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Lords reform

The obvious tactic for Mr Clegg is to try to cut a deal with the Labour leadership, over the terms of the programme motion to limit the times of debate. If that can be done then the right wing of the Conservative Party becomes irrelevant on the issue. The question is do the Labour leadership care more about implementing their own constitutional reform agenda or undermining the coalition by playing partisan games?

Coalition breakup

In 1922 the Lloyd George coalition, of Liberals and Conservatives, broke up because Conservative backbenchers and junior ministers had had enough of the Welsh wizard. The Tories repudiated the pro-coalition leadership of Austen Chamberlain, at the famous meeting at the Carlton Club (commemorated in the name of the 1922 Committee, the caucus of Tory MPs).

During the 1930s the Conservative right wing resented being marginalised by the need for the National government. However Stanley Baldwin had the political skill and popularity to manage his party, so as to avoid the government being blown up by a Tory rebellion.

The question is, will Cameron be more like Austen Chamberlain or Stanley Baldwin? I suspect the answer is Chamberlain, but we will see.

by Gary J on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 03:55:03 AM EST
I doubt that Labour have any appetite to see any part of the Coalition programme succeed, especially as that is a Lib Dem Coalition quid pro quo for accepting a Boundary commission report that will act in conservative interests.

I think Labour want Lords Reform in principle, but not this reform and especially not at that price

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 04:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The proposed Lords reform doesn't reflect the details of the reform proposed in the Labour manifesto. There's no reason for them to vote for it.

Further, stopping the Conservatives gerrymandering has to be a priority if we want to remain a democratic country.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 05:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be in the Lib Dem interest to agree to almost any change in the existing bill, to appease Labour. However, Labour will consider that the House of Lords is less important than boundary changes for the House of Commons.

The most likely outcome is that Labour will move the goalposts, as much as they need, to avoid reaching a Lords compromise.

We will then have to see if the Liberal Democrats are bluffing, on voting down the Commons boundary changes. I think, given the timescale, that they probably are but trying to play hardball politics and not going through with a threat is going to look appallingly weak.

by Gary J on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 06:55:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is, if the Lib Dems make concessions to Labour, this will give Cameron the excuse to give the whole Tory party the go ahead to vote against the bill...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 09:20:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour will surely do anything to avoid helping the libdems achieve a victory over their tory partners. With the current non-democratic electoral system, Labour will be seeking to marginalise the libdems definitively.

This is one of the many evils of the UK electoral system. Another, minor, evil is the endless bickering over gerrymandering. A much greater issue is that the system no doubt favours economic disparities between territories.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 09:21:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't fault Labour for this.  Clegg had his chance to cut a deal with Labour, with ridding the world of "first past the post" as part of it, but he went with the Tories instead and got nothing.  Now the Lib Dems as a party no longer have anything to offer Labour.
by rifek on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 09:36:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should Labour deal with the Lib Dems at all?  If the coalition fractures, so do the Lib Dems, with Labour raking in most of the chips.
by rifek on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 09:30:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the schism in the tories is becoming unmanageable. UKIP are becoming very attractive to a lot of right wingers and may well win several seats at the next election. At which point you may start seeing sitting MPs defecting.

At that point the LibDem Orange bookers may join the liberal rump of the Tory party and the rest may either join labour or re-form the original Liberal Party. But that's at least 5 years off.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 04:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This isn't 1922 nor even the national government. In both cases the Tries had a majority of it's own and the remainder of the coalition was mostly window-dressing. This time they actually need the Liberal Democrats.

Of course the question is: Do the Tories really know this?

by IM on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 05:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now the opportunity has arisen, stopping the Conservative's proposal to gerrymander the Commons has to be Labour's priority. Indeed it should be every person's priority if we'd like to keep living in a democracy, rather than a one party state.

Lords reform will be irrelevant if we allow the Tories to gerrymander their way into power. If they win a majority in the next election we will see further boundary changes - Britain will become a one party state.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 05:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not think that the idea of having more equal constituency electorates can properly be described as a gerrymander. It is a step towards the democratic ideal of one person, one vote, one value.

An issue exists of whether it would be better to base constituencies on census population rather than registered electorate. Most countries seem to use population rather than registered electorate. Tweaking the system in that way would answer concern about under registration of qualified voters, particularly in large cities.

The changes in constituency distribution will reduce, although not eliminate, the pro-Labour bias which has existed in the electoral system in recent decades but it does not create an unfair pro-Conservate bias. Unfortunately it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of some systematic bias developing, without replacing single member constituencies and first past the post voting with multi member proportional vote elections.

by Gary J on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 07:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There always several way to do this. The Tories will try to convert safe Labour constituencies into safe tory constituencies. A Labour majority would try to create swing constituencies instead.
by IM on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 07:25:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Parliamentary boundaries in the UK are drawn up by politically neutral boundary commissions. The new rules constrain the commissions more than the old ones did, but also reduce the opportunities in the process for the parties to influence the final report.

The rules, both old and new, prevent the political consequences of proposed boundaries being taken into account. A party will obviously consider political consequences, in deciding what boundaries it would prefer, but its submissions to the boundary commission have to be expressed in terms of factors permitted by the rules such as community ties

by Gary J on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 08:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Several changes to the rules for the boundary commissions are part of the bill. Every single one of them seems designed to give the government more say in the process. This very much looks like the beginning of an attempt to undermine the democratic process.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 09:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling first-past-the-post a democracy is already stretching the word in my opinion.

I would call it "non-dictatorship" or something like that.

by cagatacos on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 07:56:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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