The Futility Monster

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Posts Tagged ‘AV Referendum 2011’

11 For 2011

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 2, 2011 @ 11:11

OK, so it’s hardly the return of the Futility Monster, here, but two posts in two days does mark something of a minor miracle. Even so, it’s unlikely to be repeated. Maybe I will try and write something at least semi-frequently. Maybe once a month or something.

But for now, more to get it down in writing than anything else, here comes my top 11 predictions for 2011.

  1. The AV referendum will pass. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe Ed Miliband will drag the Labour Party, kicking and screaming, behind the campaign as a show of his authority and capacity for “change”. This will encourage the Lib Dems to give it their full support. It will scrape home. Just.
  2. The “Other” 2011 referendum – in Wales – will also succeed, but with a larger majority in favour.
  3. Following that, Welsh Labour will win. But perhaps not as big as they will hope. I predict an extremely close finish, with them just falling below the magic 31 seats for outright majority control.
  4. The Scottish Nationalists will lose power in Scotland’s May general election, but they will only be replaced by an enfeebled Labour minority, who may struggle to find partners to get its legislation and budgets through.
  5. Meanwhile, in London, the Coalition will last the whole year, without too many hiccups, despite sluggish economic data.
  6. Somewhere during the year, the Liberal Democrats will hit another low in their post-2010 election opinion poll woes.
  7. In the post-May reshuffle, Nick Clegg will receive a real portfolio in a bid by David Cameron to shore up support for the coalition amongst demoralised Liberal Democrat MPs. Home Office, anyone?
  8. Also to boost the Lib Dems, House of Lords reform (defined here as anything 80% or more elected), will pass the Commons, but die a sad death in the Lords itself.
  9. Looking abroad, Silvio Berlusconi will finally reach the end of his woeful Prime Ministerial career. Having said that, his replacement will hardly be any better.
  10. Barack Obama will have a traumatic year: under fire from the hostile House of Representatives, a ceaseless war in Afghanistan, and unable to achieve anything of great significance. This will seriously damage him running into the pivotal 2012. And if that happens, expect Sarah Palin to run for the Presidency. Whether she gets the nomination, however, will have to wait till next year’s prediction…
  11. Finally, North Korea will come back to the negotiating table at long last. But will a deal be reached? Extraordinarily unlikely. Unless Kim Jong Il croaks it, and his son is, to everyone’s shock, slightly less of a lunatic than his father…

As for who wins this year’s Premier League, alas, it’ll be no one other than Manchester United.

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Come The Revol… Referendum

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 3, 2010 @ 09:34

Stolen from the Electoral Reform Society's website. Not that it's anything interesting to look at...

For us young un’s, especially if we’re English, we’re not used to being consulted on things. Sure, we vote in local and general elections, but they’re about a huge ball of issues, entangled, intertwined, whatever. More often than not we base our votes on silly little things that don’t matter, like whether so-and-so “looks like a Prime Minister”. Wot?!

So with the good news that we’re going to be consulted on one very specific issue – voting reform – it makes me kind of excited. But then, I am a political nerd. Then again, perhaps you are too. You wouldn’t be here otherwise. Admit it.

The last, and first, all UK referendum was in 1975. Given that you had to be 18 to vote in it, that means that everyone born since 1958 has never once been consulted in a British referendum. Have there really been no issues of major national importance in all that time?

Of course, the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been slightly luckier, getting referendums for their new Parliaments and Assemblies. And more are on the horizon. London got one too, and though it was asking 6m people, it was still a “local” issue, regarding a mayor that has barely any powers to speak of.

Politicians generally don’t like referendums, because they don’t really want to have to get the backing of the public again after all that general election fuss. Opponents say they are only ever used when government or opposition is divided. There is some truth in that in Britain, but the worldwide story is far more mixed.

But this referendum is going to be very different. Yes, the government is divided, but so what? Once more we’re going to get, from the coalition, a remarkable demonstration of grown-up politics. People agreeing to disagree, and instead of bitching about it in Cabinet or in the corridors of Westminster, they’re going to take the argument to the public for a decision that will shut both sides up for at least a generation.

That idea is revolutionary for British politics. It worked over Europe for Harold Wilson (though maybe it’s time we were consulted again) and there’s no reason why it won’t work again.

And, in the worst nightmares of all strident anti-referendumistas, once you pop, the fun don’t stop.

It’s too long between elections anyway, and it’ll only get worse if we get five year fixed terms.

But maybe it’ll stem the endless legitimacy drain from a government if there are national referendums at least once a parliament.

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