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Observer II

Constituency Boundaries ?

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There are arguments for and against FPTP   -  that it supports the two party system and provides decisive governance, but that didn't seem to be the case with the last Parliament, where MPs were basically doing their own thing. So it seems FPTP can suffer the same problem as PR, where majorities are even more scarce.   However, what does seem unfair is the numbers of votes required to get MPs into Parliament -  If we take Scotland for example with a total population of around 5 million,  it get to send around 45 MPs to Parliament; 2 million green voters get one MP  and last time 4 million UKIP voter didn't get any.  So if we get anything like a stable Government out of this election,  perhaps they'll address the question of our democracy, constitution and political accountabilty - then again, perhaps not, as turkeys don't vote for Xmas.  However, there are clearly ways that degree of fairness could be introduced and  include elements of both FPTP and PR. The first and obvious target would be the unelected House of Lords, with around 8oo members placed there on the basis of party patronage, each claiming £300 per day for signing in.  This could be reduced to a 100 seat Senate, elected by Party lists on the basis of percentage support at a G/Election - giving immediate PR to the revising chamber.   In the Commons, do we really need 650 MPs,  cost us around £8 million pa ?   Surely this could be reduced to 300 by combining current constituencies (like Warrington North and South)  into one .    One would think, that the Boundary Commission would insist that the number of voters in each constituency would be as close to equal as possible.   Also, there is currently a means of voters to re-call their MP, in cases of criminal activity, via local petitions. Perhaps this should include cases where they deliberately go against the mandate on which they were elected or change their Party when elected ?

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The trouble with the Lords is that it is a manufactured tier of government which is added to as & when any government can decide in order to pass its Acts of Parliament.

Perhaps if the unthinkable happens & Brexit is thwarted the establishment should think about slimming down Parliament by ditching the Lords & letting us be ruled whole heartedly by Brussels & with a reformed Commons of less MPs. We wouldn't need so much domestic government in a future indefinitely in serfdom to the EU.

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😉   Fair point in relation to the EU Dave.,  that's part of the issue,  democracy is useless if it's concentrated at the top, giving power to the people to control their own lives, requires power (and responsibilty) being pushed downward;  which was the intention of devolution, until it got usurped by the SNP; the economic imbalance between London and the S/East., and the rest of the Country can be redressed by Regional Governance, as practised in most modern democracies like Germany and Australia. But alas modernisation is an alien concept to those in power, who much prefer business as usual.

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The problem of the disproportionate number of Scottish Mps can be solved by giving them the independence referendum they want, but this time extending the vote to the rest of the UK. The Scots would find out how popular they are in the rest of the country!

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8 minutes ago, asperity said:

The problem of the disproportionate number of Scottish Mps can be solved by giving them the independence referendum they want, but this time extending the vote to the rest of the UK. The Scots would find out how popular they are in the rest of the country!

Your suggestion is true and much favoured. However I would point out that the latest Boundary Reviews for all part of the UK has week waiting for the government to have a sufficient majority to dare to implement them. In those reviews the same quota, i.e. electors target per constituency, was used in every part of the country in the four reviews to ensure that the inequality is removed. By implementing those change the whinging power of the SNP is reduced a bit.

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10 minutes ago, Confused52 said:

Your suggestion is true and much favoured. However I would point out that the latest Boundary Reviews for all part of the UK has week waiting for the government to have a sufficient majority to dare to implement them. In those reviews the same quota, i.e. electors target per constituency, was used in every part of the country in the four reviews to ensure that the inequality is removed. By implementing those change the whinging power of the SNP is reduced a bit.

Agreed, and the Government needs to get the boundary rebalancing done as a priority. As Obs has pointed out the Lords needs sorting out. However reducing the Scots whingeing is going to take drastic action.

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Just now, asperity said:

Agreed, and the Government needs to get the boundary rebalancing done as a priority. As Obs has pointed out the Lords needs sorting out. However reducing the Scots whingeing is going to take drastic action.

TBH I don't agree about the Lords. I believe that the Lords with the Salisbury convention and the Parliament Acts do a better job than the Commons. Indeed the Lords performed better on Brexit even though the government does not have a majority in the House of Lords. It isn't actually broken in my view. I base that on the conventions meaning that as the unelected House the HOL must eventually defer to the Commons and always does even if there is no majority in the HOL. It does make sensible changes to legislation in most case acting as a revising chamber and to be fair most of its members do not turn up unless their expertise is required by the whips. They also bring great amounts of professional experience, most valuably from outside politics, to consider the proposals to change the law. People like Lord Winston are invaluable in considering ethical consequences, that are beyond the cut and thrust of the Commons are valuable even they are political appointees.

If the second chamber were elected they would be able to challenge the legitimacy and supremacy of the Commons and I do not think that would make democracy any healthier. Lords reform is just something that feels as if it ought to make things more democratic until you look at in detail when you find that the last 100 years hasve probably done eough and doing more could make it worse. Anyway that is just my two-penneth.

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I'll just throw this in here:

boris.png?raw=1

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perhaps the answer to the house of lords is to employ them on a consultancy basis, if a decision is needed about a certain thing get the "experts " in to solve it and pay them a consultancy fee. after that they can go home to tend the garden or write their memoirs or whatever. Convert the actual lords chambers into living accomodation for the MP's thus getting rid of the need for MPs second houses in london.

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13 hours ago, Observer II said:

But they're appointed not elected;   just like the EU executive is appointed  -   so not democratic.

Yes, read what I said again - them being elected is not a good thing of itself because in extremis they can claim an equal legitimacy to the Commons, that is destabilizing. Sorry if it doesn't fit with simple explanations of democracy but it is more stable. Other countries have informal mechanisms to make sure the second chamber is populated by elder statement too, the election thing doesn't bother me because the parties still choose the candidates and there is less account taken of public preference than in our system. The British way is pragmatism and the Hose of Lords is fine as it is. The organ of state you want to worry about is the Supreme Court.

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4 hours ago, Confused52 said:

Yes, read what I said again - them being elected is not a good thing of itself because in extremis they can claim an equal legitimacy to the Commons, that is destabilizing. Sorry if it doesn't fit with simple explanations of democracy but it is more stable. Other countries have informal mechanisms to make sure the second chamber is populated by elder statement too, the election thing doesn't bother me because the parties still choose the candidates and there is less account taken of public preference than in our system. The British way is pragmatism and the Hose of Lords is fine as it is. The organ of state you want to worry about is the Supreme Court.

Hopefully, now Boris has the freedom of a majority to more or less what he wants; he will address the constitutional issues raised by the past 3 years. As for the "legitimacy" argument, that can be controlled by a written constitution, again long overdue in our archaic system.

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3 hours ago, Observer II said:

Hopefully, now Boris has the freedom of a majority to more or less what he wants; he will address the constitutional issues raised by the past 3 years. As for the "legitimacy" argument, that can be controlled by a written constitution, again long overdue in our archaic system.

I have heard that discussed a lot recently but the discussion often points to the issues of meaning creep over time that happens with written constitutions. The US constitution on gun ownership being a prime example. We actually have more written constitution than is appreciated what with civil service rules, Standing Orders in Parliament and Erskine May on top of Statute and Common Law. Writing down those things which are conventions has also been done by the Parliamentary Librarians as a record of custom and practice. Given that Constitutional Law cases often quote these sources showing that they are well known I wonder what you want to be different? What if I suggest that writing it all down in one place would offer the lawyers a ready made opportunity to change it as they write it down and that would give the law a larger role than today. Would you be happy with that? I know I wouldn't.

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Again, the whole point of a written constitution would be to draw clear lines of responsibilty between Executive , Legislature and Judicery.   There's no perfect system at the end of the day; but in most human activity, such as sport, there are rules, without which you have anarchy.

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12 hours ago, Observer II said:

Again, the whole point of a written constitution would be to draw clear lines of responsibilty between Executive , Legislature and Judicery.   There's no perfect system at the end of the day; but in most human activity, such as sport, there are rules, without which you have anarchy.

Have you been taking any notice of the new VAR rules in football? Describing them as chaotic would be too kind 🤣.

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13 hours ago, Observer II said:

Again, the whole point of a written constitution would be to draw clear lines of responsibilty between Executive , Legislature and Judicery.   There's no perfect system at the end of the day; but in most human activity, such as sport, there are rules, without which you have anarchy.

The total separation of the three branches of government is not a British tradition, rather it is a continental one which the liberal elite have been trying to introduce here for decades. For myself I find that every invocation of this principle has behind it an attempt to reduce the power of the executive and the unlawful prorogation decision was exactly one such decision which invoked separation of powers. Careful what you wish for.

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Unfortunately. Parliament was effectively prorogued for the best part of 3 years by Remainer intransigence restricting the regular throughput of Parliamentary business.

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