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back to article NO2ID backs drive to inject voter power into next Election

As politicians and pressure groups limber up for the next election – now 217 days away and counting – NO2ID this week was encouraging its members to take part in Power 2010, an innovative new initiative designed to give voice to ordinary voters at the next election. Power 2010 is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, and has its …

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Coat

I feel better already.

It would be good to see this initiative come to something. I've just been on their website and put my ten penneth in already.

Mine's the one with a copy of ISBN 978-0-00-727720-9 in the pocket.

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Black Helicopters

OUT-LAW

What concerns me, is that NO2ID seem to be in bed with OUT-LAW/Pinsent Masons, who are allegedly part of Common Purpose (who are the reason we are having this card database in the first place).

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Flame

Closing date: November 5

Seems appropriate in so many ways. Blogs or barrels, that's the question for Mr Fawkes this year.

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We already have the solution

But the Tories and Labour wont implement it because it means less power for them. The solution is of course proportional representation. The most common argument against PR that comes up is that you lose local representatives but what use is a local representative if he doesn't actually represent my views in any way as is the case in the current first past the post system?

It's well known and has been proven in numerous studies world wide that in first past the post systems turnout is always lower and the reason is blatantly obvious why- whose going to turn up to vote if their vote doesn't count?

In the 2005 British elections the Electoral Reform Society estimate that 19 million votes were thrown away on safe seats, that's 19 million people ou of the voting population whose vote simply was meaningless and did not count- is it any wonder turnout is low then? In this same election Labour were able to gain effectively 100% in power by having an absolute majority whilst only getting 36% of the nation's vote. I'd imagine most people can see there's something wrong when the ruling party is in power against the will of 64% of the population, as that's the situation we're in now, and will be under the Tories too.

There is another argument against proportional representation that comes up but it is also a weak argument. The argument is that if no single party holds absolute control of parliament then it can be hard to get agreement to pass laws. Well, this argument is clearly stupid because why the fuck should laws be passed if the majority of the population don't agree with them? This is actually a plus, despite being often spun as a negative in a non-sensical way by those defending FPTP.

The final argument that is most prominently used by FPTP supporters is that proportional representation means fringe parties like the BNP have more power- it's true, if the BNP get 2% of the vote, they get 2% of the power. But so what? What the fuck does 2% of the power matter in the face of people who hate, say, Labour, having to deal with the party they hate having 100% of the power?

It's not hard to fix the UK's voting problem, PR is the primary solution. But it would also mean Brown wouldn't have 100% power with only 36% vote, and Cameron wont have 100% power with only 38% vote or whatever he ends up getting.

Whilst 19 million people cannot enter a vote that counts, we do not live in a real democracy. Make the UK a real democracy by switching to proportional representation and you'll get more people bothering to vote and interested in politics. Of course people will be apathetic if they have no power to truly vote.

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Thumb Down

Organisations?

"1400 submissions from individuals and organisations"

Why are organisations getting a view? As far as I knew they literally have nothing to do with the process and do not get a vote? Ah silly me....

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Black Helicopters

Well

I'd suggest the separation of the administrative from the legislative and the formation of a second elected house, plus proportional representation... but that would mean the current politicos would actually have to be elected to the top by the people, rather than becoming our de facto president through invisible intra-party manoeuvring. So I'd just be waiting key presses.

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Bronze badge

217 days?

Has a date been set?

The result of the poll will be Tory > Labour > Lib Dem. I will be voting Lib Dem along with others to try to make the point that when the party with the second highest amount of votes gets the third highest number of seats there is no excuse to not reform the voting system.

Don't laugh, Lib Dems have been second in the opinion polls a few times and have never got to having half as many seats as Labour.

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Anonymous Coward

Why 217 days?

We're got the Q2 bounce (OK, so it came in in Q3, I estimated it incorrectly), but the effect is the same. It's very risky for them to leave it 217 days, this bounce won't last forever.

I think if he left it till the last minute, he would just be milking the job knowing he was gone after the election.

