Friday, March 28, 2008

Telegraph Column: Brown, The Tories & Electoral Reform

In my Telegraph column today I have returned to the subject of electoral reform, and ask whether Brown's plans are just a way of trying to keep the Tories out of power forever. Check out the latest HEFFER CONFRONTED video (click on the video box over to the right) where Simon and I discuss the merits or otherwise of President Sarkozy.

Coming later today...

* The results of the Second preference poll
* A review of the Mussolini DVD
* What happened at the London Lycee yesterday


M. Hristov said...

Jack Straw’s comment about an alternative vote is a sign that Labour think that there will be a hung Parliament and that they will need a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. That will drive the Conservatives into the arms of the SNP.

The fact that the electoral system is currently skewed in Labour’s favour suggests that there will be a hung Parliament.

Nice to see you debating Sarko with Simon Heffer, Iain.

Now Heffer is busy backtracking on his previous view that the sun shines out of Sarko’s derriere.

I cannot see what Heffer ever saw in the little Hungarian or why he imagined that this popinjay would be up to changing France in the way Margaret Thatcher changed this country.

Firstly, Sarko has not been clever in the way he has wooed the public. He raised his own salary and then went onto publicly woo Ms Bruni.

We have had fifteen years of worshipping vulgarity in this country. People now look up to the likes of Victoria Beckham nee Adams (laughably called “Posh”, just because her parents are rich) and Coleen McLoughlin. These girls would be complete non-entities in France. The French are shocked by the Carla Bruni affair. I’m sure that they would have been very pleased if she had been Sarko’s mistress, even if that entailed her being kept at the public expense but she is far to vulgar to be the President’s wife.

Remember that we still have HM The Queen as the embodiment of our state. Sarko and Bruni have to fulfil her role in France. They have to emit gravitas, which neither of them are capable of doing.

De Gaulle was the last person to change France in the fundamental way Sarkozy wants to do. He had gravitas.

Secondly, Sarko does not have the money to reform the French state, in the way that Heffer imagines he will do. Mrs Thatcher used North Sea oil to do this but Sarko is going into a worldwide recession.

Thirdly, the French are not the British. They are not masochists who will be prepared to endure huge hardships over the whole of society and the impoverishment of the upper middle class, in order to enrich the lower middle class and the working class. The upper middle class graduates of the Ecole Polytechniques are still in control of France and the French populace will strike at the first sign of pain. The self indulgent Sarkozy has already shown a willingness to compromise.

Fourthly, it is laughable to see Heffer supporting a French protectionist who wants Tony Blair to be the next President of Europe.

Sarkozy will be a one term President who will bury Thatcherite neo-liberalism, in France, for the foreeable future.

Strangely, we have not heard much about Sarkozy from the legion of retired English jokers living in France, who normally castigate the U.K., in posts on numerous blogs, for failing to carry on the Thatcherite principles but who live on pensions devised when this country was a socialist state (and which will have to be dismantled for the next generation) in pre-Thatcherite France. They don’t want Sarko to spoil their little pre-Thatcherite world, whilst loudly telling those of us who live here that we must be more Thatcherite.

Yes, I do mean Verity and her friends. I cannot understand how anyone can have the gall to attack David Cameron, whilst living in a country which is entirely run by enarchques (the graduates of the elite Ecole Polytechnique) and which does not believe in the market in any way.

P.S. It was Alan Clark M.P. who first said that Margaret Thatcher used North Sea oil to fund the structural changes she made to this country.

P.P.S. Both Thatcher and Blair were careful to exempt newspaper journalists from their attacks on the professions. All the old professions are now losing self-regulation and adopting vigorous censure (and often career termination) for mistakes and inaccuracies. Simon Heffer lives in the fantasy world of newspaper journalists, where self regulation still holds and mistakes and inaccuracies are ignored. He'll wake up when circulations fall far enough for the government to exercise the control that they have imposed on every other profession.

Rush-is-Right said...

