Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 21

Thread: Five Year Parliaments

  1. #11

    Default

    I am in favour of fixed term parliaments.

    The current system is basically undemocratic, in my view. It is manipulated by the party in power, to hold an election whenever they think that they are most popular, in order to stay in power and hopefully win a bigger majority. Generally, governments hold an election after four years, if they are popular, but hang on till the end of a five-year term (the maximum length of a Parliament) if they are unpopular - thus prolonging in power what is often a deeply unpopular government.

    Fixed term parliaments would remove this power to manipulate election times to party advantage. They would also benefit the economy, since businesses would be able to plan for when there would be an election and a potential change of government; at the moment, this is not possible.

    There is a legitimate concern that 5 years is too long. 4 years would be line with the length of administrations in the USA. Perhaps we could even synchronise our elections with US presidential elections, so that there is the same team in the White House and the same team in No 10, over the four-year period.

  2. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    442

    Default

    The same used to be said of interest rates. Different subject I know. But my fear is that technocratic rules are reducing politics to a passive series of choices made within rules laid out by people who are not accountable. You may talk of party manipulation, butwhen you take power away from politicians, you can then be met by a reasonable response along the lines of "we cannot do anything about that. We would not want to interfere in the process". The Lib Dems talked about putting immigration policy under the control of a commission and out of open politics in 2005. Fortunately it did not happen. If the public wants an election for whatever reason, say unpopularity of a particular policy, the opposition in the past could simply calll for an election. The issue would then at least be discussed. Under the system now, the Commons would either have to vote for an election by two thirds or vote no confidence in the govt (which would not realistically happen unless it was a minority govt).

    There is a worrying trend for many single issue and small party politicians to claim that they want nothing more than to withdraw from politics when x has been achieved. Martin Bell was the example par excellance. UKIP at its worst can tap into this type of parasitical anti politics politics. It is parasitical because it is seeking election on the basis that you don't really like politics because you're a good person. The fact is though that either politics occurs in open democracy or it continues by other means. If you favour democracy, you need to be prepared to elect people, who will not be perfect, but who are accountable, visable and able to take real decisions. You can talk about this as manipulation if you like. Every party wants to get re-elected. I would be annoyed if they did not try to appeal to my interests. The public should be allowed to judge whether lowering interest rates or whether calling an election was wise or not. Regarding prolonging the parliament, as I have said, I think 5 years is too long, but I can think of good reasons why it might be legitimately preferred to wait over the course of a winter. And sometimes it backfires, if you do, as in the case of Jim Callaghan.

    Basically, there are arguments either way, but I find the trend for arguments to tie down politicians is ultimately getting in the way of my right to elect people to carry out policies that I approve of. Take the expenses "row". This was obviously a way by which MPs had decided they would avoid calling for increased pay and help themselves to expenses for everything. Pretty poor. But The reaction has meant that MPs are treated less as trusted public officials and representatives and more as low grade public servants, watched over by a standards committee from civil servants.
    Tom Collier

  3. #13
    Trusted Member longbow64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    6,465

    Default

    At the moment I don't really care, although Pu I accept your point in it's entirety. Things are just so bad here at the moment with the absolute wicked lies that they tell to get elected. I also think real policy is made by that plethora of civil servants who work at number 10, I honestly believe D.C. was going to make real change in Britains position in Europe until he walked through the door of No.10, he was beseiged by a raft of advisers and legal secretaries, it's they who are making policy or bending what they don't like to suit. Labour was less manipulated in dealing with this, it had a very clear vision of how to destroy the country and the Home office guru's didn't cut Tony Blair in the way they have David Cameron.

    However, who you vote for you'll get much the same, same old immigration, those with nowt who never worked getting everything, rewarding the bums and flogging those who work and contribute taxes, so for me nothing will change and this country will descend a few pegs lower each year until we rank with a 2.5 world country.

  4. #14
    Trusted Member rjt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Aldershot, United Kingdom
    Posts
    16,745

    Default

    Certainly I am in favour of fixed term parliaments and I think 4 years is probably about right rather than five any shorter and a government can claim they have no time to do anything, any longer and they run out of shelf life.

    However I feel as some others have expressed that a government should fall if like the Callaghan Government it loses a censure motion in the House, as Callghan himself said, we lost by one and one was enough. If the Lib Dems were to pull out of the coalition and combine with others to bring a Tory Minority Government down then a general election should gollow before five years are up unless a viable alternative government can command a clear majority.
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    Gen 1:1

  5. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    442

    Default

    RJT I agree that the ability to bring a government down and re-elect the legislature is a major safeguard and I am very glad it is still there. I can imagine a situation in a more democratic time, with more popular engagement in politics, when a government was able to explain its programme and seek an endorsement in under four years. But there you go.

    Longbow64: I am afraid I have to disagree. The Conservative Party has a very long history of talking about renegotiation in Europe, when they know (or certainly ought to) that the realitiy is that this is very difficult to bring about. They are the CONservatives. Renegotiation would involve the agreement of all other countries, many of whom do not really care if we stay in or not. Withdrawal would be by far the simplest solution (and yes, this is still a country where Civil Servants will take directions from elected representatives) but it is very difficult for the main parties to countenance. So the far more difficult route of renogotiation is always mooted. The reason that the main parties want us to stay in are historically complex. Suffice to say that it involves the need for British politicians to be leaders on the world stage, because it puts a buffer between them and the electorate and satisfies their respective anti-democratic impulses. Labour think they can get social protection and the Tories a single market easier than through an electoral mandate.