People don't want or can't afford to buy a car at 12k, so you pay them to buy the car, at 10k. But what happens when you stop paying? Not only have you brought forward future car sales, you've also create a perception that the car should be worth 10k not 12k. The car companies won't restructure, they can simply cry to get free money now!

Then there's the money problem. Britains government debt isn't selling, the Bank of England is buying it with QE money. But that inflates the price of government debt, making it even more difficult to sell and depresses the pound driving up prices of imports. Think vicious circle.

So now your car is more expensive to make too, yet the perceived sale value for it is lower and any near future sales already used up!

So, while Brown is saying he's saved the world, and Paulson's stimulus plan is being claimed as 'Bush's guy saving the world', the reality is far different.

As those near future sales are used up, then the fake demand will have less and less effect, as the programs expire, their effect is ended, as the GBP currency takes a hit each GBP spend has less and less effect.

Keynsian economists talk vaguely about the private sector taking up the slack at this point, but that never happened in Japan, and there's no reason to expect it in the UK.

So the time he can claim to have fixed the economy is now, as he leaves it longer, it will be clear he's done nothing of the sort. So why leave is 217 days?

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Anonymous Coward

I have one Idea...

I will flesh them out at some point, but feel free to work on them yourselfs if you agree.

The bigest problem for with voting for me is lack of knolage. I don't know enough about the partys to be able to make up my mind. There is to much fluff and media rubbish from them. Rather than set out there ideas and let people make there minds up they would rather shout each other down and critisies each other, and rather than saying "we will do X Y & Z" they talk in spin and soundbites about how they would "make this a better place to live". I want facts not talk.

The other think is I don't know how voteing works so fear going to the poling station.

I think the government should send out a leflet to every house with each of the major partys (not just the 3 big ones, but, say, ten biggest) given a set amount of words, all in the same type face, all orderd alphabeticly, too set out what there policys are. If anyone gose over the word count it will stop mid sentence. If any refuse then there will be ab blank space saying they refused. Also, on the back page would be a short explanation of how the voteing process works, from what to do on the day to how votes are counted and how winers are chosen etc.

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Unhappy

Which is worse?

Voting dilemma - which is worse - Identity Cards or the Tories in power?

Answers on the front of a ballot paper please

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Megaphone

Re: 217 days?

I like your line of thinking on voting Lib Dem. The more pressure put on Cameron and his "progressive" Conservatives, the better.

The 1983 general election was close to what you've got in mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_1983

With 8.7% more votes than the Liberal SDP Alliance, Labour took 809% more seats - an extra 809% seats on the basis of 8.7% more votes!

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Headmaster

217 days

Parliament's mandate will run out on 10 May 2010, 5 years after it first assembled. That's in 214 days time. Assuming ElGordy leaves it to then to ask Lizzy Windsor to schedule a new election, the election will be on 3 June 2010, 4 weeks + 1 after. The minimum time between the proclamation of elections is 4 weeks to give the other parties a chance.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: We already have the solution #

"The solution is of course proportional representation."

Indeed? Tell me more. Please start with a definition of what form of PR you are recommending, (Pure PR - Party list, STV, MTV etc.).

"It's well known and has been proven in numerous studies world wide that in first past the post systems turnout is always lower and the reason is blatantly obvious why- whose going to turn up to vote if their vote doesn't count?"

Surely the solution then is mandatory voting?

"In the 2005 British elections the Electoral Reform Society estimate that 19 million votes were thrown away on safe seats, that's 19 million people ou of the voting population whose vote simply was meaningless and did not count- is it any wonder turnout is low then?"

Really? care to back that assertion up with some evidence? Seriously I am skeptical about that assertion and I would be delighted to be educated as to how it was arrived at. Just because the person you voted for doesn't win it don't mean your vote was wasted, or stolen, it just means your guy didn't win.

"In this same election Labour were able to gain effectively 100% in power by having an absolute majority whilst only getting 36% of the nation's vote."

PR wouldn't necessarily change that. Even in a simple 2 party system (such as the US) you end up with a significant portion of people. I agree not a minority but you also have to accept that people vote tactically so 36% of the nation's vote does not necessarily mean only 36% of the nation wanted them to win.

