Thursday, December 27, 2007

44% of MPs Favour Fixed Term Parliaments

Regular readers may know that I have set up a blog for the CAMPAIGN FOR FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTS. The latest entry has the results of a ComRes Poll, which shows that 44% of MPs now favour Fixed Term Parliaments. Sadly only 25% of Tory MPs have seen the light. Meanwhile 41% of Labour MPs and 88% of LibDems are on the side of the righteous. Our Kingdom, which supports the campaign, says you can interpret this in one of two ways...
One is to say that if even MPs are catching on it must happen eventually. The other is to fall into a profound depression. I can understand why a government may want to keep the right to call a snap election. But surely MPs realise the manipulation and short-termism brings them into disrepute. Why are the majority of both Labour and Conservative members of parliament at the same time spineless and self-important? Any answers please, for a holiday quiz.

24 comments:

Giovanni said...

Fixed term Parliaments can be a double edged sword. Yes, it really really sucked for us Tories this summer, when we were timorously waiting the dreadful moment in which Brown would have called the election that would have most likely buried us.

But there are times when a government has nothing left to say or do or is incapable of governing and in that case, going to the country early is the right thing to do. Or when there is no longer a Parliamentary majority and the country is bereft of a effective government.

And even if there are constitutionally mandated fixed terms for Parliament, there are ways around it, like what Scroeder did back in 2005 when he lost the majority in the Bundesrat, by triggering an artificial no-confidence vote in the Bundestag that led to new elections. Blessedly that election got rid of Putin's rent-boy (I loathe that man) and got Angie Merkel in, but the point is there are ways around fixed terms.

Also, I doubt fixed terms suit Parliamentary democracies and they work better in presidential systems such as the American one (with its rigid separation of powers), or maybe the Swiss model that is (or was) built upon the idea of everybody gets to govern at the same time anyway.

mitch said...

How about fixed parliament but Mps for only a year so you have a rolling party and no full time parasites.

Atlas shrugged said...

A seemingly good idea that may well have very real and very bad results.

This country is already copying a lot of the worst aspects of the US democratic process. Why copy another?

At least we only have to listen to politicians campaign nonsense for 3 to 4 weeks. The poor miss informed American public have to have their brains permanently damaged for up to 2 whole years in advance. Which is a process that is highly expensive and therefore very open to corruption from collectivist big money interests.

Democracy is in terminal decline around the world. This because the whole process to work in the interests of the common man, depends on a free uncontrolled media and a cast in stone written libertarian based constitution.

Which we the British in particular, so obviously do not have now, and also have never had at any time in our past.

This current CO2=MMGW non debate alone, should shake the ground beneath the feet of even the most strident believer in the free democratic process.

As many here now know CO2=MMGW is highly authoritarian not to say overtly fascist, completely man made, 'Brave New World', New world Order, bullshit propaganda. It is All of these things and maybe worse, to anyone still in ownership of half a free brain, to think with.

IMHO

A finer example of a 'massive world wide conspiracy of mind control and dis information', not seen since world war 2, there has so far been.

In spite of many other serious candidates for the title.

Conservative PPC said...

Why do you say that those who don't happen to agree with your point of view are spineless and self important?
I don't want to go fixed term Parliaments. You talk about the Government wishing to keep the right to call a snap election. You appear to forget that our system also allows an opposition to bring down a Government by putting down and winning a vote of no confidence. This is what happened in 1979 as I recall. It means that when the numbers are tight a Government has to be very careful to keep its back benchers/minority parties on board or face losing a vote of no confidence (therefore they can't be too extreme). If we had fixed term Parliaments, that would surely mean the chance (slim though it may be) for an opposition to bring down a Government mid-term, would be lost for ever.
Bad move in my opinion!

Geoff said...

Interesting that all of the original objectives of the firebrand radical Chartists in 1838 have been fulfilled: secret ballot, pay for MP's, an end to the property qualification etc etc - all except for fixed term Parliaments.

They wanted annual elections though. Now *that* would keep politicians on their toes.

Andy said...

As far as I know the current parliament will end after 5 years (10 May 2010) so the election will be held on 03 June 2010.

Therefore the most that a government can do is to leave early. That's a good thing, surely?

John said...

the very fact that 80 odd percent of Lib-Dem MPs support fixed term parliaments proves that it is a shit idea.

Scary Biscuits said...

Iain, you're naive if you think that fixed terms will make "MPs realise the manipulation and short-termism brings them into disrepute". All that will change is the nature of the manipulation.

I oppose your campaign.

Anonymous said...

a rubbish idea iain

NorthernMonkey said...

I fully agree with you Iain. It's undemocratic for a PM to choose the calling of an election at the time when the polls look good for him.

Fixed four-year Parliaments are the right way forward. Good luck with your campaign.

Jamie said...

ok how about this for an idea?

we should have fixed term parliments of 5 years, with the goverment having the right to call an earlier election if it sees fit.

that way, we wouldn't get stuck with parliment wasting their time trying to pass bills for a few years if their majority was very slim, as they could call an election, or opposition parties could force a vote of no confidence.

oh hang on, that's the system we already have.

i really don't see any convincing arguments in favour of fixed term parliments, however i do see many good arguments against them. mostly in the comments above!

Anonymous said...

