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Looks pretty good by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed May 12, 2010 at 01:52:31 AM EST
They already agreed on ID cards. The good news is that the Tory pledge to abolish the Human Rights Act seems to have vanished.

Also good: looks like the Lib Dem pledge to cancel all new nuclear power stations has become a token gesture too.

The bad: the "cap on immigration" which the BBC reports more plausibly as a "cap on non-EU immigration" is still there. If it's just a token gesture where the cap is never reached, it could be harmless. But from any perspective, it's a bit pointless letting unlimited East Europeans in, but banning Americans and Australians.

Tax and spending: not enough detail. As with the Tory plans alone, can't see them reconciling all these tax cuts with their deficit reduction.

Referendum on AV: all depends on the details. The wording and threshold will be crucial, and we don't know if the Tories will be allowed to campaign against it. Hopefully we can defeat this nonsense.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

I understand your objection to PR by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed May 12, 2010 at 02:20:54 AM EST
... though I don't necessarily agree with it. Not sure what your objection to AV is?

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I understand your objection to amputating your arm by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed May 12, 2010 at 02:27:51 AM EST
... though I don't necessarily agree with it. Not sure what your objection to amputating your thumb is?
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
: ) by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed May 12, 2010 at 03:04:45 AM EST
AV isn't PR at all though - at least when used in single member districts as in the Australian lower house. It also elects independents at least as often as FPTP, can work without parties listed on the ballot ... since I thought your objection is to excessive whip power I don't see where it's coming from with AV as such ...

Indeed I can see why it was offered to the Lib Dems by both parties - it makes three or four cornered contests easier but doesn't allow 2% votes spread nationally to get a seat.

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Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed May 12, 2010 at 03:25:29 AM EST
Take my constituency for example. Tories came first, Labour second, Lib Dems third. Last time it was Labour.

The Lib Dems would probably be the second choices for both Labour and Conservative voters, nobody got an outright victory at first so... we're now represented by the party that came third, even though neither the posh bastards in the Ealing suburbs or the plebs on the Acton council estates really wanted them.

In practice, this system is still more likely to deliver hung parliaments, with the reduction in stability and transparency that I've always worried about with PR.

I like the system where the parties put forward consistent programmes, the voters decide which they like most, and if they don't live up to it enough you can kick them out.

I don't like systems where a bunch of members of our disconnected political elite go into a back room and decide what they feel like implementing, and later you don't know who to punish, what for, or how hard they even fought for it.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
That's not how AV works by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed May 12, 2010 at 03:50:46 AM EST
... at least when used as a synonym for Instant Runoff Voting, which is what is being described in these UK proposals so far as I can tell.

Using your constituency as an example. For now let's ignore that four microparties took 4% of the vote and do a three way example.

As the Lib Dems ran third on the first vote, their votes would be redistributed on the first round. They have lost at that point.

Then the second preferences of the Lib Dems would be redistributed. Here we have to guess. Let's say that of the 27.6% that voted LD, 14.6% are student or post-student types who were protesting the Iraq war but hate the Tories even more and preferenced Labour second, Tories 3rd. The remaining 13% are liberal minded professionals who are made queasy by the Tory hard right like Lord Tebbit, but think Labour has stuffed up the economy with too much debt, so they have put the Tories second and Labour 3rd.

14.6% distributes to Labour, lifting them to 44.7. 13% distributes to the Tories, lifting them to 51% and giving them the constituency.

If the voters want to punish or reward the Tories next time, they can put them last or first and that will flip the electorate.

There are preferential systems like approval voting that do what you describe - give a broad second preference an advantage over a strong but narrower first preference - but AV / IRV is not one.

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Hmm, looks like I got that wrong by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed May 12, 2010 at 04:29:22 AM EST
Though we don't know the details, it may be some form of AV+.

Nevertheless, it looks like it still reduces transparency and accountability, and increases the chance of a hung parliament. Watering down the things I'm opposed to doesn't make me in favour of it.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
STOP! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed May 12, 2010 at 06:58:54 PM EST
Being so bloody pragmatic, would you?

Agreeing with you once a year is bad enough, twice in a week is too much!


[ Parent ]
There are a couple of worrying things by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu May 13, 2010 at 03:14:44 AM EST
In the joint manifesto.

Previously the Tories had a vague pledge to increase NHS spending every year, which I took to mean "let inflation diminish it". That's now become "increase in real terms in each year".

They're also increasing pensions with "a triple guarantee that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats."

Now, pensions and the NHS are two of the biggest chunks of state spending. I think it's a bit irresponsible for them to commit to increasing state spending this way, when they ought to prioritize reducing the debt. Especially since they're still promising tax cuts on marriage, earnings under 10k, and national insurance.

The pensions thing is also worrying because price and wage inflation are outside state control and can't really be predicted. A surge in either could suddenly leave the government with a massive unexpected hole in its finances.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
There are. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon May 17, 2010 at 11:04:16 AM EST
I am expecting some reshuffling of policy, once the audit of the country's accounts has been done.

Even better, one of the few Labour MPs I have respect for, Frank Field, has been invited to advise the government on welfare and pensions.  I can only hope he'll accept; he's done an incredible amount of work in this area in years gone by.

Government of all the talents regardless of rosette colour - bring it on.


[ Parent ]
Well by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed May 12, 2010 at 08:41:00 PM EST
I can't say I see how it reduces transparency and accountability. With hung parliaments, it might increase the odds. But how much of the threat of hung parliaments is actually do to a regionalized electorate - eg no Tories in Scotland - and malapportionment in the current boundaries?

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Well by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu May 13, 2010 at 02:10:00 AM EST
It reduces accountability, because it's harder to Kick The Bastards Out if the Bastards are getting extra votes from the other parties. One good thing about FPTP is that a relatively small swing can topple a ruling party. Human voters are not emotionless ultra-rational calculating machines: they have a quality called loyalty which means many of them will stick with a party or leader (or friend) when a purely rational entity would abandon them. An ability to remove a government despite the existence of loyalty is a good thing.

It reduces transparency, because it's harder for people to understand how it works. Simplicity is good.

Not sure if a regionalized electorate increases the chance of a hung parliament. I do wonder if PR in Belgium has increased the chance of the nation breaking up: FPTP would mean a ruling party has an incentive to woo voters from both sides, instead they've gradually separated more and more institutions.

Not sure if UK boundaries increase or reduce the chance of a hung parliament. The UK's boundaries aren't really gerrymandered, but have disfavoured the Conservatives slightly for the last few decades because people keep migrating from Labour's urban areas to Tory suburbs, so after a few years the Labour seats have fewer voters, but still one MP. But to fix it properly you'd need to hold a census more often which would be expensive and annoying.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Well well well by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu May 13, 2010 at 08:43:15 AM EST
On accountability, it actually increases the potential for kicking the bastards out. Even people who did not give their first preference to the government can punish the government by putting them last. ie they can move them from 2 to 3. In practice government oscillates between in Australia at a fair frequency, both at the national and state level. (Exceptions like Qld 1960-90 were caused by heavy malapportionment.) The Irish presidency seems to have stayed with Fianna Fail, might be because of the differences of the office. London Mayor has been kicked out once already.

I guess it is a little harder to understand how it works, but most people in Britain can count in single digits :)

The gradual drift of people out of the cities seems to me forgivable enough, I was thinking more of eg the Isle of Wight constituency having nearly twice the number of voters as a random Scottish constituency like (googles) Linlithgow.

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Seems unlikely by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 13, 2010 at 09:39:15 AM EST
The fact that the Bastards are in power suggests that they're more likely to be the beneficiaries of these random-whim low rankings. Which have the same weight as first preferences.

Ultimately, the bad examples of PR like Israel, Ireland, Belgium seem far worse than the UK. The good examples of PR like Australia, Ireland and Germany don't seem to produce much better outcomes (Pauline Hanson? Web censorship? Children Overboard?) . Big downside, negligible upside. Plus with our entrenched class, regional and national divisions we're a lot more like bad the bad examples than homogenous Australia and Ireland. Germany has divisions, but their federal government's just a thin layer over the lander.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
What tends to happen by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu May 13, 2010 at 10:33:25 AM EST
Is that people learn that the rankings of the major parties are crucial, even if they are 7 and 8 on the ticket. I wouldn't say they have the same weight, of course - 50% + 1 vote of first preferences ends it on the first round.

It hasn't fixed dog whistle politics and arseholery, to be sure. It does correct the disenfranchisement of people rejecting the major parties. Maybe this effect is exacerbated by, or in reaction to, the extreme power of the Australian whips though. Voting against the whip is so rare it's a so-called conscience vote. There are historical reasons for this, not terribly good ones.

It wasn't a recent introduction, so you could just as easily argue the White Australia Policy was repealed because of preferential voting :)

Interestingly, Ms Hanson was elected as a Liberal party candidate - she was disendorsed by the party in the closing days of the campaign, after the ballots were printed and distributed. She is coming to your fair shores apparently. Perhaps she will be a new D-list celebrity on the latest season of Big Brother.

Interesting question about whether PR has pulled Belgium into pieces. It's a strange little country.

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Mikhail Kalasknikov by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #16 Thu May 13, 2010 at 10:59:40 AM EST
Was once shown the notoriously over-complicated, hard-to-use British SA80 assault rifle.

"You nust have some very clever soldiers," he said diplomatically.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Unlike First Past The Post by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu May 13, 2010 at 09:23:05 PM EST
The AK-47 is rarely used to shoot oneself in the foot.

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed May 12, 2010 at 08:06:38 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



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congratulations are in order | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback