House of Commons Reform Proposal: Very Short Summary #ElectoralReform #HouseOfCommonsReform #HoCReform

I’ve been writing an essay on possible electoral reform in the UK, but it’s turning into a mini-book. So I’m just going to post up the very short summary of my main conclusions and proposals.

My proposal for how to reform the House of Commons:

  1. Decrease the number of constituencies from 650 to 600.
  2. Ensure all constituencies are almost identical in size so as to make all votes roughly equal (currently, the smallest has 21,769 electors and the largest 110,697).
  3. Following the Jenkins Commission’s Report 1998 (JCR 1998), introduce two kinds of MP; those chosen from single member parliamentary constituencies (like now), and those chosen proportionally from multi-member regional constituencies. This is what happens currently for elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, and the London Assembly.
  4. Following the JCR 1998, only 15-20% of MPs to be multimember; so, 480:120 or 500:100, single member constituency MPs to multimember constituency MPs. This is as opposed to the devolved legislatures which have around 40-45% of members drawn from the multimember regional constituencies.
  5. Very approximately, the country should be divided into around a dozen multimember regional constituencies; this ensures a high level of proportionately, but not so much that politics becomes destabilised.
    1. This could be on similar lines to how Members for the European Parliament are currently elected from the UK so that the constituencies do not all have an equal number of MPs. The benefit is that natural geographic or cultural regions can be treated as constituencies regardless of size, e.g., Northern Ireland.
    2. Alternatively, this could be done as in Wales and Scotland where the regions all elect the same number of members. The disadvantage of this is that either traditional boundaries would have to be disregarded, or some constituencies would have more MPs than their populations would proportionately require.
  6. In the single member constituencies, MPs to be elected on the same basis as the London mayor, on the Supplementary Vote system; voters pick a first and second choice, if no candidate receive more than 50% of first choice votes, then all but the leading two candidates are eliminated and all second choice votes are redistributed to determine the winner.

This series of proposals taken together introduces some proportionality, but not to the point that it destabilises politics (that is, permanent coalitions and collapsing governments). It encourages people to vote for who they really want, as they know their vote really counts in the multimember regional constituencies, and that they can vote for who they want in the single member constituencies without wholly ruining it for the second favourite candidate. Currently, people will often vote Labour to keep out the Tory, or vice versa, when they really want to vote Green (for example). Under this proposed system, they could confidently vote Green in the multimember regional constituency, and then either Labour in the single member constituency or Green first choice and Labour second choice. It also makes it more likely that the MP in the single member constituency will command 50% or more of the electorate.

The only possible downside is that it introduces two kinds of MP. But I say we already have two kinds of MP: we have those in the Government who are thus in the Executive branch of Government, and back benchers who are not in the Government and are thus not part of the Executive. In other words, the MPs who run the country + look after their constituents, and MPs who only look after their constituents. Indeed, the Speaker of the House could himself be considered an altogether different, third type of MP in the current set up.

I hope to publish a more detailed analysis and investigation into reform of the House of Commons soon.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://culturalwednesday.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/House-of-Commons-1024×681.jpg

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Random Quotes 2: de Gaulle

Belgium: a country invented by the British to annoy the French.
Charles de Gaulle, President of France (1959-1969)

featured image from http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/france/aircraft_carriers/charles_de_gaulle_r91/charles_de_gaulle.jpg

“But Brexit ISN’T ‘The Will of the People’!” #Brexit #BRINO #WillOfThePeople @Anna_Soubry @StevenEdginton @WestmonsterUK

Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP who stood for election on a 2017 Manifesto which committed to delivering Brexit and who herself in 2017 said “you can’t vote for a Referendum & then renege on delivering the result because you don’t like the result”, has famously reneged. She has done nothing in the last year but attempt to overturn the decision to leave the European Union, most recently voting against her own Government’s position on the recent Customs and Trade Bills by trying to tie the UK into a Customs Union with the EU.

How times change…

But by now, all politics junkies know she’s unprincipled (although I’m not sure to what extent the general public is aware of the extent of her unprincipledness). What has piqued my interest, however, is that now she’s talking absolute rubbish on Twitter, again. Specifically, she’s parroting the oft-repeated, in-vogue line that, actually, the vote to leave the EU wasn’t the will of the people after all! Why? Because whilst it is true that more than half of those who voted did indeed vote to Leave, many people did not vote at all. Some 27.79% of the eligible electorate didn’t bother to vote, in fact. This means that, of the total electorate eligible to vote in the EU Referendum, 34.74% voted for Remain, and only 37.47% voted for Leave — considerably less than 50%!!

Soubry fails logic

However, this is a completely bogus argument. There is always a huge percentage of the electorate who don’t vote. Indeed, as one Twitter user (@AlastairJT) has helpfully pointed out to Ms. Soubry, she herself was elected in 2017 on less than 50% of the electorate; the turn out in her constituency of Broxtowe was 75.0%, of which she achieved 46.8%, giving her a grand total of 35.1% of the electorate — a lower percentage than voted for Brexit.

But actually, the issue is even larger than that. More people voted for Brexit (17.4 million) than for anything else in British history. Moreover, and this is the master stroke I feel, you have to go back to the General Election of 1959 to see the winning party earn a higher percentage of the total electorate than the 37.5% who voted for Brexit. 1959! When Britain was a virtual two party state. And indeed, you have to go back to the 1931 General Election before a party achieved a higher percentage of the turn out than Leave achieved — and that was because the Liberal Party had imploded and split four ways.