Each MP should be elected for a fixed term. His salary and pension entitlement being fixed at the commencement of his term. Over the course of time, due to retirements, resignation and deaths, the terms of the various constituencies would become scattered. This would mean that elections would be a series of bye elections and the need for General Elections would be eliminated together with the unneccessary expenditure they incur. The need for party funding would be reduced and minor parties would benefit as an individual election could well result in a protest vote against the current government. As this will reduce the power of the centre and the government it is unlikely to be allowed to take place.

Josh said...

Maybe those MPs don't understand, Iain, because you're wrong. It's no good taking away more powers from the Monarch to give to the bilge rats in the Commons.

How many times has this been an issue before? Maybe it's just Brown who is sleazy enough to abuse the constitution from partisan purposes.

Hand of History said...

Convince me....

88% of LibDems are in favour? That is a reason to stick with the current system! The less tinkering with our noble traditions the better.

LibDem idea of proportional representation is also rubbish. I'd rather see Labour in power for the next 10 years than go to any idea the LibDems thought of.

David Anthony said...

Fixed term parliaments with the option of 65/75% majority decision for times of national importance when it may be necessary.

Anonymous said...

I was going to write at length as to why fixed term parliaments are a poor idea, but I see several others got in ahead of me. The proposal is similar to other proposals for structural change that offer a simplistic solution to difficult problems.

Atlas shrugged said...

Jamie

I agree 100%

Whats the point of being a Conservative if you want to change anything with no real idea that the results of that change would be for the betterment of the common man either specifically or individually?

The only changes this country needs are ones that return us, not to how we actually were, but to what we were supposed to have long since been, and by now should have become.

With all the subsequent advantages of modern technology and real FREE MARKET capitalism.

Not the collectivist authoritarian Fascist, or the collectivist authoritarian communist type of capitalism the WORLD is in fact getting.

We should be and very mostly want to be is a evolved nation of fully respected properly educated individuals, with full property rights, living in a truly democratic at least half libertarian independent country.

That also sets a good, just, peaceful and productive example to the rest of the world.

What we never were supposed to be was a nation whose government is subservient to its media and most importantly its very own covertly fascist BBC.

A BBC that is now almost completely controlled by EU, national, multi-national and or religious corporate interests, like all of the rest of worlds press and broadcast media.

( However much effort the massively over public funded pan-national corporation spends conning us and the unsuspecting world into believing otherwise. )

Which would not be so seriously bad in itself, if these interests were not absolutely 100% dedicated to a plan of destroying forever any chance of us the people of the world ever achieving this wonderful and obtainable form of Gods paradise on earth, for ourselves.

Josh said...

Isn't the fact that the LibDems are fully behind the idea proof enough of its wackiness?

Alex said...

It is obvious why the Lib Dems would be in favour. In the event of a hung parliament the Lib dems would hope to be in the hot seat for the whole fixed term. Ignore the LibDems, and I daresay the numbers don't look so impressive.

simon said...

A thousand 'No's'. If anything, i'd like to see a mechanism where 51% of those who actually voted can force a general election if they petitioned the No10 website ( only once during a parliamentary term- if necessary). Power to the people. A novel idea!

Little Black Sambo said...

Bad idea.
1. It is a big constitutional change so ought to be approached with extreme caution (unlike the way the idiots now in charge deal with constitutional matters).
2. You cannot foretell the effects of it, and there would almost certainly be grave consequences that were not predicted (as there have been with the changes already made by the idiots now in charge).
3. The idiots now in charge started campaigning for re-election directly they were elected in 1997. Do we really want to make that a permanent feature of our political life?
NuLabour has all along treated this country and its constitution as its own private property, which is why I loathe them.

Brian said...

I think this is a red herring and reeks of Tory opportunism.

I think our 'democratic' system is flawed, unrepresentative, inefficient and outdated.

I DON'T THINK fixed terms will address these issues. They merely shift the PR gimmicks and campaigning to a set time each year.

If you really care about democracy you can:

support proportional representation

support more powers in certain
areas for local governments

support more worker representation on key institutions in the economic sphere

oppose personality-cult presidential politics with so much power for the PM.

have more regular elections.

oppose corporate/minority group funding of political parties.

have more democratic debate amongst 'the masses' (blogs may have some impact here hopefully)

have wages that mean the political classes represent the bulk of the population and act accordingly, as opposed to trying to entice the so-called 'best' people from the private sector.


PS. I can't believe that so many really, actually, genuinely believe this:

As many here now know CO2=MMGW is highly authoritarian not to say overtly fascist

It is a prime example of scientific ignorance being used for political means. (I freely admit some greenies do this too at the other end of the debate)

Brian said...

Thought I should add this as I came across it from a mind a touch more refined than those here

As Roger Scruton writes, ‘Conservatism, as I understand it, means
maintenance of the social ecology. Conservatism and conservation are in fact two aspects of a single
long-term policy, which is that of husbanding resources. These resources include the social capital
embodied in laws, customs and institutions; they also include the material capital contained in the
environment.’

Anonymous said...

Fixed-term parliaments are yet another damn-fool idea for "reform" put forward by people desperate to be seen by the media as "doing something." Fixed term parliaments will not improve the UK's political life one jot. I hope this is idea is ignored.