Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Meltdown

by In Wales Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 01:52:45 PM EST

Right so, the UK Government is falling apart at astonishing speed.  Helen started to chart this in her recent diary but developments have been taking place at such a rate I feel that a round up is needed.


BBC NEWS | Politics | I won't walk away, insists Brown

Gordon Brown has unveiled a reshuffled cabinet and vowed to "fight on" with his "resilient" team to rescue the economy and clean up politics.


But as we all know, saying so isn't going to make it happen.


The list on BBC online has been changing as the day goes on and more resign.  Here we have it at 18.20GMT


BBC NEWS | Politics | I won't walk away, insists Brown

NEW JOBS:
Alan Johnson - Home secretary
Andy Burnham - Health
Yvette Cooper - Work and pensions
Bob Ainsworth - Defence
John Denham - Communities
Liam Byrne - Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Ben Bradshaw - Culture
Lord Adonis - Transport
Sir Alan Sugar - Enterprise tsar (non-Cabinet post)

QUITTING:
John Hutton
James Purnell
Jacqui Smith
Hazel Blears
Geoff Hoon
Caroline Flint

I will not waver or walk away, says Gordon Brown after election drubbing | Politics | guardian.co.uk

In other changes, Downing Street announced:

* Andy Burnham as the new health secretary.

* Peter Hain returns to government as Welsh secretary.

* Liam Byrne as chief secretary to the Treasury.

* John Denham will become communities secretary.

* Bob Ainsworth, the armed forces minister, will be promoted to defence secretary.

* Jack Straw will remain justice secretary.

* Balls will remain as children's secretary.

* Miliband will retain the job of foreign secretary.

* Hilary Benn will remain environment secretary.

* Jim Murphy will remain as Scottish secretary.

Word on facebook status updates tells me that Margaret Beckett, the housing Minister, has resigned too.  
In fact, this is all so significant and exciting that BBC online is running live updates of the affair.


BBC NEWS | Politics | LIVE: Brown fights for his future

Headlines: Alan Johnson is home secretary. Alistair Darling still chancellor. Andy Burnham is health secretary. Ben Bradshaw is culture secretary. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary John Hutton and Europe minister Caroline Flint quit. Projected general election vote share: Tories: 38%, Libs: 28%, Lab 23%

The Guardian also runs live blogging on the crisis, watching as Labour is slaughtered in the local council elections to the point of losing its last English council. Cue Conservative leader David Cameron looking very smug indeed.  We knew Labour would be punished, I don't know if we can really say this is a surprise.

Labour in crisis live - leadership and elections latest | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Labour in crisis live - leadership and elections latest

Andrew Sparrow follows all the latest developments on a day which could make or break Gordon Brown's leadership

The ongoing recent expenses scandal has affected all parties and is very much symptomatic of the British political system, not the sole fault of this Labour Government but Labour have had over 10 years to do something about it.  Labour have had over 10 years to do a lot of things that the Labour party should have done.  I'm sure that is very easy for me to say in hindsight, I'm sure in practice it wouldn't have been such an easy thing to do, and anything too 'radical' or left wing or smacking of socialism at the wrong time wouldn't have been well received and possibly we'd still be in this position now.

But nonetheless, here we are.  It has been the topic of conversation at every meeting I have attended, colleagues keep poking their head around the office door to tell me who has resigned now.

My attention was mostly taken up by an article in today's Guardian focusing on the Women MPs and their 'downfall' since they were first paraded about in 1997 as Blair's Babes:


Madeleine Bunting on why latest events in Westminster have been a disaster for women politicians | Politics | The Guardian

It's been a week in which women have dominated politics; their pictures have been on the front of every paper and TV bulletin. But no one is celebrating: this has been a terrible week for women in politics. Twelve years ago the Labour victory of 1997 brought a new generation of women into politics, and with it high hopes of a transformation of the macho political culture of Westminster. This week those hopes were finally crushed.

I find the article discusses something almost intangible that is all wrapped up in the still entrenched patriarchal power structures of society and politics.  Progress wasn't really in the numbers of women MPs but should have been in allowing those women MPs to create change, not just accepting their presence so long as they stuck to the norm and played the right game.


Madeleine Bunting on why latest events in Westminster have been a disaster for women politicians | Politics | The Guardian

In this game, women can never win. If they have a political agenda, they are interfering (Tessa Jowell was bashed for being a "nanny", Harman is now a busybody); if they have no political agenda, they are overpromoted. This stuff is savage and reveals the most unreconstructed and old-fashioned male anxieties about women and power. "There is no doubt the demands on women are more brutal," says Karen Buck, who also stepped down from a government post to return to the backbenches. "People are very quick to pounce on inadequacies and claim a woman can't hack it, and then there is the fixation on personal appearance. So it's not surprising that there is a higher rate of casualties, but it's not the end of the 1997 dream; it's just a setback."

Well, I find it deeply depressing that after 12 years of women making significant advances, we have reached this point of setback. Blair had eight women in his last cabinet, Brown will be lucky to manage a quarter of that by the time he has finished his reshuffle.

Labour is going down and frankly Labour deserves to go down.  I say that as a still loyal member of the Party.  I find it a bitter pill to swallow that the type of people who we need in politics and in the Labour Party are the same ones being forced out by a self-serving and self-replicating system.  If there ever was a case for a sea change in British politics, this is it.

Display:
Please feel free to add press clippings, opinions and observations as we crash and burn.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 01:53:30 PM EST
The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done.


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:14:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will not waver or walk away, says Gordon Brown after election drubbing | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Margaret Beckett, the housing minister, Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, John Hutton, the defence secretary, and Flint were the latest to quit the government.

In a furious letter to the prime minister, tendering her resignation, Flint accused Brown of operating a "two-tier government".

"Several of the women attending cabinet - myself included - have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing. I am not willing to attend cabinet in a peripheral capacity any longer," she wrote.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 01:59:17 PM EST
As incapable as Brown is, it increasingly annoys me that all the blame is put on him -- and not Bliar.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well theres a bit of both. Blair deserves a large share. but Brown could have made more changes after he took up the job, and didn't, staying in thrall to the Blairite policies.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the biggest mistake was his hesitation in (and ultimate failure to) calling a snap election in the autumn of 2007.

But it's fair, in a way, that he was ultimately brought down by his indecision.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
the biggest mistake was his hesitation in (and ultimate failure to) calling a snap election in the autumn of 2007.

what difference would it have made? it wouldn't have hammered the tories that much, and apart from a feelgood factor, pretty easily seen through by anyone with a clue, what would it have done to protect the UK from the rot in the financial system, or the worldwide credit crunch, or the placing too many eggs in the City's basket?

brown is perfect as hapless captain of a sinking ship.

all that's missing is a bottle of tanquerai.

if i see him saying one more time in the fruity voice how the banking system need to be more ethical, i'm going to scream!

duh, what was it all those years when you were chancellor of the exchequer? dumb, blind, crooked or incompetent? we get to choose...

course, when fury at tony had reached boiling point, he played the role of unflash harry, the calm, reasonable, wise one, uncle gordo, not too bright, but basically trustworthy, who was going to set us to rights.

can you laugh and hurl at the same time?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 08:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that Brown might have won then. Who knows what he would have actually done if he had had real electoral legitimacy?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 10:15:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't you believe brown was not an innocent bystander while the abuse preceding the credit crunch was occurring?

if he had had interesting policies, policies that really looked to the future, rather than merely pretending to, electoral legitimacy wouldn't have been so important. the policies would have made sense to more people, and would have started getting traction by now.

instead we got 'we didn't see it coming' (yeah right...)

instead we got selling us the idea of nuclear energy, and downplaying renewables, we got more coddling financial trickster-whizzkids in the city, we got more deaths in afghanistan, we got bleating platitudes, ossified ineffectiveness personified.

ok, he took the brits out of iraq, maybe he deserves more props for that.

with respect, your question itself is an excursion into pure tail-wag-the-dog territory!

this whole 'timing the elections' thing smacks of puerile politics, as if the energy-wave of novelty, (still intact public image as Great Leader!) was more important than the policies the man was promoting...

it's short term political maneuvering, as if divorced from reality.

people aren't nearly as stupid as the blairs and browns of this world think.

we knew iraq would be a clusterfuck, informed bloggers (such as yourself, one of the very best, imo) have been warning about the crunch for 5 years +, all that time wasted enriched his buddies in banking and multiplied the pain felt by the generations in hock his policies create.

i think a lot more of the public distrust brown than ever, whatever old labour cred he established has been long consumed by his naked hard-on for tony's power, the power he fretted and schemed on for years.

as for wearing that power, he's right of john major!

substituting pompousness for statesmanship, and hoping people won't know the difference. duh.

the little grey men rule england, but i think that era is about over.

once out of politics, i wouldn't be surprised if he reverted to a much more genial, positive side to his character.
 power, and his addiction to it, have simply brought out the worst in him. present circumstances would test any leader in his shoes, it's true, but i can't believe there aren't much more intelligent, and most importantly able people in labour's ranks.

as an man, there are a lot worse in politics, his predecessor for example, but as a prime minister, he's hopelessly out of his depth, and it shows.

a stooge for the banksters, inadequate for the role of leading the UK out of the most difficult period since ww2.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 05:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention that he could have made changes *before* Bliar left. What did he do for 10 years while Tony was selling out Britain to the Americans? At the very least he could have changed his own job description...

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 05:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was riding the bubble, running an irresponsibly pro-cyclical fiscal policy and pushing "Public-Private Partnerships" for funding public services which have left most local health an education authorities in a financial hole.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 05:21:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
given Brown's micro-managing tendencies, the truth is that nearly all of his Cabinet, female and male, are peripheral.

He is not a man to either seek or take advice.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Progress wasn't really in the numbers of women MPs but should have been in allowing those women MPs to create change, not just accepting their presence so long as they stuck to the norm and played the right game.

Bliar wanted fans, not able comrades.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:00:21 PM EST
Yes, exactly. Blair's babes always were window dressing, and a useful PR harem for His Holiness.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it rather ironic that people are moaning about a disaster for "women politics" (whatever that is?) in the land where the Iron Lady ruled with an iron fist...

The conclusion must be: if you want strong female politicians who are not windowdressing - vote conservative.

   

<hides>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is of course, bullshit!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hit a sore spot, did I? ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As sore a spot for UK people as for those in the US who lived through the BushII years.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite:



Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you look at who blair talked to, he didn't really talk to the males in Cabinet either. blair din't do Cabinet govt, he surrounded himself with a cabal of like-minded authoritarian appratchiks who sidestepped Cabinet, the Commons, the investigative committees to strongarm their way, their view.

One of the worst aspects of their informal sofa style govt is that there is no audit trail for decisions, nobody to blame, no tracking who said what when. nobody really knows why we went to war, cos nobody ever took minutes of meetings that were informal conversations in corridors. The UK was run like a cheap spiv's business operating from the back of a van.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there was something like that under Chirac too, with the "Juppettes" - a number of female ministers were promoted in good times, and dumped in bad times for "safer" men.

To their credit, the French socialists have been more consistent in giving senior roles to women - the Aubry-Royal duel makes this obvious today, but there have been a number of socialist female ministers that hve made their name on their competence and  did not owe their prominence to their gender, like Martine Aubry, Elisabeth Guigou, Marie-George Buffet (a communist), Catherine Trautmann or Marylise Lebranchu.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edith Cresson on the other hand...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 08:09:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
James Purnell quits cabinet and calls on Gordon Brown to stand aside now | Politics | The Guardian

James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, last night dealt a ­monumental blow to Gordon Brown's chances of ­holding onto office when he dramatically announced he was quitting the cabinet and asking Brown "to stand aside to give Labour a fighting chance of winning the next election".

His statement, in effect declaring Brown unelectable, will further weaken the prime minister's waning authority and takes the challenge to his leadership to a dangerous level.

Purnell is a Tory who never belonged in the Labour Party.  I'd be more than happy to say good riddance to him and his bloody welfare reform proposals.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:00:36 PM EST
Yes, seconded. There were too many tories who spotted phony tony as their second coming of the Thatch. If 'twere within my power a plague of boils would descend on the lot of them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:22:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News: Flint's 'window dressing' attack (5 June 2009)
I have the greatest respect for the women who have served as full members of Cabinet and for those who attend as and when required.

However, few are allowed into your inner circle.

Several of the women attending Cabinet - myself included - have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing.

I am not willing to attend Cabinet in a peripheral capacity any longer.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:01:03 PM EST
ceebs:
there are rumours running round media circles, that Darling was offered the Home Office, and said that the choice was leave him at Chancellor, or Sack him.  Things are very unstable, Brown would Ideally have left the reshuffle till Monday. after both sets of results. Now, having made changes, which would normally knock other news out of the papers, instead the last news in the open is going to be the disasterous upcoming Euro results.

Caroline Flints resignation, saying that Brown was just using her as Female window dressing  is I think particularly damaging, making it very hard for other Female MPs to take up posts, and disrupting Browns inclusiveness PR.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:01:19 PM EST
Bunting:
Well, I find it deeply depressing that after 12 years of women making significant advances, we have reached this point of setback. Blair had eight women in his last cabinet, Brown will be lucky to manage a quarter of that by the time he has finished his reshuffle.
Is this because Brown won't ask them to serve or because they will refuse?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:03:50 PM EST
Only backbenchers left?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is being asked to serve in a tokenistic 'on my terms only' basis any different from not being asked?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the way both Blair and Brown as PMs treat their ministers, don't men also get offered a cabinet post "on my terms only"?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jack Straw, Hoon, Blunkett, Mandelson, Brown. They were inner circle.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Mandelson should never have been brought back in the first place.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and how could I have forgotten the (politically) late Alastair Campbell.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:17:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | LIVE: Brown fights for his future
Headlines: Alan Johnson is home secretary. Alistair Darling still chancellor. Andy Burnham is health secretary. Ben Bradshaw is culture secretary. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary John Hutton and Europe minister Caroline Flint quit. Projected general election vote share: Tories: 38%, Libs: 28%, Lab 23%


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:05:17 PM EST
Plugging those figures into www.electoralcalculus.co.uk shows a Tory majority of about 60, and amongst others Alistair Darling losing his seat.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... I get 30 from Con:Lab:Lib of 38:23:28, and a majority of 10 with 2% tactical swings across the board.

Is it too late for Labor to hurry up quick get second preference voting put into place?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So there is a possibility of a hung parliament...

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:30:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... problem is it doesn't happen with just Labor tactical voting for Liberals, it requires Liberal tactical voting for Labor, which seems unlikely to be very strong.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, and a dose of celebrity politics with Sir/Lord Alan Sugar becoming the Enterprise Tsar.  No doubt it will help the ratings for this Sunday's final of The Apprentice.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:07:39 PM EST
That's one of the single most revolting moves on the list. Sugar is to real enterprise what Satan is to bowling.

It's not pure PR, it's pure bad PR.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour is going down and frankly Labour deserves to go down.  I say that as a still loyal member of the Party.  I find it a bitter pill to swallow that the type of people who we need in politics and in the Labour Party are the same ones being forced out by a self-serving and self-replicating system.  If there ever was a case for a sea change in British politics, this is it.

That we're watching in real time the unraveling of the Labour Party in Britain and the Republican Party in America warms my heart.

They deserve everything they get.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:19:17 PM EST
Well... the Tories are closer to the Repubs, unfortunately...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but you know I only have really one issue: Everybody who played a role in producing the Iraq War should be decimated, electorally, regardless of ideology.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Unraveling" had such a final ring in my ears.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:50:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the rate both are going, it's only a matter of time.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it would be the conservatives who replace Labour, correct?  I might be wrong - I have very little idea of what I am talking about.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:40:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

Projected general election vote share: Tories: 38%, Libs: 28%, Lab 23%


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I fail to see reason to be happy about this, Drew.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:12:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, okay, "happy" is not the word I'd use to describe my feelings on it, because I've made clear that I think Cameron is going to be a disaster -- but a disaster in a way that winds up somehow being popular in the Thatcher/Reagan tradition.

Nevertheless, the Labour Party has done this to itself.  There's no one else to blame, and its defeat will be richly deserved.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:32:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Labor party deserves to be bashed, for being too rightwing. Unfortunately, it is replace by an even mor erightwing party, so the result i not quite right, and the lesson that will be propagated by pundits is, of course, that Brown was not centrist enough, like Balir was.

Blergh.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That lesson has already been propagated in the debate over Brown's tax increase.  As TBG noted below, Brown has shown signs of almost figuring out how shit this whole New Labour thing has been.  And immediately following his tax announcement, a big chunk of the Labour Party came out on television to kneecap him and push the kind of supply-side dogma that doesn't even pass for serious discussion among the Tories (or at least didn't when David Davis pushed it).

The sad thing is that, had he realized it earlier (say, when he took over as PM), he'd probably be stomping Cameron by now.  Security is what people want in times of economic crisis like this, yet Britain is going to be taken over by...the Tories.

I agree with everybody else that it's disgraceful that Brown is going to be the one to pay for it all.  I've always had a soft spot for Brown, and I'm certainly less enthusiastic about the idea of him going than I am about the general idea of Labour being punished.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a big chunk of the Labour Party came out on television

What, I missed a protest by 100,000 Labour members?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
100k? In our dreams.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Labour not have somethinglike 160,000 members?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we are lucky...
Labour membership falls to historic low - Telegraph

The collapse in Labour's grassroots membership numbers has contributed to its precarious financial position, with the party still £18 million in debt despite slashing its staff and spending.

In an official submission to the Electoral Commission, Labour admitted that its membership at the end of 2007 was 176,891.

I expect we've lost a lot more in the last year.

I was probably thinking of Wales figures for membership which is in the tens of thousands range.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Lib Dems have about 60k members.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:32:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it meant that the party had not more members then to fill a large television-studio.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, bite me, DoDo. ;)  I meant among the Very Serious People who go on the teevee as speakers for the party.

If it were actual party members, they would've had to take chairs away....

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:44:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this mean we'll go back to the olden days of Gladstone vs. Disraeli, given that Britain doesn't use proportional representation?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No because while the tories are concentrated in the south, and Labour in the North (Plus Scotland and Wales) the Liberals are spread pretty evenly throughout the country. So Labour will still get far more seats than the liberals due to the first past the post system.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
due to the first past the post system.

In fact, in any system of proportional representation where constituencies elect fewer than maybe 12 seats each.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And which does not use adjustment seats to even out the total representation.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That or any of a number of Additional Member Systems.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone, preferably someone who is familiar with both the American and British political systems, explain this to me?  

What is the cause of the meltdown?  Pretend you are talking to an alien.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:36:58 PM EST
It's really a direct mapping. You have a President and Secretaries, compared with a Prime Minister and a Cabinet. The seats in the 'cabinet' are more or less the same in the key posts in both systems (Defence, Treasury, Foreign etc). So what we are talking about is if Obama faced several resignations among his Secretaries, especially women (or other 'minority') at the same time as he faced huge losses in state elections and governorships. Add into this the equally bicameral Congress or Parliament in which both houses of each are increasingly discredited as being on the take, and doom is upon you.

Even the media play quite a similar role in providing a context for politics.  Almost all hierarchical systems have the same weaknesses. But in good times they look like the bee's knees.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except Congress can't topple a President...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:51:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they can, technically.  It's just never been done before.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not by a simple majority vote of no confidence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting rid of a PM is not that easy either ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One day impeachement will be used for that purpose...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 08:12:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Obama's cabinet began resigning, well, first off, that would be weird.  People don't really do that en masse unless the President is under criminal investigation that would implicate them.  But even so, he would still keep his job, at least until the next scheduled election.  Unless he has to resign because he has done something criminal.  

Britain can oust a PM whenever they decide it is feasible, correct?  And they have a system in which the party of the PM is determined by the party in power in parliament, correct?  Really quite fundamentally different than the American system.

What has Brown done to spur these resignations?  It seems to me that it is one thing to resign from a cabinet post (which in America is an unusual and personal thing) and another for a party to collapse.   Are the cabinet ministers just fickle?  Does the PM not really carry significant power?  What is the connection between the cabinet resignations and the party collapse?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:03:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh dear ..... you wanted the long answer..... ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:05:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're calling me upstairs for a G+T. It's Friday.  There really is no choice.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This diary of mine may give you a bit more background on the British political system:
European Tribune - The UK political system
I've adapted a recent essay to give a bit of an overview of the UK's political structures and a look at the checks and balances on the power of government.  

The PM must be the leader of the Party that holds the majority of seats in Parliament.  The PM can resign the post, lose the post by losing their seat or by the party no longer holding a majority or by being ousted, no-confidenced or forced to resign by the party.

It isn't unusual especially of late for MPs to backstab within their own party and to publicly express disagreement with the Party line on a Bill for example or in situations like this to point the blame and say that the PM goes or I will because I'm just too disgusted with this to stay....  Overwhelming public opinion against Gordon Brown is influential in MPs resigning and speaking out against him - perhaps in the vain hope that the electorate will remember that and they won't lose their seats in the next election.

The PMs power is reliant upon keeping key MPs and cabinet members by their side.  Gordon Brown hasn't done a great job of that.  That is partly due to him and partly due to panic in the ranks as MPs can see the Party going down the pan, and blame must be put at somebody's door.  When half of the cabinet resigns, the Party loses credibility, the power of the PM is reduced, and the constant negative press hugely damages the reputation of the Party.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PM must be the leader of the Party that holds the majority of seats in Parliament.  The PM can resign the post, lose the post by losing their seat or by the party no longer holding a majority or by being ousted, no-confidenced or forced to resign by the party.

Alright - I think I knew this.  Perhaps I'm more ignorant of the political culture than the political system.  I've always considered the conventional wisdom to be that, of course there are disagreements, in-fighting, and power struggles with in the ranks and factions of all parties.  But everyone recognizes that there is power in numbers, so you do these things in private, and put on a show of unity to the people and the media.  Most people don't find that the rewards of losing or quitting their poltical position outweigh those of remaining in power in less than ideal circumstances.  And when party in-fighting becomes so serious and pervasive that it can no longer be glossed over, it is usually a sign of some fundamental, irreconcilable policy disagreements.  It's symptom of a public re-assessing its values.  

It's difficult for me to understand why a party would choose to cede power because of its disdain for one individual.  That's basically implying that your values, the issues you run on, are less important to you than the style or incompetence of one individual.  Am I mistaken, or does it seem to anyone else that Labour has decided it is better to have Tories running the place than Brown?  That's how the picture looks to me.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But everyone recognizes that there is power in numbers, so you do these things in private, and put on a show of unity to the people and the media.

That worked for almost 12 years.

Until the party was good in the polls.

It's difficult for me to understand why a party would choose to cede power

That os not a necessary consequence. The default wqould be a replacement of the PM, with the new PM forming a new government from the same party.

But, if not, those who jumped ship can hope to not go under with the election loss, and return to the helm in opposition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:26:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, let's see if I understand.

The Labour Party is trying to force Brown to resign, and they will fill his seat with a more likable person?  Aren't all Labour candidates tainted by this?  If your party is in such a bad condition that the leader of your country must resign, I mean, isn't there political fallout from that?  Is this normal?  It wasn't on my radar because this simply is not an option where I am from.  

How much of the meltdown is the fault of Labour and how much the fault of Brown?  Would simply replacing him with another Labour person make a big difference in the party's viability?  Could it prevent the conservatives from taking over?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:36:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't all Labour candidates tainted by this?

Agreed. But we see that from the outside. Those too close to the power centre is another thing -- especially the Bliarites.

If your party is in such a bad condition that the leader of your country must resign, I mean, isn't there political fallout from that?

In theory, one can hope for that to pass, and making a turnaround in the months left until the next elections have to be called. (In practice, it did happen just at the last elections here in Hungary: the year before, the then PM was toppled.)

How much of the meltdown is the fault of Labour and how much the fault of Brown?

Well, the meltdown is a wave of resignations, an internal affair. As for whether Brown can take the blame for the triggers of the meltdown... I doubt it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PM must be the leader of the Party that holds the majority of seats in Parliament.

Well thats only mostly true. If brown quits, then its up to the replacement to convince the queen that he can form a government, and has enough support in the sitting MPs if not, then a new election is called.

This would however be a massive constitutional crisis. Which is one thing that Brown can threaten to keep the party in line.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If brown quits, then its up to the replacement to convince the queen that he can form a government

The... Queen?  Whoa there.  I thought she was basically a figure head.  But there are times when she can effectively decide which party should be in power?  Sven, take all your comparisons and go home.

This is wild!  I think I was trying to understand a situation I now see I will never really be able to comprehend.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the emphasis is on "convince the queen that he can form a government". If the guy doesn't have a majority anyway...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the Queen got to do with it though?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is to do with history.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not quite.  She can't decide which Party should be in power but she officially approves the Office of the Prime Minister.  Chops his head off with a sword or something.  Technically, the Queen could intervene and say no to the Party's choice of PM but her role is largely symbolic in officially agreeing whatever is recommended to her.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:49:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well if there's not a majority, She can invite anyone in theory, but in practice it would be the person who had managed to put the coalition that was in the majority. Minority governments have been invited before though. And in crisis, governments of national unity.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minority Govts? I didn't know that.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:20:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd need a hung parliament.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When was the last minority government in the UK? Maybe the Liberals? If so, interesting that Canada and New Zealand kept that 'tradition' much fresher.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there was some in the 30'ies.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was in the 30's, although in the 1970's we had Edward Heath refusing to resign, while in a minority and attempting to form a new government.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When was the last minority government in the UK? Maybe the Liberals? If so, interesting that Canada and New Zealand kept that 'tradition' much fresher.

Yeah, but New Zealand has proportional representation, while Canada has parties with strong regional bases, producing a multi-party system despite their unfair electoral system.

by IdiotSavant on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 08:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, the willingness of other parties to tolerate the minority government is what is necessary for the constellation to emerge -- and, AFAIK, most cases can be found in Commonwealth states.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 05:03:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically, the Queen could intervene and say no to the Party's choice of PM

...but no UK monarch has done that since 1834, and then it was the disaster which reinforced the rule.

but her role is largely symbolic in officially agreeing whatever is recommended to her.

And otherwise, Parliament cuts off her head.  Or her sock budget.  One or the other.

(In NZ, we have a Governor-General, who knows his place: he is there to make whoever has a majority PM, and sign whatever the elected Parliament puts in front of him.  Successive G-Gs have done this dutifully and without any hint of interfering or imposing their own views.  Unlike Australia)

by IdiotSavant on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 08:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
she's formally the Head of State (ie, for some, mostly representative, functions, the same as our and your president).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:59:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, figurehead Presidents in othewr European countries have the same powers regarding a replacement PM.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Queen has a ceremonial role here, not unlike the guy that the new US president swears the oath too.

In practice you need a parliamentary majority.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not comparable, because, when asked what it would take for Obama to become President, people do not bring up the bit about being sworn in.  It's nothing to do with the selection process.  They can't refuse to swear him in.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the fail him on the oath then? Repeatedly?

"What are you saying? I can't hear you? Come again?"

Yes, that would be absurd. Like the Queen refusing to appoint a PM that has support in the parliament. The power lies, it is just a ceremony.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:51:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meant to write "the power lies elsewhere" but that was not to bad either.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then why bring it up?  It obviously carries some significance.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't the swear-in ceremony?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's like filling out your W-2 (income tax) forms when you get a new job.  It is required, but by then, you already have the job.  So I really fail to see the comparison.  

What is important about the Oath, is that you can't be held responsible for anything before it.  You're basically saying, Ok, from ... right...  NOW, I am officially in charge.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:23:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... phase in the life of a parliament, "XYZ is invited to form a government".

There was a time in the transition from the monarch as a real executive to the monarch as a figurehead of state when the monarch was more active in trying to get support for the fellow they wanted, but its long past.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:51:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But not formally past, right?

If a royal were to be extremely popular and extremely ambitious...

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 05:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like Simeon of Bulgaria?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still not. They'd be able to remain behind the scenes after a coup. (Supposedly something like this almost happened in the UK with the Wilson Plot - which was an interesting example of how democracy really works in the UK.)

But an explicit return to monarchy via democratic elections would just confuse people.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the existing government was extremely unpopular and the other party likely to win the next election, the monarchy ... or its representative ... might dismiss a government without a vote of no confidence. The Governor-General of Australia did just that, at what is widely believed in lefty circles in Australia to be at the urging of Washington via the CIA, in the 1970's.

This, of course, made it a much greater likelihood that Australia will become a Republic if Charles succeeds Queen Elizabeth to the thrown. Their problem is finding a way to pick a President who would have even less power than the Governor-General, which is a tricky thing, but if the current monarch is sufficiently unpopular, they'll work something out.

Not as long as QEII is on the throne, of course, since she's a good sheila and not at all stuck up.

So the question would be, ambitious for what? Ambitious for power in the short term and the long term abolition of the monarchy in their country?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 12:08:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you'd have to count on the party in power never getting it back again, or there might be a bit of a republican backlash.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:22:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you can't count on that, as long as elections are allowed to continue.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:44:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the question would be, ambitious for what? Ambitious for power in the short term and the long term abolition of the monarchy in their country?
Ambitious for a less ceremonial role, to begin with. Think along the lines of Augustus, not Caesar. I'm French, so I view monarchies with extreme suspicion anyway, but still. The essential characteristic of unwritten rules of conduct is that they are adaptable to changing circumstances in ways that are not easy to identify right away.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 09:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its not so much the unwritten rules of conduct as the realities of power ... written or unwritten, under constitutional arrangements that retain a monarch as a head of state when power is located in a parliament, in a showdown, the power would normally prevail over the figurehead.

