Have a look at the text of the coalition deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats :Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition deal: full text | Politics | guardian.co.uk
I could probably do a blog on every line of this, but scroll to the bit about Political Reform (No. 6) – which starts by naming the date of the next election as “The first Thursday of May 2015″. Which is of course the longest it can legally be under our current system.
If you think like I do you’ll probably have reacted to that by thinking that the coalition is unlikely to last that long – it will doubtless suffer splits and defeats and ultimately a vote of no confidence precipitating an election long before then – or perhaps the Tories sensing a surge in the opinion polls might go to the nation to try to secure a more workable majority.
Not so, according to what comes next in the coalition agreement :
“legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed-term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.”
Let’s just dissect that a little.
That means that this parliament (not a future one – THIS one) will be able to be brought down by a vote of no confidence – but only if 55% of the MPs vote to do that. Note that this is not 55% of those who vote, but 55% of all MPs. And not just a simple majority of 51% – but 55% – OK not much difference I hear you say, and it introduces a little more stability by discouraging interminable series of confidence votes designed to sabotage the Government of the day.
But how much is 55% – Well it’s 357.5 seats – so as it needs to be more than 55% it would need to be 358 – no half seats. So that would need (typically) : All 258 Labour votes; all 57 Lib Dem Votes; & all 28 of the “other” votes – totalling 343 – so it would also need a further 15 Conservative votes. Actually not quite true – it would also need a further 5 votes – because Sinn Fein would be likely not to vote at all – not to mention anyone who was ill or otherwise engaged on the day of the vote.
So the Conservative Party, with help from the Liberal Democrat party are planning to enact binding legislation - enacted with a simple majority of those MP’s who turn up to vote – which would ensure that the Conservative Party remained in office for the next 5 years in all circumstances save that when at least 20 of their own number decided to vote against. So actually they could sell the Lib Dems down the river without a second thought – they wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it.
The Conservatives lets remember hold just 306 of the 650 seats – a mere 47% – which they gained with 36.1% of the popular vote, on a turn out of 65.1% – this represents just 23.5% of the total electorate.
This is the kind of immunity from accountability that is the hallmark of dictators and despots. It is a manoeuvre of which Adolf Hitler would have been proud – effectively preventing opposition to the ruling party.
This is dangerous totalitarianism. It must not be allowed to take it’s place in law. (See this article in the Times Online
Plans for fixed-term Parliaments “not credible” and “dangerous” – says law expert – Law Central – Times Online – WBLG
I’m shocked that the Conservative Party could sink so low.
Astounded that the Liberal democrat party could be so stupid as to be taken in by such a proposal.
Please make people aware of this – it’s a very big issue, which could potentially threaten the liberty of all of us.
As a postscript it seems somewhat laughable that the same section of the Coalition text contains the much vaunted “Power of Recall” – intended to deal with wayward MP’s
“The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by election where an MP was found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.”
Why laughable ?
Well because this occurs only when an MP has been found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing. Which presumably means breaking the law.
And how many of the MPs involved in the expenses scandal have been found guilty of breaking the law ? Well none yet. There are three on the way though, who may well be, and under the new legislation it would only take a mere 7,000 signatures or so to force a by election. Except that by then they’d probably have been expelled from their parties, and may well already have been replaced (as these three have). In other words a meaningless piece of legislation, which is presumably designed only to deflect attention from the draconian self-protective law making outlined above.
See the Moments of Clarity Blog for more on this : What a fix!! «
or here at 21st Century Fix 21stCenturyFix.org: Cameron apes Berlusconi’s Italy by making it impossible to vote him out