Labour -8
Conservative -9
Liberal Democrat 17
UK Independence Party -9
Green -4

You should vote: Liberal Democrat.
Take the test at Who Should You Vote For?

Hmmm. But I don’t agree with PR, which is a bit of a sticking point with the LibDems for me.
link via Steve.

12 Replies to “Hmmm”

  1. What the heck is going on am I turning into my parents!!!!!!

    Your expected outcome:

    Your actual outcome:

    Labour -9
    Conservative -22
    Liberal Democrat 42
    UK Independence Party -11
    Green 29

    You should vote: Liberal Democrat

    The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

  2. On a more serious note, without PR there is very little point someone in my position voting. My local MP is a Tory and short of something wiping out all the Conservatives in my constituancy this is never going to change. At least with PR there would be a way of registering my feelings.

    The only reason I plan to vote in this election is through some sense of civic duty. The way things are going I doubt I will feel as motivated next time.

    Just out of interest – what do you see as the downsides of PR?

  3. Taking a wider view, I don’t believe that PR makes strong government and can result in a minority party holding the balance of power and therefore having a disproportionate say. Compare the German example where, a few years ago, the Greens held the balance of power under their PR system and formed a coalition (I can’t remember who with). As a result, a new high-speed maglev rail link was scrapped because "the maglev system would give headaches to cows in neighbouring fields". Perhaps an extreme example, but my point about minority parties having disproportionate power stands – would it be right for the LibDems to force through their policies if they only represented 20% of the electorate?

  4. Granted you may get the odd result you don’t like, but you could argue that Labour are in a position to force through their policies while representing less than half of the population. I would rather lose a maglev than fight a highly dubious war.

  5. So you find the last Labour government with an enormous majority and representing only 24% of the electorate (40.7% of 59.4%) perfectly acceptable, do you? As an example of disproportionate power, this seems to me quite striking; surely an example of a minority party having a disproportionate say?

  6. PR on its own would have changed little about the last government. With the current constituency boundaries, Blair would still have been returned as PM with a handy majority.
    The truth is that PR leads to weak government. That is why the Italians moved from PR to a first-past-the-post system a few years ago. Much as Burlesconi is disliked by many, the governments since the change have been stronger and have done much to turn Italy into a more modern European nation.
    Perhaps if PR was combined with compulsory voting and some sort of "recall system" that would allow voters to remove an incumbent if it was felt that they were not up to the task (like we saw in California a few years ago), then we might have a better system. But the truth is that one of the inherent flaws with democracy is that large swathes of the voting populace will be unrepresented – that’s the biggest problem with the system. As Churchill said in 1947: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

  7. I agree that PR is a bad thing, it opens the door for those nasty little parties like the BNP who only have a handful of supporters in the country. It also erradicates any MP-constituency link – at least most systems do – and leads to representatives who have absolutley nothing to o with the people they represent.

    Italy is indeed another good example of why it doesn’t work, 14 coalition govts in 16 years wasn’t it? The only PR system I see as workable is AMS (but even that leads to problems with some members doing less work than others) which seems to be doing okay in Scotland

  8. Oh crumbs, I’d forgotten the BNP point. If the BNP poll only one-sixth of one percent of the vote, in a Commons of 600 MPs that is enough to give them one whole MP. Whilst you can argue that if you want everyone to be represented, then even the ultra-nationalists should have their MP, then you can support this notion – but do we really want that?

  9. At the risk of being branded an uber-liberal here, if a small – but not insignificant – proportion of people wish to vote for the BNP then, whether we like it or not, they do deserve some sort of representation. The job of the majority is to create an environment where these people realise the error of their ways…

    Just to make sure we are clear here: I think the BNP and all they stand for are scum but I still think that PR offers a better representation of our democracy than the current system.

    With regard to Italy, I think the problems there are less to do with the PR system and more to do with the historically fragmented nature of their regions and their attitudes to authority (not that I am any sort of expert myself – see Tim Parks’ Italian Neighbours for what appears to be a fairly balanced description of the country)

  10. Fair comment, Steve. And, with regard to Italy, I’m reading Tobias Jones’s Dark Heart of Italy at the moment, which is proving to be both entertaining and informative.

    Another reason not to vote for the LibDems – is it right that we, as a couple both in work but struggling to pay our mortgage, should pay considerably more tax in the form of local income tax to subsidise elderly people living alone (with no mortgage) in houses considerably more valuable than ours? I think the notion of tying local taxation to the value of your primary asset is not entirely flawed – it merely needs refining. Perhaps a rebate or discount for all pensioners living in houses up to (say) Band E, and a general rebate for all over-75s. I think that this would take a large number of the poorer pensioners to a far lower level of local taxation. Frankly, the wealthier ones should have to liquidate some of their assets to pay their way – they should not expect to be subsidised just because they have had the good fortune to exceed the average life expectancy.

  11. Yes, I agree that the local income tax may cause problems for two income families (which also includes us). However, with the imminent council tax rebanding exercise those of us in the South East are likely to see our bills rise anyway. And, to be perfectly honest, I would be happy to pay higher taxes if they were seen to be used properly (ring-fencing for instance), although admittedly I am not entirely sure the Lib Dems would handle the redistribution better than any other party.

    As for issue of the elderly, I think this is a bit more complicated than portrayed (size of pensions, tax on pensions, slow rates of increase in pensions, uncertainty over pension funds, unforeseen care needs). You could also argue (which I believe the Tories do) that if you’ve made a success of your life you shouldn’t be penalised for it. For example, while my parents could not be described as poor retirees, it does seem a bit unfair that after 40 years of working for The Man most of their holidays have been reduced to camping in Cornwall. Personally I would be happy to see the retirement age raised to 70 if I knew I was guaranteed a decent pension and a very small tax burden when I retire.

    Anyway, back to the issue of the Lib Dems. I recognize that they are far from ideal but, short of voting for a single issue party, they do seem to be the only ones that my conscience will let me vote for. Labour are acting too presidential and, if nothing else, deserve to be taken down a peg or two. The Tories seem to have simply lost all semblance of social conscience – to the point where, if I wasn’t so pissed off with Mr. Blair about the handling of Iraq, I would be tempted to vote Labour simply to stop the Tories getting in.

    But anyway, returning to my original point towards the top, this is all academic since without PR my vote will count for absolutely nothing.

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