When social institutions are breaking down, as in the Roman Republic under the weight of Imperial possessions, or in Japan as the extensive development of the urban economies under the Shogunate undermined the foundations of feudal Japan ... well, then people will push for revisions of the rules.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 10:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you're invoking the realities of power, then you must also accept popularity as a significant factor. In a showdown between the parliament and the monarch, if public opinion lies with the monarch and the monarch is also willing to use old dormant powers, would parliament still win?

For definiteness, imagine Charles had the charisma of Diana and intelligence to match, and that he was willing to lead on environmental causes with the full powers of the monarchy. Such a king could carve out a real (ie non-ceremonial) role in politics in a relatively short time, and a new concensus on the acceptability of (perhaps limited at first) political interference by the monarchy. It would require no new laws to make that change, just shift the unwritten rules of conduct. Would you agree, or does this sound too crazy?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:28:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they were not so inbred, perhaps it would occur :)

They have a position of visibility, and if a monarch were to seize some power they could argue that it was not a formal change. Just like Bush argued that enemy combatants were not covered by conventions. But since all their lines of command would go through positions appointed by parliament or an executive appointed by parliament, chances are that they would quickly face a reaction.

Last time a swedish monarch tried anything was during world war one. Parliament quickly obstructed and teh king was forced to back down.

One might note that the risk/benefit analysis for a king to interfere is not very positive. On the risk side is abolishment of monarchy - thus of cushy very well-paid position - and going down in history as the one that failed. On the benefit side is getting real power, but unless the king actually has an agenda that might turn out to just be a lot of work.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 03:19:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When one parliament is unpopular, you get to vote for a new one. People will stop comparing the monarch to the previous unpopular parliament, and start comparing the monarch to the popular parliament that they will elect.

And, after all, its not like they have to reason this out from scratch ... this is social evolution at work. Those monarchies that survive are those that have learned the lesson that they get to survive as long as they stay above the fray.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 10:39:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a parliamentary system the figurehead head of state proposes PM candidates for ratification by the parliament, and dissolves the parliament calling a new election if no government can be formed.

In practice, the head of state always nominates the known leader of a party or coalition having a majority of the seats or a plurality plus the acquiescence of a majority.

Like ceebs says, it's like how the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS administers the oath of office to the new president...

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean, he would threeaten to go suicidal and have the MPs supporting him prevent any PM candidate?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well in the current climate, he could go to the queen and say, I can no longer govern, then an election would be called, and four weeks down the road, a lot of people from his party would become ex-MPs

The threat of suddenly having to look for a real job is something that will keep some in line.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But there are a lot of Labour MEPs who think they can get reelected more easily if they oust Brown first so someone else leads the party to defeat in the next general election.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always enjoyed constitutional crises, they're like exciting football games for us in the chattering classes, far more exciting really as the stakes are actually worth something.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cause? The expenses scandal, boosted by massive losses in local elections, triggering the survival instincts of underlings to jump ship.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't get the expenses scandal.  I'm dumb founded by it frankly.  You're one of the most powerful countries on earth, and you're willing to scrap your entire government because your leaders and writing off home improvements?  Either I am an incredibly cynical American (uhm, don't all politicians do this?) and the Brits have intriguingly high standards (so weird, though, for such a class obsessed country, and one with a Monarch, to be indignant about the sense of entitlement among those in power), or there is something more going on here.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:10:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is symbolic of the "haves and have mores" making out like bandits when the rest of the country is suffering from the downturn. It pisses people off, and they can do somethign about it in this case (vote them out), especially when whipped up by a not-disinterested press (the scandal has been drip-fed on a daily basis for 3+ weeks now by one paper, who got access to all expense data, and target a couple MPs per day on its front page - and this is seen as a distraction from other bigger stories on finance and Anglo Disease by some observers)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think of it like the US president, half the US senate and uncountable congressmen getting caught with their pants down at a gay orgie.

Everybody knows they does it, but it would be a huge scandal anyway :P

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe Obama & half the Senate are having gay orgies.  I do believe they are all taking advantage of the financial perks of their positions.  But it is precisely because everyone is doing it that prevents everyone from individual guilt.  If it were one person, one could be outraged, suspend disbelief that such acts are pervasive (see: Rod Blagojevich).  But to go after a 2 of the 3 branches of government for it?   You are simply making their defense for them: it is just the way things are done.  Not to mention that we need people running those two branches of government.  Moral outrage can't govern a nation.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
Moral outrage can't govern a nation.

Sometimes it can.  This Government has bizarrely on some issues totally ignored public opinion but on many others been swayed by public opinion in ridiculous ways.  I really don't understand the choices that have been made.  

In this case, public outrage is leading to reform of our political system, it has put this firmly on the agenda and a key issue.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well the argument is that theres about 50 seats in the middle of england, and they decide any election. unfortunately, these seats have a high Daily Mail readership, so policies are decided by what will play well with these voters, and if public opinion will play well with this small group, then decisions can be made.

However this one has enraged people everywhere, including these constituencies.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:46:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant literally.  If you fire or force everyone to quit, who is steering the ship?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A care-taker government. And then you have snap elections.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well the civil service keeps running, and the current prime-minister and ministers make any decisions necessary till the point of the next election

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moral outrage or the potential for it is a, nay, the most important thing in controlling the elites.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:23:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I don't believe Obama & half the Senate are having gay orgies.

Americans are such idealists!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL.  I hope if Obama is having orgies, they are not gay.  I don't have anything against gays, but it would be nice if they left some of the good men for the ladies, that's all.  :)


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What, nobody told you about the orgies?! :P

Sillyness aside, my point is that what constitutes a scandal differs from country to country. US politicians are not supposed to have extra-marital affairs, especially not of the non-heterosexual kind. From my cultural setting this is absurd, swedish politicians has affairs and divorce and remarry and such without it hardly getting headlines.

And precisely because of the undemocratic brittish party system, there is not a pressure on them to line their pockets for the next election in the same way as in the US. So when they are found with their hands deep down in the cookie-yar, in the middle of a financial crises, then this is the result.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly the people jumping ship seem to be part of the Phony Tony Faction, which is quite happy to stab Brown given any chance.

The other issue is people are resigning is hopes of forcing Brown out and getting a leadership election, which, for some reason, many think will help Labour -- it won't, of course -- by putting someone new in who can salvage a few seats and perhaps lead the party back at the next election.

Brown is fucked.  If, ten years from now, Labour is even looking sustainable as the main opposition party, then whomever leads them to that point should be considered a political genius.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well  the Labour party (nominally the more left wing of the British parties< sort of like the Democrats are in the U.S.) has several internal factions. The Brown faction is slightly to the left of the old Blair faction.  the two factions are the largest two in the party, and for the 1997 election they joined together in a show of unity to ensure the public saw them as electable. There was anagreement that at some point Blair would retire and hand over to Brown. In Browns factions view this hand-over happened about five years after it had been supposedly agreed. Four of those five years were spent in Internal party warfare, the two sides leaking information and spinning the outcome to the newspapers. The atmosphere was heavily poisoned between the two factions.

When Blair finally retired, Brown got the post, but the Blair faction has never supported him as fully as he fealt he deserved. the poison has increased.

In the last year a Journalist made a request under the freedom of information act for a copy of MPs expenses, the courts agreed, and Parliament agreed that they would hand them over in six months after removing some personally identifiable information. It was thought that this period would be used to remove some of the more embarassing details. then there were rumours that someone was hawking a copy of the unedited files around the newspapers. The paper that finally brought the disk started drip-feeding the data out. first picking on the home secretary, and some porn films here husband had ordered on his sattelite TV, that had appeared on the reciept and been claimed for. from then on there has been daily drips of details of MP's expenses, several of whom have come out looking as money grasping. People are especially annoyed, as it appears that while MPs were keeping their pay rises down and using this as justification of "we're all in this together" to keep government worker pay rises down, it turns out they were taking huge expense increases instead. (There are numerous reasons being touted about as to why this particular paper has done this, from the buisneslike increased circulation, to the more conspiracy minded but absolutely unsubstantiated one that the owners think that neither part is anti-europe enough, and so is trying to drive up the UKIP vote)

During this whole period, Brown has ended up looking spectacularly inefectual, and just not leadership material.  In any other party there would be a short sharp leadership election, and Brown would either be reinforced or out on his ear. but the constitution prevents this, needing membership votes, spread over 40 days. If the rest of the cabinet jumps ship, he'd end up having to resign, if enough MPs do the same situation occurrs, both would end up with a general election.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, there's the "something more going on" I was looking for.

I'm still not sold on the expense accounts things.  


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is changing the face of British politics. It is about the only thing in a long time that has engaged the ordinary public in political debate.  People have not stopped talking about it.  the outrage at their tax money being spent on MPs 'luxuries' seems to know no bounds.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's happening now is almost an exact replay of the end of the Tory years with Major. The Tories also went down in a flurry of carefully timed sleaze, and Major never quite had the charisma that Thatcher did.

By this time Blair had done his deal with the City and with Murdoch, and was already a useful stooge. He was allowed to win and allowed to spend money, providing he didn't do anything out of line - such as trying to increase regulation or raise taxes.

It's just not credible that he would have had no say on financial policy, and that it was left entirely to Gordo, the BoA, the FSA and the rest. And the lasting legacy of the Blair/Broon years is the way they perpetuated and didn't try to limit the freebooting market thuggery which was started with Thatcher's Big Bang.

Gordo's instincts have always been slightly to the left of Blair's, and in spite of more than ten years of indoctrination he's been showing worrying signs of breaking free and allowing some of the old Labour class consciousness to resurface.

It's interesting that the expenses scandal surfaced in time for these elections, but also - coincidentally - almost immediately after the first serious tax increase for the rich for a very long time indeed.

So we have the party imploding because of in-fighting, and the Blairites are presumably hoping they can replace Gordo with one of their own soon.

But this was triggered by some very handily placed and timely external pressures which will guarantee that tax increases and regulation - for the rich - are less likely than they would have been under Gordo's hypothetical second term.

Is this too paranoid? The Barclay Brothers, who own the Torygraph, are known for their Euro-Skeptic UKIP sympathies. But they'll put up with Cameron if they have to, as long as it means a move to the right, and a move away from Europe.

Meanwhile the Faily Wail, which has been banging the expenses drum almost as hard as the Torgraph, is owned by an n-th generation petty lordling who isn't known for his euro-socialist sympathies.

The truth is that if you can run a dirt-dishing media campaign of this sort, you can herd voters around like farm animals.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paranoid?  It's the most rational explanation I have heard.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:18:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Meanwhile the Faily Wail, which has been banging the expenses drum almost as hard as the Torgraph, is owned by an n-th generation petty lordling who isn't known for his euro-socialist sympathies.

This dosen't stop him claiming to live in France for (UK)tax purposes.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This comment is good for a diary...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to the more conspiracy minded but absolutely unsubstantiated one

LOL...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are you fine lefty Brits in agreement that this deserved to happen to Labour (as opposed to say, an individual, or a faction)?  Do you think life under a more conservative, free-market administration will be an improvement over Brown?  Or are you just overcome with a sense of inevitability, fall out from Blair?  

Usually, when one finds one's party in shambles and in need of serious reform, one runs reform candidates, or fresh new faces, tries harder.  You re-create a party from the inside, preferably.  The Democratic party had disappointed and embarrassed me from the moment I cast my first vote.  It never made me think the Republicans should be in power.  But maybe that is just me?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:27:09 PM EST
I'm not a Brit, but have my views on this: with a series of internal rule changes from when he gained party leadership in opposition (when his fangs weren't yet obvious), Bliar re-made the party into something very top-down. Candidates were vetted from above. A re-start as you describe it was made practically impossible. However, it may become impossible once the Bliarite and Brownite top dogs self-destruct.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:33:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, is Britain a democracy or what?  This system sounds very authoritarian to me.  :)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Structures within the Parties vary, and these will differ from the structure of the political system ie Parliament.  British politics is democratic but inside the party system it can be a whole different picture.

You vote for your Presidential candidates in the US in a way we don't do here - we (party members) vote for our candidates to stand as MPs and Assembly Members but we don't vote for who should be Prime Minister or Leader of the Party.  

Local councillors are selected by panels of party officers at constituency level.

I understand the Presidential candidate voting within US parties but do members vote for senator candidates too or are they selected?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we (party members) vote for our candidates to stand as MPs

I haven't found this specific finished regulation with a quick search, but here it is at proposal stage:

`Reselect all Labour MPs' - News - The Independent

Monday, 16 November 1998

ONE OF Tony Blair's most trusted party modernisers last night heightened the row over Labour's "control freakery" with a call for all sitting MPs to be vetted by re-selection panels.

Fraser Kemp, the party's former general election co-ordinator, said even cabinet ministers should be subject to Millbank approval.

Mr Kemp, MP for Houghton and Washington East, said the system would root out members who attacked the Government "every five minutes".

The suggestion, backed by senior officials, is likely to be seen as a "softening-up exercise" ahead of a move to introduce the change at the next party conference. MPs would be interviewed by an NEC panel similar to those set up to vet candidates for councils, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London mayoralty.

Critics say the system has been used to block left-wing candidates in Scotland and Wales and will be used to halt Ken Livingstone in London.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was the 2005 elections when they ratcheted this up one more.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you are right.  Vetting panels select the MP candidates.  This is (one of many reasons) why I would never bother standing since I know I'd not get through the vetting or be put in a winnable seat.

One member, one vote is for Assembly Member candidates from the shortlist (branches nominate candidates to the shortlist).  MEPs are selected by vetting panels.  Then the constituency meetings are asked to approve this.

Would anyone like a diary on the AM selection process we've been going through here?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I may be mistaken, but haven't you diaried just that about a year ago?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:12:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A year ago would have been the local council elections, the AM selection process is new to all of us and we are still part way through.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm... I am not at all certain, but I think it was a different story from your two battling councillors. Or maybe it was a long comment... Anyway, if I can't find it and you don't remember anything like it, and especially if its practice is new stuff for you, of course write about it!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:21:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by members?

Anyone who meets some basic criteria, which varies from position to position, but basically boils down to proof of citizenship and lack of seriously criminal record, can run for office in America.  Parties don't decide who can run.  They are free to choose which campaigns to aid.  That's about it.  Of course, party backing is very helpful.  But I know people who run as democrats but refuse money from party organizations.

Most elections are like the Presidential election.  First, you have to collect a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot.  Those signatures have to be from people who live in the place you are running to represent.  Then you get on a Primary ballot, and voters go to the polls and vote for a nominee.  Any who is registered to vote can vote in the Primary, but in most cases, you can only vote in the Primary of one Party (so you can't choose who will represent your opposition.)  After the Primary elections are held and the nominations are official, the nominees run in a general election.  This is the case for almost all elections, at all levels of government.  But it varies from state to state.  Some states or offices have non-partisan elections, which means you run on your credentials, etc. and not party affiliation.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean party members - people who join the party and pay their subs.  If people want to stand on behalf of party they must be members and must be selected by the party to be an official candidate, through whichever mechanism depending on the process for that political office.

Recently with our local council elections two people in my branch wanted to stand as councillor (they got on the on the shortlist following vetting).  The branch interviewed both (and could have interviewed others on the shortlist who lived outside the boundaries of our ward but chose not to.)  We chose one and the other kicked off a huge fuss over it and then stood as a candidate anyway. He was expelled from the party for doing that, and stood as an Independent which required no vetting (and lost).

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my demented American head this is profoundly undemocratic.  In fact, I'm as certain as McFaul is about Russia not being a democracy that Britain is not a democracy.

Signed,
Arrogant American who goes around expecting everyone to conform to my obviously superior political system, while still able to acknowledge your superior healthcare system.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:29:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah well in our demented UK heads, we see you as being stuck in your 4 year cycles, having no democratic way to have a new election, if you need one now.

And what about that win an election in November, presidents don't change till January. The people have spoken, and you've been kicked to the kerb. How democratic is that that you get to hang on for three more months? ;)

Swings and roundabouts. ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what about that win an election in November, presidents don't change till January

True, but our country and bureaucracy are five times the size of yours, and it takes a while to find enough qualified tax-cheats to fill the vacancies. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That too.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
several hours later, im still shocked that the bastion of capitalism has a shortage of tax cheats ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 08:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bastion of capitalism?  Wasn't one of the big European papers going on about us becoming commies the other day?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 09:58:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I don't know - something to do with time to put together a cabinet, agenda, arrange for the move, enroll your kids in their new school, celebrate the holidays.

Russia has a lag time too.  Must be a fascist thing...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well you know you'd have thought that an agenda would have been arranged ahead of time.....

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think so.  Unless you mean agenda like, "I am pro-healtchare."  Yes, those things are laid out ahead of an election.  By agenda, I mean, figuring out everything that needs to be done, making a strategy for implementing it, and creating a timetable.  And a more or less daily schedule for your first 100 days.  It's a very good time to put together your team, and then together with your team, make all the decisions you can before your are thrust into the job and have reality and the media distracting you every waking moment of your day.  

Preparation is a huge part of any task.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:35:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how does just about every other democracy manage?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:39:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was unaware until now it was rare.  The only two countries I really pay close attention to both do it.  

Is every other democracy managing?  Screw that, there are no democracies.  Is Britain managing?  Not according to this diary.  Are presidents of all other countries faced with the same tasks that the president of America is?  I don't think so.  We're a big country, and we have big plans.  :)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus you have Monarchs for continuity.  We have to transition.  It's like, you are in a marriage for life, but replace your lovers.  We go through a divorce and re-marriage every 4-8 years.  We want to make it as painless as possible.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus you have Monarchs for continuity.

True, but we do have David Broder, and between our two countries, I think the Brits clearly got the better deal.  And at least she comes with the entertaining husband.

We go through a divorce and re-marriage every 4-8 years.  We want to make it as painless as possible.

Yes.  We hated the last ex so much that, seven years after 9/11, we said, "Hey, you know what would be good?  A black guy with a Muslim name."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Party officials start working on all that stuff in advance. Runs the risk of actual plans being discussed in the elections though.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you were a "Real DemocracyTM" you'd have thought that would be a necessity.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the party sets the agenda for the President in the US.  I think it is the other way around.  So it would be not only risky, but impractical.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:54:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people has spoken and the electors been elected. They still need to ride to Washington and there elect a president. Takes time, you know.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:45:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think of how the US parties functioned before open primaries became standard. And then think of how they functioned before primaries became standard. At what point did the US become democratic?

Imo, this does not make Britain undemocratic, it makes the brittish parties undemocratic.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure open primaries are standard, or necessary for democracy.

I don't know when Americans first began voting for elected officials.  Near the begining, I presume.  That is, the country was founded as a democracy.  In practice, the fabric of our democracy is like a bikini.  Pretty flimsy, but it covers the main things.

Mind you, we still have the electoral college in the case of the Presidential elections.

I believe everyone else is nominated and elected by popular vote.  Although god knows what they do in Iowa.  They probably read tea leaves or something to pick candidates.

I'm not convinced the US is democratic.  I am, however, eternally thankful we won the revolution.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you hadn't, you'd be Canada.

And wouldn't that be a bad thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can beat me over the head if you want, poemless, but we have had the exact same discussion about primaries and party candidate selection and only paying members being able to vote in primaris, and so on... years ago.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have a strong opinion on whether open primaries or closed primaries are superior, although I obviously like having the ability to choose candidates from the parties if I have a strong opinion.

On the one hand, it's fair that people who care enough about the party and its politics to join and pay for it might say they should be able to decide.  On the other hand, I kinda like this whole...uh..."winning" thing (this is word, yes? ;) we've been trying out for the last couple of years, and so letting the indies and Reps who are leaning our way have a say in it isn't such a bad idea for the party.  And they like having a say in it, because our primaries are exciting, while the other party's primaries -- let's be honest -- blow.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone can run in an election in the UK (barring they meet some criterias).

Just like anyone can run as third party candidate in a US presidential race. That just won't win, that's all.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:25:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't there an independent MP from Wales?

BTW, askod, you can keep your sig...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Peter Law - Wikipedia
Peter John Law (1 April 1948 - 25 April 2006) was a Welsh politician.

Law left the Labour Party in protest at the use of an all-woman shortlist in selecting the candidate for the general election, which was used to replace the retiring Llew Smith. Law believed all-woman shortlists were being selectively imposed on local parties only where a leadership supported male candidate was unlikely to be selected, citing the example of Ed Balls and Pat McFadden as new leadership-supported male candidates, and noting that use of all-woman shortlists had been stopped in Scotland.

Smith had enjoyed a majority of 19,313, making it the safest parliamentary seat in Wales. Law won the seat with 58.2% of the vote, defeating Labour candidate Maggie Jones, and gaining a majority of 9,121 votes.

Though the point is: independents are rather the exception.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And there's always the elected mayor H'Angus (A former football mascot (an utterly bizzare and silly story)) who has just been re-elected for a second time yesterday.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:37:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H'Angus - Wikipedia
H'An
, Stuart Drummond - Wikipedia

ROTFLMAO!....

Only in Am... Britain...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and where the name comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_hanger

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In 2002, Stuart Drummond campaigned for the office of Mayor of Hartlepool in the costume of the local football team's mascot, 'H'Angus the Monkey'. He narrowly won. His election slogan had been "free bananas for schoolchildren", a promise he was unable to keep. Despite this, he stood again three years later and won with a landslide victory.

How do you fail to provide bananas to school children???

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it wasn't in the budget.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:40:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I exaggerated. It happens, but rarely enough to illustrate why internal party processes are rather important (just like in the US btw).

And, well at least that is something. Not having to change sig I mean.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People do win, but only if they have an exceptionally strong local following, or a very strong national one, or if they're standing in opposition to the reigning party and there's enough local feeling to give it a poke in the eye.

There will be a handful of seats like this in every election.

But otherwise - yes, the party selection process is completely sealed and authoritarian, and will ruthlessly disenfranchise anyone with a dissenting opinion.

But the flip side of it is that once someone has been elected, it's hard to deselect them without setting up a very contrived challenge.9

Someone canny with good acting skills might be able to game the system by pretending to believe one thing while believing something very different.

If they were really good at acting they might even get to be prime minister.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:36:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most elections are like the Presidential election.  First, you have to collect a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot.  Those signatures have to be from people who live in the place you are running to represent.  Then you get on a Primary ballot, and voters go to the polls and vote for a nominee.  Any who is registered to vote can vote in the Primary, but in most cases, you can only vote in the Primary of one Party (so you can't choose who will represent your opposition.)  After the Primary elections are held and the nominations are official, the nominees run in a general election.  This is the case for almost all elections, at all levels of government.  But it varies from state to state.  Some states or offices have non-partisan elections, which means you run on your credentials, etc. and not party affiliation.

Hang on, you skipped the part where they throw half the black folks off the voter rolls.  Or is that just a Florida thing?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_You vote for your Presidential candidates in the US in a way we don't do here - we (party members) vote for our candidates to stand as MPs and Assembly Members but we don't vote for who should be Prime Minister or Leader of the Party. _

But not every party member can stand for election as prospective MP candidate, can they? The party vets members and proposes a short list.

American primaries (yes, also for Congresspeople, and state legislators) are, on paper, totally open.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every party member can put themselves forward for selection but yes they have to be vetted to get on the shortlist - there's nothing I've said that contradicts that.  I said that I wouldn't bother because I know I wouldn't either get through the vetting or be put in a winnable seat if I did.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 03:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK the LIbDems do vet candidates but don't restrict which seat you can try to be nominated to after you've been successfully vetted.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 05:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep thinking we should start a party. It's probably the only way to get the job done.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:02:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2010 is going to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capture disaffected voters.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From being active in a start-up party I would suggest the following as a basic check-list:

  • make a list of policy positions the party supports
  • identify a group which should feel unrepresented and willing to vote for the policy proposals
  • use the internet for organising (webbpage, forum, blogs etc)
  • create an easy template on how to get a local chapter/group/whatever up and running

And be prepared to put in a lot of work.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:43:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On paper, yes.

It was instructive to follow Bill Wyatt - t-shirt salesman from California - that tried to run against George Bush in the 2004 republican primaries. In most states there was no way for him to enter as the primaries had already been decided by local party leadership in favor of Bush. The motivation tended to be that no primary was necessary as there were no other candidates, since none had been reported in the newspapers.

So there is a vetting, it just looks different.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 05:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... primary that decides contested races all the way down ... Senate, House of Representatives, Governor, State Senator, State House of Representatives. There's more variety at the municipal level, but primary elections are more the rule than the exception for both state and federal offices.

And the alternative is normally caucuses, which are effectively party branch meetings, so even the less democratic of the common American institutions tends to be more responsive to local political pressure than the Blair-ite New Labour institutions.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:55:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Parties are not very democratic. In Britain they are all (and especially Labour) afraid of entryism because of the recent memory of the Militant Tendency within the Labour Party.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is probably true, but still ridiculous, because the last time the Militants had any real influence was during the poll tax riots.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 06:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and even then they had very little to do with the actual riots. They were however extremely helpfull in providing support and training for people doing court dates when we were trying to clog up the court system, and inproviding legal backup when protests ended up with arrests. But then so were Socialist worker, and Black Flag. Militant Tendancy seemed to have far more thorough planning, and socialist worker had the printing press.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 07:21:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, is Britain a democracy or what?

No. Like he US they have first-past-the-post elections.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 09:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And like France...

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 09:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You also have the problem with the huge barriers of entry in a non-proportional system.

As a non-labour or non-tory pol you're never going to get any real power and your only perk is the chance to line your pockets. Funny how the systems almost seems designed to corrupt and co-opt new political parties and movements...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is amended slightly for the Welsh Assembly - 40 seats are filled by proportional representation and the remaining 20 by, I forget what it is called, to balance things out a little. Hence how we have a coalition Government.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:32:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under mixed member proportional representation a type of additional member system[24][25] Forty of the AMs are elected from single-member constituencies on a plurality voting system (or first past the post) basis, the constituencies being equivalent to those used for the House of Commons and twenty AMs are elected from regional closed lists using an alternative party vote.[26] There are five regions Mid and West Wales, North Wales, South Wales Central, South Wales East and South Wales West (these are the same as the pre 1999 European Parliament constituencies for Wales), each of which returns four members.[26] The additional members produce a degree of proportionality within each region.[26] Whereas voters can choose any regional party list irrespective of their party vote in the constituency election, list AMs are not elected independently of the constituency element, rather elected constituency AMs are deemed to be pre-elected list representatives for the purposes of calculating remainders in the d'Hondt method.[26] Overall proportionality is limited by the low proportion of list members (33% of the Assembly compared to 43% in the Scottish Parliament and 50% in the German Bundestag) and the regionalisation of the list element.[27] Consequently the Assembly as a whole has a greater degree of proportionality (based on proportions in the list elections) than the plurality voting system used for UK parliamentary elections, but still deviates somewhat from proportionality.[27]
(wikipedia)

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hooray for wiki.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 11:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thats a reasonable asessment, whereas the party was once packed with trade unionists, and socialist lawyers, it appears to have been taken over by lawyers of a less left wing bent and accountants, whereas the grass roots are still left leaning, they are only ever offered candidates to vote on as their representatives who are only nominally to the left of the tories.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:39:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour should have stayed true to it's values rather than carrying on with what Thatcher started.  The Party deserves to lose for trying to play to Middle Britain rather than seeking genuine social change - although that said there is plenty of good the Labour party has done during the last 3 terms but it could have picked it up and run with it, and shifted values and culture in Britain away from Thatcher's "there is no such thing as society".  It really could have.

I'm a Labour Party member, deeply annoyed at the direction the Party has taken but I am still an activist, still campaigning, still running my branch... I'm still trying to change my Party from within.

I say Labour deserves to lose because it should show the arrogant ones at the top that the direction they have taken the Party in is the wrong one. They have ignored their own members, in a terrible way. And reform is needed internally - Gordon Brown has been doing that actually, consulting on new structures and ways of engaging the members. Too little, too late.

Saying that Labour deserves to lose doesn't mean I want Labour to lose but how else is the Party going to revive itself and find it's values again?  The Conservatives will not be an improvement at all but maybe a good hard kick will force the Party to reform in the way it needs to.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:39:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember in 1997 when they announced that they would be sticking to tory spending plans saying "I always vote for politicians kniowing they're lying to me. this is the first time i've voted for someone in the hope that they're lying to me"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are you fine lefty Brits in agreement that this deserved to happen to Labour (as opposed to say, an individual, or a faction)?  Do you think life under a more conservative, free-market administration will be an improvement over Brown?

It deserved to happen to Labour. Doesn't mean it deserved to happen to Britain. Though arguably countries get the government they deserve.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Glenys Kinnock to join government

Glenys Kinnock is to join the government as Minister for Europe in a surprise appointment.

The wife of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock is to be elevated to the House of Lords to enable her to take on the role vacated by Caroline Flint.

She has the experience - well, she's been an MEP for 15 years, which I suppose counts as something.

But it's a very bizarre move from a PR point of view.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:15:11 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Politics | Stop taking shots at PM, MPs told

Lord Mandelson has told Labour MPs to "stop taking shots" at Gordon Brown - but ex-cabinet minister Lord Falconer has called for a leadership debate.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said the government must focus on policy and the public should not be distracted.

But former lord chancellor Lord Falconer said he was not sure Labour could get "unity" under Mr Brown.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 06:52:07 AM EST
Didn't pay attention to which paper but one of the newspaper headlines today was telling me that Gordon Brown's wife is the one making him stay.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 08:53:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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