Voter fraud comes naturally to parties of the left. I used many years ago to run a care home business in Nottinghamshire. In the first general election after my acquisition of one business we duly took some of the residents down to vote only to discover that they had already been registered as having voted by proxy. It was the first they knew of it. A stitch-up by the previous (labour supporting) matron.

The recent cases of multiple registration and fraudulent postal voting in Birmingham and elsewhere are notorious.

And in America it's just as bad. The Democrats do all they can to get fellons and illegal immigrants onto the voter rolls. (That's what the New York drivers license fiasco that first did for Mrs Clinton was really all about.)

Tim Hedges said...

I am against AV but it must be said that it might well favour the Tories. Its effect is to penalise heavily the least popular party. That has been the Tories since about 1993 but it may not be now

Me said...

You have to laugh at these pampered socialists. An electoral system that delivers c. 90 more English seats than the Tories for fewer votes is OK but so soon as it seems as if it won't deliver it needs to be scrapped.

Newmania said...

I like the section about local government and indeed the whole article which is timely. I can`t help wondering as I have been on about this since last w/e if you look at the comments on your blog when you do these MSM forays ? Do you?

I have some interesting trans national analysis on various voting systems and it is noticeable the extent to which the system is predictive of the outcome. Conservatives have to develop a better defence to the threat of PR because it does tend to produce centre left administrations but not because it is representative of the supposed progressive majority but because it accentuates the tendency of the left to buy itself supprt with money it takes form its opponents .The idea of its fairness must be attacked and paradoxically it is because democracy in redistributive developed economies is not , in a sense , fair .

So great article but someone needs to mount a far more robust defence of FPTP which you are almost apologetic about.

Anonymous said...

I said all along that Brown would 'fix' the electoral system if Labour were likely to lose the next GenElec. Of course, another aim of the 'fix' will be to TRY and keep 'Britain' together along with cementing a 'stay in the EU' political ruling elite. Complicit in all of this are the Liberal Democrats. Just WHAT exactly was Ming and Broon discussing in their 'cosy little chats'? Of course, Labour's blatent attempt to 'fix' the Holyrood Parliament eventually backfired (create a convoluted bastardised PR system to keep the SNP out of power-in theory). A blessing- Brown can't fix the system until AFTER the next GenElec!

Newmania said...

.... They are not masochists who will be prepared to endure huge hardships over the whole of society and the impoverishment of the upper middle class, in order to enrich the lower middle class and the working class.....

What are you talking about the numerous lowermiddle class are exactly the people who suffer the most here. They get nothing for the 30% increase in spending , pay for it and the marginal effect on thier lives of taxes hurts in real terms.

The upper middleclass have done well , their access to opportunity has vastly increased by comparison and they now dominate Universities , the media and positions of power , property prices have handed them a vast uneraned leg up and obviously indirect taxes are not the burden on them that they are to their "inferiors".

Blackacre said...

I very much doubt that Gordo will change the electoral system as it would also keep Labour out of power for ever. Indeed the whole idea is to have a proportional representation of the popular vote in the UK and that favours no single party, so as long as they can they will each cling on to FPTP. The current system will always slightly favour one party as constituencies necessarily are not changed immediately the population shifts, but I suspect the same is true of a PR system with any sort of constituencies.

At the risk of the usual diatribes coming from the usual suspects on this, I am a supporter of PR as I believe that the people should be represented in the way they vote and voting is about that not about the mythical "stong government". PR has defects, but so does FPTP. However, a party list system is completely unacceptable and any system should be constituency based. Ireland seem to manage with STV so why can't we?

Now I shall await the slings and arrows.

Anonymous said...

"Brown's plans are just a way of trying to keep the Tories out of power forever"

Well of course, that is his job. The Tories job should be to try the opposite. The corolary of that is that, unless they believe LibDems are inherently part of the Labour movement (Nick Clegg?) they should be trying something similar.

As I have pointed they are actually in a stronger position to do so because they haven't previously made a promise of a PR referendum & broken it.

Anonymous said...

I have come to believe that Gordon Brown's level of political competence is so low that everything he touches turns to ashes. AV may or may not be a good idea but either way, if he goes for it, he can be relied upon to cock it up.