Mike Smithson, Political Betting, posits that there may well, could well, be a leadership challenge with the Conservative Party – not that I pay much attention to opinion polls, or their findings. However, inadvertently, Smithson raises an interesting point where the matter of democracy is concerned.
- So, a new leader of a political party may be decided by a miniscule percentage of the electorate – ie, that party’s MPs and those members of the public that are paid-up members of that party.
- Within the scenario of betting odds that Smithson posts, methinks we can dispense with numbers #1 and #3. #1 did himself no favours when considering the recent Newsnight programme – but then we have to consider the fact that those voting for the future leader are of deeply embeded simian heritage. Where #3 is concerned, he is on record as stating that no way, never, would he consider becoming leader of his party – but then again we are talking ‘politician’ here and since when has any politician adhered to previous statements of intent.
- When one looks at the other names on the list it can only be said that, for those taking an interest who are outside the ‘political bubble’, the mind boggles and the body shudders.
The other fact that needs to be taken into account is that of the imbalance in our system of democracy where the position of Prime Minister is concerned, one which allows someone to achieve said position based on the votes, likewise, of a miniscule percentage of the total electorate. By way of explanation for that assertion, take the situation in Witney constituency at the time of the last election.
The present occupier of the office of prime minister, David Cameron, gained office on the basis of 33,973 votes in the 2010 general election. All those votes were cast in the constituency of Witney, which boasts 78,220 electors. Commanding 43.4 percent of the electorate, Mr Cameron did not even achieve a majority in his own locality. Furthermore, Mr Cameron holds office on the back of 10,703,654 Conservative votes, from an electorate of 45,844,691, representing only 36 percent of the votes cast and less than a quarter (23 percent) of the electorate. It is ironic then to see Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan complain about “the disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU”, because of its unelected commissioners and commission president, when less than 0.2 percent of the 46 million-strong electorate within the UK are allowed to vote for their prime minister in a general election; which can only show that Hannan and his colleagues are in no position to complain about the lack of democracy in the EU.
This situation gets right to the heart of the complaint about there being no separation of power twixt Executive and Legislature in our present system of democracy. One can but quote – as I have above – Richard North, from a draft pamphlet which has not yet been published as it is still in the stages of editing:
“As to why the general issue of “separation of powers” is so important to us, a useful port of call is the Wikipedia entry, which tells us that this need first emerged in ancient Greece. The state was divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no branch had more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is the executive, legislature, and judiciary. Here, the defect in the British system is immediately evident, stemming from our transition from rule by an absolute monarch, to a system of constitutional monarchy. The executive that emerged to challenge the power of the king now comprises the prime minister and cabinet. But, in holding the power previously held by the king, it has effectively become the king. Thus, as long as Parliament is the body from which the executive is drawn, there will be imperfect separation between the two bodies.”
This imbalance, that Richard North ‘homes in’ on, is then satisfied by Demand #3 of the Harrogate Agenda’s 6 Demands. If one believes in democracy per se, what’s not to like? Of course, you will not see this subject discussed or written about, nor polls conducted by, either the journalistic fraternity nor the pollsters – both who can justifiably be included in the question, when put, of: in whose pocket is who?
This raises yet further points:
- Is not democracy per se being ‘bastardized’ by the existing system of political party leadership elections? and;
- Where public opinion is concerned, is that not being ‘controlled’ by the political parties and their sycophants in the media and polling organisations?
And this country has a system of democracy? Bah, Humbug!