"I'd imagine most people can see there's something wrong when the ruling party is in power against the will of 64% of the population"

It's not ideal I grant you, but the situation would probably be much worse under PR as the ruling body would necessarily be made up of parties who polled less than 36% of the vote, who would the wield a disproportionate amount of influence (look at Scotland, LibDems and tuition fees for an example). Not to mention that the ruling coalition would be decided by the largest coalition member and not by the voters.

".. if no single party holds absolute control of parliament then it can be hard to get agreement to pass laws....why the fuck should laws be passed if the majority of the population don't agree with them?"

Wouldn't happen What would happen is that main party would propose a law, and in order to get it to pass they would have to do a deal with minority parties who would want their own personal agendas meeting.

"The final argument that is most prominently used by FPTP supporters is that proportional representation means fringe parties like the BNP have more power- it's true, if the BNP get 2% of the vote, they get 2% of the power."

See above, and it would be more like 10% for the BNP:

Tories: "We have 43% of the vote to support our core policies - not enough"

BNP: "Hey, Tories. We'll support you with our 10%. For a bit of Quid pro Quo?

Tories: "OK, what you want"

BNP: Just a little thing, criminalisation of being black, nothing serious. Black people don't vote Tory as a rule anyway.

Tories: "We don't like that, but if we don't pass our core legislation then middle England won't vote for us next time, OK, you're on"

"Whilst 19 million people cannot enter a vote that counts, we do not live in a real democracy."

Again, you need to qualify this, I call shenanigans.

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Megaphone

@AC 08:54

is it just me or does anyone else see the irony in your book being "The Authorised Edition"?

Anyway - isn't the solution to make politics more interesting; say, random executions of MPs who vote for legislation that was never in the party manifesto when they last consulted the electorate ... make ministers personally liable for any overspend or waste in their departments ....

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Joke

In honour of a troll

"Naturally NO2ID would like reforms aimed at rolling back the database state"

What?! They're scared of a ****ing databse! The pansies.

(An homage to the irreplaceable Aaron Kempf)

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Big Brother

@Stuart22

Easy - ID cards are far, far worse.

The Tories sorted this country out after a labour mess last time and they'll do it again. Hopefully they'll start by swinging an axe at the public sector.

Personally I'll be voting Lib Dem (if I'm still in the country come election time) in the hope that they can at least form HM's Opposition and relegate Labour to the history books.

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June 3 2010

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/elections/what-is-the-last-possible-date-for-a-general-election

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Anonymous Coward

RE: 214 vs. 217 days / June 3 2010

From the electoral report in 2000: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2001/rp01-014.pdf pp7-8:

Alternatively, Parliament is allowed to expire at midnight of Monday 10 May 2010*

when the Septennial Act (as amended) provisions take effect. Although there is no

statutory requirement that a new proclamation be issued immediately, it is expected

that a proclamation would be made and writs issued at the earliest practicable day,

which would be Tuesday 11 May 2010*. Polling day would, therefore, be Thursday 3

June 2010*.

By the Meeting of Parliament Act 1694, the Crown must issue writs for a general election

and meeting of Parliament within three years from the dissolution of the last one.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So actually the latest possible date for a general election would be something like 10th May 2013, not 2010. OK, this would never happen but legally it could. 3 years with no functioning government would certainly save us a fortune - OK losing 610 MPs over 3 years we would effectively lose 32 man days of actual work, but that is a risk I for one would be willing to take....

*dates amended to reflect current parliament.

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Election data (@colin miller)

Technically, according to some constitutional pedants, this government could run til June 4 (Friday) as oppposed to June 3 (Thursday). That depends on whether you consider this government to have taken office during the thursday or at midnight on that day.

Nit-picky.

As for date...I took a look at this some months back and whilst not unheard of, an election now...effectively between November and end of January is highly unlikely. Last October one - and that forced to a degree by circs, was October 1974.

