I love this!
You need to let this play out. I wager a large dram that a few months prior to the next election, we will look back and recognise a masterplan for ensuring;
1: Labour don’t relinquish power for a decade, or even two.
2: the voters are lapping it up and rushing to the ballot box with large blue pens.
Judging by the public flogging of a certain Ed Miliband today, I might ‘up’ that wager to a flagon.
As this is the nation that pioneered the aircraft carrier, it’s very fitting that we are showing the way with the aircraftless variation.
It’s a bit like industrialisation. We pioneered that, then showed the way to de-industrialise. Perhaps just as well we didn’t invent civilisation.
You’ll all be laughing on the other side of your faces when we’re invaded by an advanced, industrial nation with a working air force in 2019. Uh huh, because that’s highly possible.
I’m not sure how much the Conservatives can really expect people to hear “but it was Labour and we can’t do anything about it” and translate that into a wish to vote Conservative. That’s a None of the Above vote winner more than anything else.
They are locking themselves in to a fixed 5 year Parliament. [We, the voters, have no say on that one]. Hence, by 2015, the Tories and the Lib Dems will be judged solely on their record since 2010. “Labour caused it” will not cut any ice even if it is to a large extent, though not entirely, true.
BTW, I do not blame Labour for everything even if just now it is fashionable to do so.
We, the voters don’t have any say on the length of term of any parliament. unless there is some constitutional nicety that I’ve missed out on. I suppose we might have influenced a decision by those that did have the power – such as when Gordon Brown dithered over whether to call an early election or not.
Anyway, what we can safely rule out is what saved Thatcher. We won’t have the aircraft carrier to expel the Argentinians this time…
sorry … we as voters don’t get to work out when we want to vote out these slackjaws? when did democracy get abolished?
when the streets are full of missile throwing protesters and the factories are empty; when those who provide essential services are sick of being shat on and they have no police left to keep us in order, the government will collapse whatever date some public schoolboy has written in his diary.
@ Steve Jones – with respect, I think you missed my point which was that the coalition government has brought a Bill to Parliament which basically seeks to prevent any general election being held until 2015. They will thereby lock themselves into government. This is a major constitutional change and the people get no say in it whatsoever.
Of course, you are right that up to now the people have had no say in choosing the election date. It was the P.M.’s right to ask for a dissolution. The Bill limits the use of this powerful Prime Ministerial weapon.
It’s certainly correct that the fixed five year term wasn’t in any manifesto (and there’s no referendum). The bill doesn’t actually prevent any general election before 2015 – my understanding is that it increases the threshold required before one can be called. Quite how this would work in the event of a minority government that continued to lose votes of confidence, I’m not sure. It is theoretically within the power of the Queen to dissolve parliament, but just whether she (or rather her advisers) would ever do so in the face of a government that couldn’t command parliament, I don’t know.
Personally I find the ability of governments to call elections when it suits them to be an abuses of power. It’s surely perfectly possible to have a system whereby parliaments are only ever dissolved prematurely on the genuine loss of a vote of confidence, not at the whim of the prime minister.
Steve – the Fixed Term Parliament Bill states – Clause 3(2):-
“Parliament cannot otherwise be dissolved.”
In other words, even the Queen is prevented from dissolving Parliament except in the circumstances provided for in the Bill.
Personally, I dislike this Bill but it appears that many are in favour of it.
I decided to look up the explanatory notes on this, and it appears that an early election will be called if the Government loses a vote of no confidence
“Clause 2 also provides that, if the House of Commons passes a motion of no confidence in the Government, an election must be held unless within the period of 14 days the House passes a motion expressing confidence in a Government.”
So (the Speaker is to be responsible for determining this and, presumably, stopping obviously ridiculous things like a Government voting itself down in a motion of no confidence), the act is designed to tie the hands of Prime Ministers from calling an election at a time that suits him/herself. Personally I would favour four year terms, not five, but it would appear the mechanism exists for a thoroughly discredited government, which has lost the confidence of parliament, to be voted out of office.
as for @simplywondered, unless you mean the implied anarchism of mob rule bringing down a government directly, the voters have never had the power to throw one out before a general election has been called. Of course there have been examples where unpopular governments have lost majorities due to by-elections, or due to defections of disaffected MPs (although not in recent times), but that’s just the working of normal democracy. Margaret Thatcher was undermined by the Poll Tax issue, but I think the actual riots parts of it were not the key part. She was not, after all, brought down by the inner city riots. It is a feature of our democracy that, generally, publicly unpopular leaders do not tend to be retained by their parties for long.
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