Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Cameron Politiburo?

I guess the dream was nice while it lasted, but sadly the new Government have lived up to the standard of all Government, and plan to take the piss with democracy in relation to a new "super majority requirement for "no confidence votes".

Currently, if 50% +1 vote against the Government on a confidence issue, such as a Queens Speech, then the Government falls and off we all go to the polls. The new proposal is that you're going to need 55% or more to vote against in order to cause that to happen.

Now, in some circumstances I can sort of, and I stress "sort of" understand this. If you're going to take away the power of the Prime Minister to decide when an election is in order to create certainty by having fixed-term Parliaments, then what's the point of a "fixed term" if actually it can easily not be fixed term at all?

However, the real problem here is not the theory of it all but the numbers. Whichever way you look at it, the proposals looks like a total stitch-up by the Tories to ensure that they stay in power for a full term with or without the Liberal Democrats help - and it doesn't take a mathematical genius to work this out either.

The Tories, with their 306 seats out of 649, represent 47% of the total voting power of the Commons. So long as every single one of them decides to vote with their own side on a confidence issue it is impossible to secure 55% of the vote against them.

The proposal is not just an affront to democracy, it holds the power of Parliament in even greater contempt than the last lot did.

New Politics? I think "Politburo Politics" would be more appropriate. Why not go the whole hog and rename Parliament to the Supreme Soviet?

Visit Say No to 55%

Update:? It's been noted by some that this is super majority is for the dissolution of Parliament, not a confidence vote, which means the same point stands. A confidence vote can be lost and a Government with 47% of the votes in Parliament can refuse to budge to a 53% majority.

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