    You are probably right in that many civil servants probably have sympathies with the EU, with whom they probably have an affinity. But it is the main parties and their continued eletion by the electorate which keeps us in the EU, without doubt. Just as the Labour left were inexplicably surprised at the policies of Blair, so many on this forum will find your surprise at DC surprising. The Tories are playing exactly to form. It would have been nice had he kept his pledge on a referendum on Lisbon, but I very much doubt it would have led to withdrawal, or anything near. DC has always been open about supporting the EU and he could say (rightly in a way) that that fact alone gives him a mandate to stay in on whatever terms.

    I accept that finding an alternative is not easy, but until you have at least looked outside the main parties, you have not explored every option. There are people who favour leaving the EU in the main parties, but their success at even moderate renegotiation has to date been very limited.
    Tom Collier

  6. #16
    Trusted Member dloper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    feet on the ground
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    I'm not sure that 'democracy' as we know it is the best form of government. Any decision which is unpalateable, but necessary, has to be taken with a view as to how it will affect the governments chances of re-election. No government can look much further ahead than the date of the next election when creating policies, so long term strategies are sacrificed for short term popularity.

    The whole system seems to run on a black and white basis. If the government thinks something is a good idea, the opposition oppose it. I might even vote if I could see some level of consensus between the two sides. But arguing against something, just because you're on the opposite bench is so childishly dogmatic that I'm scunnered with the whole lot of them.
    Last edited by dloper; 21-04-2012 at 12:15 AM.
    How come aliens only abduct f*ckwits?

  7. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    442

    Default

    dloper: there is a hell of a lot of consensus these days; Europe, HR, tax, most elements of welfare, education and much else. How much do you want? I agree that the parties try to build up their differences eg on the current health reforms (which I could imagine Labour having brought in), but that is part of them trying to differentiate themselves.

    Regarding democracy and not looking further ahead, the question needs to be "looking at the long term from whose point of view?" Undemocratic governments tend to govern from the perspective of a minority and/or a faith in a political or religious theory. This alone makes them subject to the anger of unrepresented people. They might be able to think long term (sometimes) but are subject to instability below the surface, even when there is not actual rioting in the streets. Some people think that the party system should be got rid of or PR brought in. In any system though, I feel that the ability to sack and replace a government (or approve it) is a central part of democracy. The alternatives that I can imagine involve widening the separation between the political class and people, which is wide enough at the moment, thanks. Any ideas that you have though...
    Tom Collier

  8. #18
    Trusted Member dloper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    feet on the ground
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Collier View Post
    dloper: there is a hell of a lot of consensus these days; Europe, HR, tax, most elements of welfare, education and much else. How much do you want? I agree that the parties try to build up their differences eg on the current health reforms (which I could imagine Labour having brought in), but that is part of them trying to differentiate themselves.

    Regarding democracy and not looking further ahead, the question needs to be "looking at the long term from whose point of view?" Undemocratic governments tend to govern from the perspective of a minority and/or a faith in a political or religious theory. This alone makes them subject to the anger of unrepresented people. They might be able to think long term (sometimes) but are subject to instability below the surface, even when there is not actual rioting in the streets. Some people think that the party system should be got rid of or PR brought in. In any system though, I feel that the ability to sack and replace a government (or approve it) is a central part of democracy. The alternatives that I can imagine involve widening the separation between the political class and people, which is wide enough at the moment, thanks. Any ideas that you have though...
    I don't think democracy is working. Basically we get to vote in a government which then follows its own agenda, where their manifesto only represents a small portion of their intentions, and without any real acountability until the next election, when the process is repeated by whatever party wins. Labour? Blair completely misled parliament and the country, for his own reasons and of course Brown put an end to boom and bust. Conservative? Apparently if you're wealthy, you can buy the legislation you want. Lib Dem? Sold out on their pledges to students, for a small seat at the big table.

    Perhaps ministers ought to be barred from having businesss interests and barred from going into business after they are voted out and given a reasonable pension instead. It might cost a few millions but it might prevent the present situation, where they have an eye on possible future lucrative jobs in the industries they oversee.
    How come aliens only abduct f*ckwits?

  9. #19
    Trusted Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    7,123

    Default

    Not feasible - restraint of trade. What is wrong is politicians attempting to sell access to government or in anyway making money out of their connections. My view is we need much higher penalties as a deterent, eg 5 years in prison.

    On the other hand, if an ex politician wants to get a job stacking shelves at Tesco, I'm all for them doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dloper View Post
    Perhaps ministers ought to be barred from having businesss interests and barred from going into business after they are voted out and given a reasonable pension instead. It might cost a few millions but it might prevent the present situation, where they have an eye on possible future lucrative jobs in the industries they oversee.

  10. #20
    Trusted Member dloper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    feet on the ground
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CB100 View Post
    Not feasible - restraint of trade. What is wrong is politicians attempting to sell access to government or in anyway making money out of their connections. My view is we need much higher penalties as a deterent, eg 5 years in prison.

    On the other hand, if an ex politician wants to get a job stacking shelves at Tesco, I'm all for them doing it.
    Not feasible perhaps, if ministers are too young. However it might discourage the professional politicians we're breeding now from leaving Uni and going into politics without gaining life and work experience outside their own narrow horizons. If they knew ministerial power would be their last job, they might leave it until later in life.
    How come aliens only abduct f*ckwits?

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •