this position) is not Elected by the People but by the Party Bosses. (If you do not believe that look at how they have changed these leaders from time to time across the Parties!)

    As soon as more than one Political Party arises on the scene in an election the issue becomes more complex.

    Imagine for example four Political Parties each vying for supremacy within a Country at a General Election. Imagine also that across the same Country there is very little difference between the Parties in all policies both internal or external. Consider then the issue when – irrespective of the numbers of Members of such a Parliament the Country has – that the results at the end of a General Election was clearly decisive in terms of a Party securing MPs but decidedly indecisive in the Electorate’s or Voters’ statement (or tally of results.) Let’s hypothesise a result where each Party gains as close as 25% of the tally of votes at each constituency but at each constituency the winning Member of Parliament wins by 3 votes and that the same Party wins each Constituency by the same margin. The Tally would be…

    Number of Constituencies (say) 400

    And for each constituency the crude voting records were the same

    Votes Cast ……100%

    Party A: Votes for = 25% + 3 Votes
    Party B: Votes for = 25% – 1 Vote
    Party C: Votes for = 25% – 1 Vote
    Party D: Votes for = 25% – 1 Vote.

    The Winner would be Party A, MPs 400.

    Runners Up Parties B, C and D MPs 0.

    Who would have the right to form the Government? In the system that is the one in the UK that would be Party A. Now should that happen there would be severe unrest in the Public’s mind because the Electorate would have clearly stated that the result (albeit a hypothetical one) was not valid. Now if this had happened last week, Mr D Cameron of the Conservative Party would have said that he would have had a mandate to Govern.

    Let us now bear in mind that this (above statement) was actually hypothetical. Where do we draw the line between hypothesis and reality. Well I put it to you that the position was in fact tested at last week’s General Election in the UK. The difference was that the clear cut definition between the Results and the Electorate’s (People’s) Decision was not that clear at all. One party received 23% of the Votes cast and as a result gained less than 9% of the Members of Parliament. Suppose by a fluke of the system that same Party had secured say 18% of the votes cast and gained 330 seats (an absolute majority!) what then would all the commentators have said? It is not beyond the possible with such a system.

    Now we come to the crux of what many like us have been saying over the past few weeks in the run up to the Election. The Press (in the UK) together with the Media (at large) had said that a Coalition Government for the UK would be a disaster, and forecast doom and gloom on the Stock Markets should it happen (And it appears that Mr Financial Guy is one of them!) So they have been busily writing down the markets before the Election sp perpetuating the issue. The final winners of the Election (Beauty) contest through its lackey the then Shadow Chancellor added to this and the Markets being true blue followed this with glee. So now there is one such Government and the Markets being true blue have now talked up themselves so that the Financial Guys can make an absolute mint of money FOR THEMSELVES at the expense of the ordinary People and Voting Electorate. What a pity the Financial Transaction Tax (a la Tobin) wasn’t in place for the $40 billion windfall on May 12th in London could have helped redress the Borrowing of Government at a stroke. It is a bit one way we suggest.

    Now there is a Government in power that has been established as a Coalition because it didn’t become a single party all those who wanted their own way are bellyaching against. Why? Simply because if the Coalition Partners (in this case the Liberal Democrats) get their portfolios the various Policies which they had strived for — Banking and Financial Reforms included — will (if allowed to happen by the Conservative Party – and that is looking most doubtful) will affect that sector of the Industry. Hopefully as some of the Liberal Democrat MPs have stated – it will clear up the status of Non Domiciled persons by disenfranchising them totally from Voting in the UK should they be registered as such and also Prohibit them from Money Laundering and Supporting Political Parties with funds from the US Political Parties et al. What a change we could be in for.

    Importantly though the question arises ” Did we vote for a change in the Electoral System?” Quite frankly the Electorate did! Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties had previously stated this and again did so during the General Election. The Conservative Party stood out against it. Now we have a Coalition Government but……wait a minute! The Liberal Democrats have taken accepted just 40 silver coins…… but nothing else. It is clear to everyone across the UK and across the EU that come the Autumn of 2010 all manner of excuses will be conjured up to dismember it and force a new General Election on the UK. The Liberal Democrats will then be cast out in to oblivion again and may barely get 3% of the votes (in other words back to the 1950s! And the Non-Dom from Belize and the Right Wing Press and the Financial Institutions will make sure of it and Mr Financial Guy will sit in the middle busily raking it in again, talking down the Markets and then talking them back up again afterwards. And the People the General Electorate won’t even know!

  2. Wow! Thats quite a comment. Thank you. It probably took twice as long to write as my post did. Such an effort is really appreciated.

    I won’t try and answer all those points. I wouldn’t dream of it.

    However, it is worth pointing out that I won’t be sat in the middle making a fortune. I wish!! I’m not engaged in high or low finance, other than as occassional commentator.

    I take your point that the election is for individual MPs and not heads of government. However, the TV soundbites, newspaper cuttings and radio interviews are mainly showing the top 10 or so members of a political party. We are not electing a president, but the image that the man or woman on the street votes for is very strongly influenced by the head of a party.

    Perhaps it would be more accurate in my post to have said that people voted for MPs that would form a government lead by Tony Blair, but they mostly received a party and government lead by Gordon Brown.

    For me at least, this is largely semantics. If you lead a party into an election and then quit a few days after, I think you have done a disservice to the election and democracy. People voted for a party lead by you, not someone else. Therefore, you ought to lead for at least a reasonable period of time. Less than a week just doesn’t cut it for me.

    I grant you that the votes received by the Lib Dems does not reflect their seats in the house. But that could easily be said for the Green Party, UKIP, the BNP and others. Should they be represented? Of course.

    Would our democracy be strengthened by a range of parties with 1 to 5 MPs? Perhaps, perhaps not. Theoretically, of course it will. But in reality, look at Italy!!

    I don’t propose to have all the answers. I don’t even propose to have any of the answers. Often, it is all I can do to to ask reasonable questions…

    But from my perspective, the last few days did not cover British democracy in glory.

  3. It is possible that by widening the voting system to include for the ”peripheral parties” such as those you have indicated would be for the better.

    The reference to Italy is somewhat askance as the presupposition is that it is a country where a multi billionaire has so manipulated the media (and banks) to his side that despite his dominance of the system he will fall on his own sword.

    The same could even be mirrored in some of the old Eastern Bloc countries.

    The hypothesis of proposing another electoral system in the UK is one of great interest.

    Naturally the Principals in the current Government have said that they will allow for a Referendum to be placed before the Electorate on Proportional Representation using the AV (Alternative Vote) system. The AV system is the nearest system to a First Pass the Post System which does not fulfil the implicit aims of Proportional Representation. They have said however that it will be a free (unencumbered) vote without using Party Control (the Whips) so that it will immediately be voted down. In the event that the preferred option by the Liberal Democrats the STV (Single Transferable Vote) was placed before a referendum it would also be voted down by the Conservatives. Again it is the same issue as in the previous offering.

    Why would the Conservative Party (who believes that it has the inane rights to Govern) do otherwise: it would be analogous to forever for them to be part of a Coalition Government.

  4. Both FPTP and PR have advantates and disadvantages.

    Here are the two most convincing arguments for the British system that I’m aware of. In most cases, FPTP ends up with a government voted for by the largest number (albeit a minority) of voters. PR always ends up with a government voted for by nobody at all. Also: in FPTP, voters have the satisfaction of booting governments out, and of sending people they’ve heard of down to the dole office. It’s an incomperable joy, not to be lightly abandoned, and not available under the PR system.

    Clegg’s role hasn’t been particulary shameful, under this system. His own party are likely to judge him harshly, because electoral reform was higher on the agenda for most of them, and he’ll probably compromise over it. But this is the sort of compromise that’s inevitable under any other voting system.

  5. My reference to Italy really referred to the period before Berlusca. I can’t recall the exact number, but their coalition governments had collapsed something like 43 times since the end of the second world war. Somehow he has managed to unite everyone behind him. Lord knows how.

    But with too much splintering of votes and interests, could that kind of ‘government’ be a reality. I hope not.

    Paul – I have to agree with you. Being able to clear out half a party at election time when people don’t think they have done a good job (although we would always think that…) is very satisfying. Of course, the only thing better is clearing out the WHOLE party!!

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