Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Worth having a look at

(1) Anthony Wells has a stab at explaining What happens in a hung Parliament. Note that the Queen doesn't have to grant a dissolution and a second election if she is advised that somebody else (who need not be a party leader) might be able to form a government.

(2) Who will lead the opposition? by Martin Kettle raises a so far neglected question. Suppose the LibDems come second in votes but third in seats, Nick Clegg has a moral claim on the post of official leader of the opposition. Kettle explains why this is important and how it could turn nasty.

(3) Stephen Tall explains Why gay voters are deserting the Tories for the LibDems. It's become rather clear that real commitment to gay equality in the Conservative Party is largely confined to the small modernising clique around Cameron, and a lot of their backwoodsmen turn out to be (as also on several other issues) not on message. Quelle surprise! Incidentally, now that Alan Duncan has been sacked from the front bench, as far as I know we have only Nick Herbert to hold the fort as a guarantee against future Tory backsliding on gay questions.

(4) Neil Harding points out that coalitions are not necessarily indecisive. "The 12 best countries for controlling the deficit and maintaining decent public services are all run by coalitions", he says.

(5) My old Campaign for the North chum Austin Mitchell MP explains why all this talk of "efficiency savings" is just hot air. He also writes, and I am inclined to agree: "Sadly no party is saying the one thing people want to hear. Bring the troops back from Afghanistan. What's the point of a war we can't win?" Actually I think the BNP and the Greens are saying that: strange bedfellows.

(6) In British political landscape could change for ever, Neil Clark reminds us that the existing parties are themselves rather artificial coalitions, only held together by the first-past-the-post voting system. Under a proportional system, the whole party structure could change over time, giving everyone clearer choices. He's right if we have a list system but I don't think the argument works so well if we have STV in multi-member constituencies, since that system gives voters the power to choose themselves between different strands of the same party.

(7) Dave Cole argues against David Cameron's suggestion of recall elections for bad MPs. This seems to be one of those "good ideas" that becomes less and less good the more you look into it.

(8) David Aaronovitch in Radicals or conservatives? How can we tell? speaks for many of us when he expresses utter confusion about where today's Conservative Party really stands. "The Conservatives are excellent on defence and internationalism, but useless and deceptive on Europe. They say good words about the poor, but suggest that their policy emphasis will be on reducing taxes for the middle classes and — amazingly — the very wealthy. Their key word is change, but much of time they seem to promise the past as much as the future. It's a promise that cannot be kept."

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