Right-wing rule in Britain?
From the left-wing Independent, a view of the election that couldn’t be more different from mine. Johann Hari thinks the Cameron Conservatives will make a couple of cosmetic concessions to their Lib-Dem partners while ruling the country as an unrepentant, unreformed right-wing force. (Would that it were so.)
Hari also bemoans what he calls the lack of democratic representation in the election’s outcome. The Tories won only 36 percent of the vote, compared to a combined Labour (30 percent) and Lib-Dem (25 percent) vote of 55 percent. The country voted for parties of the left, but are getting a conservative government. But of course the lack of proportionality that Hari complains of is the result of the fact that Britain doesn’t have a single election to choose the ruling party in Parliament, but 650 separate elections in 650 separate constituencies, just as the U.S. doesn’t have a single election for president, but 50 separate elections in 50 states. The only way to fix the lack of proportionality would be to eliminate constituencies, eliminate popular voting for individual candidates, and have a single national vote in which each voter votes for a party, not for a candidate for MP. Each party would end up with a number of MPs proportional to its percentage of the national vote, and the party leaders would then appoint a list of MPs. That’s the standard mode of election in much of the continent, as well as in Israel. But is it really democratic to put all power into the hands of party leaders, with the members of parliament accountable only to the leaders who chose them, not to voters, and with the voters not having anyone who actually represents them and is accountable to them? The proportional system is not really democratic. It is an electoral method suitable to a managed society. Which is what liberals/leftists really mean when they call for greater “democracy.”
James N. writes:
Hari is (partially) right.LA replies:
A Conservative leader who was both conservative and responsible (unlike Cameron, a liberal who was seeking his own political survival—be sure to read Melanie Phillips’s acute explanation of his motives), would have stood aside and let Labour form a government with the Lib-Dems. That government would have fallen in six or ten months, leading to another general election, which the Conservatives would have won outright.James N. replies:
OK, but the 39 percent includes lots of wets. Britain will not change until the socialism they crave collapses in ruins. A Tory government hated by 50 percent of the electorate can’t achieve anything.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 14, 2010 11:48 AM | Send