Friday, April 23, 2010

Clegg cruises in the debate

Just to add my sixpence worth on the second leaders' TV debate. I think Brown and Cameron raised their games. Nick Clegg was a bit flatter than last week, but he was still scored as either first (by most observers) or very close second to Cameron (by Tory supporters). Despite the attempt to smear the Liberal Democrats back down in the polls, and to launch personal attacks on Clegg ahead of the debate, Nick Clegg was generally unruffled and again did well.

That Cameron did better than last time is not enough: he needed to obliterate the memory of the last bravura performance from Nick Clegg- and he couldn't do it. Although he tried to talk to the camera, he was more clunky- it was obviously something he had been told to do, and it looked uncomfortable. This was not the game changer that it needed to be for the Tories.

I think that the third debate will not be a game changer either. We will need to absorb the impact of the concerted Conservative smear campaign against the Liberal Democrats- which might end up hurting the Tories at least as much as the Lib Dems. However, it now seems highly likely that the Liberal Democrats are on course for a sensational result. What happens next is less clear, my personal view is that it is most likely that the next government will be a minority: and that will take us into a new situation in British politics.

Nick Clegg maintained momentum, and could not be disrupted by Brown or Cameron- in the end that is probably going to be sufficient to prevent the Lab/Con duopoly from continuing unchecked. The British people are showing their distrust of the power of the Lab/Con system and their disgust are where it has brought us.


Newmania said...

I thought the Press attacks on Clegg were pathetic
On the debate however I think the “Get Real Nick” moment was telling and on immigration and Europe the best you can say is that he defended the indefensible gamely .On the Economy I fear the opportunism dishonesty and confusion in the Lib Dem manifesto will be exposed .
Big picture , however , I have been coming to the conclusion that FPTP cannot be sustained now we have three Party politics . The maths is becoming ridiculous ,its sad but there it is . On the other hand there are huge problems with PR in a country that expects to dismiss governments, know what it is voting fo,r and see an accountable face . Not least its tendency to be corrupt

I was wondering if some sort of compromise top up formula might be arrived at .With a thorough review of constituencies reducing to 400 of equal size and English votes addressing the over representation of Labour , Scotland and Wales I was thinking of something like ....
Each Party gets additional MPs equal half the difference between that and its Proportional entitlement of the adjusted total ? Something imperfect deal of that sort ?
Not my bag really , but the perpetual uninterrupted rule of politicians doing deals at the centre is not on.

Cicero said...

Well, actually, Newmania I agree with you. I don't want an electoral fix, I want electoral fairness.

For me though, the best system is the STV system where voters have multi member constituencies, like, say, East Sussex. There are, say, eight MPs as there are now, and voters list them in order of preference. They can still vote for 8 Tories if they want (they simply list the candidates in order of preference). They can choose between candidates from the same party (so not a list system), therefore they can punish individual candidates without voting against their party. They can vote for candidates of different parties, if they want to, but it is not required.

It gives the voters a more open choice in my view. It is still possible for majority governments to be formed, but pretty much only if they get a majority vote (or something very close to it). It is still possible, though, for individuals to be elected as independents. It also keeps a clear constituency link, its just that the constituencies are a bit bigger, but to be honest most people will not say they live in "Wealden" or "Mid Sussex" - their identification is with the county- and until the late 19th century multi member seats were not unusual, so it does work in the Westminster system. More importantly, no vote is wasted and tactical voting is unnecessary. It would probably give Conservatives seats in cities like Liverpool and Glasgow, which have been Tory-free for decades, likewise Labour and the Conservatives in Cornwall, which is currently 100% Lib Dem on only about 55% of the vote. It would give Lib Dems maybe two more seats in E. Sussex (though we might get more under FPTP this election!). Ireland has a similar system, and they have not got a centre party swinging between the FF and FG- quite often there have been majority governments, though not always of course.

In my view STV answers your questions- and if it were introduced I would be happy to support a reduction in the size of the House of Commons too.

Newmania said...

Thats the old poltics CS .Do you even need to sneak feeble second choice votes in ? For me a system where you do not have to make a choice at all reduces the electorate from active participants in forming a constituency, to an infantilized focus group . Consequences are distant , accountability diluted yeuch
Voting systems in any event do not deliver stable accountable government We have a system that is understood by its participants and has been broadly successful . This not a thing to ignore People are not atom,s they are formed by the past and sweeping away the riches of centuries to replace it with a year zero doodle from a politics graduate’s note pad taste like a Lemon to me . On the other hand , it is now clear that we must face the most odious of things “change “.

I hope to see an evolution which addresses the geographical distribution of the LD vote in a pragmatic way , no more . New Labour will give you STV as the system that most hurts Conservatuve interests they have always liked it .
No doubt you are enjoying this revolt against old style politics ( I am not ) lead by a fresh face with a simple message of change . Thought you might like this

:) Sing up CS sing up

Cicero said...

Just a quick comment- since I have to go and catch a plane- which is a lot less easy than it used to be- Labour loath STV- which is why they want a stitch up based around AV or AV+ which gives the parties, not the voters, the power.

We have got address the fact that under the current system the people have massively unequal votes- only swing voters in swing seats control the system- so your vote in Lewes gets ignored and my vote in Westminster (this time) gets ignored.

If the Tories are serious about reform or even "change" then they have got to support voting reform. Unless they do, then they are not serious about political reform at all.

Cicero said...

Oh and surely you think this is the better version

Newmania said...


Newmania said...

Beware in your enthusiasm to abolish old loyalties you don`t need them some time

...and we get Avatar..sums it up.