Never say never: someone could blow up the cabinet...leading to chaos and a need for a quick election...Brown could have a sudden cunning plan, but personally, I don't think an election can happen any earlier than, say, Feb 11 2010.

Nor will it run into the buffers and go for June 3. Two reasons, really. That really would look like clinging to power by the finger nails: and it would be so close to the Council elections that the opposition could claim it was wasteful.

Ditto the other side. An April election would look bad for the same reason....probably most of March, too.

So that leaves February or the same day as the Councils in May.

If they go for February...just remotely possible as a surprise...then the question of whether to go for Feb 11 will depend on whether they want to go on the old electoral register or new: there is some effect there whereby more organised parties do slightly better on one than t'other (but can't remember which way round).

Register will be at its oldest on 11 Feb. Newest on 18 Feb. So that's it...I'd put my money 98% on May 6...with a very very very small chance of Feb 11 or Feb 18.

Anyone like to argue otherwise?

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Bronze badge

Policies

It really is about time that we were able to vote directly on policies, instead of career politicians.

A good start would be a way to indicate preference for higher taxes versus higher spending, on a simple 1-5 scale - everyone ticks box 1, then taxes rocket; half vote for 2 and half vote for 4, then we get a dead heat and no change to the budget.

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Alien

The real problem

>The bigest problem for with voting for me is lack of knolage. I don't know enough about the partys to be able to make up my mind. There is to much fluff and media rubbish from them.<

Here is the truth badly spelled.

When I hear Cameron or Brown or Clegg saying what they're going to do I just think, 'liar' and carry on with my day. Reform is needed but not in the way you think. A manifesto should be what they are going to do, not just promises and fluffy wuffy assurances, but a legally binding contract between the chosen government and its people. Failure to enact the contract or attempts to add to it after power is attained should be seen as treason and punished accordingly. The government must be held answerable just as its citizens are.

Who watches the watchmen? 'quote from some guy'

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Unhappy

Lose local representation? Don't have any!

I moved to a new area around two years ago and finally got around to looking up my "new" MP a few months ago.

Despite having voted in ~89% of debates he's only voted against his own party 0.4% of the time!

I know people who are lifelong party members who don't agree with them that much.

Local representative? Looks more like a waste of a salary to me

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Heart

@Tony Paulazzo

That's more like it!

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Bronze badge

@BNP stats

The most recent poll I can find that lists BNP voting intentions puts them at 2%, behind UKIP and the Greens. They have only ever polled high in Euro elections because they're the obvious choice for people who want to stop the EU working.

Source: Populous, Sep 13

Yesterday's YouGov poll puts all 'other' parties (not Lib,Lab,Con) at 14% total. Again, UKIP is consistently polling higher than BNP. 10% they ain't getting.

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Anonymous Coward

Vote liberal

And you might just get labour, since the lib dems haven't ruled out an alliance with the labour party. Consequently, it looks like voting tory for me and dealing with the violent retching afterwards...

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RW

@ Ian 11 "We already have the solution"

"But the Tories and Labour won't implement it because it means less power for them. The solution is of course proportional representation. "

"Them" in this context doesn't mean the people comprising party memberships: it means the eminences grises who actually run the parties without stepping into the limelight very often at all. Those shadowy people who tell the whips, the PM, and all the rest what to say and what to do.

Personally, I think the emphasis on PR as the cure for all electoral evils is overstated. Rather, I suggest, it would be more helpful to look for ameliorations that tinker with the system as little as possible. I suggest requiring that the parties hold primary elections by secret ballot would be a big step toward denying the shadowy ones and central committees their power to designate candidates for election. Let the people speak!

More generally, one wants to be quite cautious about "injecting voter power" into the electoral mechanisms, lest you end up with the California system. Look what that's devolved into! It may be that the core problem with the California system is that the electorate can force state financial affairs (i.e. taxation and expenditure) into overly rigid arrangements. If California were to amend its constitution to reserve all financial measure to the legislature, I suspect the state would not be in the financial mess it is today.

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217 days?

As today is Friday and elections are traditionally held on a Thursday, shouldn't it be 216 days?

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