Interesting week in UK parliament

It seems it will be quite an interesting week in the UK Parliament, particularly the House of Commons. This is something that could have been said about many recent weeks, and it has indeed been interesting. But maybe it is about to get really interesting.

8 thoughts on “Interesting week in UK parliament

  1. The Electoral Reform Society has a fairly predictable article about how winner-take-all elections are the main thing holding together the major political parties, which really need to split. And there’s an occasional fleeting reference in op-eds to the alternative vote as a possible way to get around the potential for stalemate if (maybe I should say when) a series of “indicative votes” reveals that there is no majority support in Parliament for anything. And there are a few other amorphous references to the role of political institutions in shaping the alternatives available to political actors. But I’m surprised at how little discussion of these points I find — and I am spending a lot of time reading about Brexit.

  2. As a UK citizen and British resident, I will feel rather aggrieved if the events of the next few weeks in the House of Commons lead to my right to vote in the only elections here (England, but outside London) that are conducted under d’Hondt closed-list PR rather than simple plurality, being taken away without my consent.

    • I have been repeatedly told that because just under 31% of the country voted three years ago for their glorious freedom, you are in fact trampling their rights because you dare complain about actual consequences that no one considered back then.

      I have come to the conclusion that half baked direct democracy may be worse than FPTP. If only because few people object to having another FPTP election but declare war on people who say that another vote could be a good idea

      • I agree. You should hold no referendums or lots, and if you hold lots, the legislature should not have a monopoly on calling them. The danger of referendums every 2 generations or so is that the electorate may use them as a giant by-election, as one Bregrexiteer said after the referendum, a chance to give the government a good kicking.

        I’m also revising my ideas on fixed terms. There has to be a mechanism by which the government, or some part of the legislature itself, can declare a question a matter of confidence. Before the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, a government in the position that May finds herself would have declared the withdrawal agreement a matter of confidence and rejecting it would have led to a new election. That option no longer exists.

        The bizarre spectacle of the DUP constantly rejecting the government’s policy and then voting to keep the same government in office, is just not something the FTPA addresses. Of course May could achieve the same result by declaring that she would treat the withdrawal agreement as a matter of confidence and resign if it were defeated, but then she would be out of a job within days.

  3. About “indicative votes”, it occurs to me that this procedure stands in the same relationship to approval voting as the method of electing officers in Roberts Rules of Order stands to the alternative vote (IRV). I forget what the Roberts Rules procedure is called, but it does have (at least one) name. Everyone votes for one candidate. If there’s a majority for one candidate the election is over, otherwise the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped and another vote takes place.

    Needless to say, a series of “indicative votes” has all of the defects of approval voting, with the additional defect of much else in parliamentary procedure, that a lot depends on the order in which proposals and amendments are taken up.

    • They could just hold an AV ballot on the Brexit options, but that would lead to a level of legislative hysteria not seen since the AV referendum..

      • After I posted yesterday, I learned that a few members of Parliament have in fact been proposing the alternative vote for a while now. They already use it to elect committee chairs. Labour MP Helen Goodman spoke about it at some length in the Commons yesterday. Unlike us election geeks, the press hasn’t been focusing on this.

        By the way, I try to avoid the initials “AV”. In some circles (here, for example), it means the alternative vote. In other circles, it means approval voting. That’s actually an unintentional advantage of the U.S. terminology — IRV and ranked choice voting (RCV).

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