If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is…

As they say in football, “you can only beat the teams that are put in front of you”. That more than a quarter of the population stayed at home does in no way invalidate the result of the EU referendum. If the benchmark for a vote to qualify as the “will of the people” and be so enacted is more than half of the total electorate voting one way, then no General Election since 1959 has been “the will of the people”, and nor was the election of Anna Soubry herself. If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

Brexit Betrayal: Back From The Brink? #Brexit #BrexitBetrayal #MayMustGo #BRINO

Theresa May’s Chequers plan has been thoroughly amended by Parliament and has been firmly rejected by the EU. Although it’s likely the unamended version would also have been rejected as the Chequers plan tries to separate the four EU freedoms: the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people. This is a red line for the EU and they have consistently opposed any such cherry-picking from day one.

On one hand, you have to admire the EU negotiators; from the very beginning, they knew what they wanted, they knew what their red lines were, and they’ve stuck to this. Unlike our lily-livered Prime Minister who herself admits her position has “evolved”, the EU have stuck firmly to their principles. On the other hand, it is increasingly clear to everybody that the EU are simply unwilling to negotiate anything other than continued British membership of the EU in all but name only. Therefore, it is clear that there is literally now no point continuing the negotiations as they are. To think otherwise is to be delusional.

Therefore, we have to reset our minds and pursue one of two options.

One, lay down an offer and tell the EU to take it or we walk without a deal and go to WTO terms.

Two, we take the offer that the EU already made us in March: a regular EU-UK trade deal. Donald Tusk, the EU Council head, said that a free trade deal is the only possible model for EU-UK relations, that we cannot have a “pick and mix” approach to the European single market, and that we could continue to cooperate on security amongst a slew of other issues. Japan just signed a trade deal with the EU itself, and with no loss of sovereignty. Let’s chuck May’s Brexit In Name Only (“BRINO”) con job, and have a free trade deal with the EU. And if the EU aren’t willing to offer us a trade deal which we view as acceptable by the 29th March 2019, it is already clear that negotiating with them is a waste of time: WTO here we come! But this wouldn’t be a “cliff edge” or “crashing out”, as most mainstream news outlets and pro-Remain politicians style it; it would be complete freedom and independence — the very things we voted for on the 23rd June 2016.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/1/590x/Theresa-May-and-money-around-city-of-London-721875.jpg

Brexit Betrayal: On The Brink #Brexit #BrexitBetrayal #MayMustGo #BRINO

We are on the brink of the greatest exercise of democracy in the history of our nation, the vote to leave the European Union taken on 23rd June 2016, being overturned. More people voted for Brexit than for anything in British history ever. Yet Prime Minister Theresa May has set forth proposals in her White Paper which experts agree will make Brexit happen in name only; indeed, we will have to follow almost all of the same rules as being in the EU forevermore with no real ability to take back control of our laws, our money, our bordersthe very basis of the campaign to leave. To make this worse, her proposals go against all the red lines which she has repeatedly and so eloquently argued for in her landmark speeches.

The extent of May’s treachery and scheming is quite breath-taking and extensive, but here is a very brief summary: she secretly planned for this Brexit In Name Only (BRINO) for a year working to undermine her own publicly stated policy and red lines; she has determinedly undermined her colleagues especially the (now former) Brexit Secretary David Davis; she has threatened her MPs and the public with no Brexit at all if her new plans aren’t followed; she has conceded everything to the EU at all stages with nothing in return; she cleared her new plan with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before showing it to her Cabinet and has subsequently said that the plan cannot be changed as Merkel has already approved it.

Even staunchly loyal MPs, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, are now openly in revolt. It is clear that May has doubled down on her new plan and will not yield. Therefore, the only solution is to remove her as Conservative Party leader. But how would this work?

  1. First, 15% of the Parliamentary Party (that’s 48 Tory MPs) would have to submit a letter of no confidence to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.
  2. If this occurs, a secret ballot will take place where Tory MPs will either support or oppose Theresa May’s leadership; she only needs to get a simple majority of MPs voting in support. This would be 159 MPs (if all Tory MPs vote).
  3. If she wins, she is untouchable for a year, and Brexit is finished.
  4. If she loses, a new leadership election is held in which she cannot stand.
  5. All candidates are voted on by the Tory MPs, the lowest ranked candidate being eliminated round-by-round until only two candidates remain; these two candidates will be put to the party membership to determine who will be next Conservative Party leader.

However, the quandary that pro-Brexit Tory MPs, and pro-Remain Tories who realise that May is electoral poison, find themselves in is this: do they really have the support the oust May? Very possibly, but perhaps probably not; after all, only a minority of Tory MPs are pro-Brexit, and pro-Remain Tories are likelier to wait until after this Remain-in-all-but-name deal is signed off on and then stick the knife in. In which case, all is lost. Therefore, some Tories wish to wait until after the Parliamentary Summer recess as they feel a vote against May is more likely to succeed then. Why? Because the EU will by then have, so it is claimed, rejected May’s proposals, thereby strengthening resolve against her.

For those who want Brexit to happen, indeed, for those who care about democracy at all (the idea that the people have power, a vote is held, and then the outcome of the vote is carried out), it is imperative that the intransigent May is removed from office. However, short of her death, the only way for this to happen is in a vote of no confidence, a vote she is perhaps likely to win. Our only hope is that a peculiar alliance of Tory careerism, principled Brexiteers, and Labour MPs helping to vote down May’s proposals, will effectively combine to save Brexit. That would be an occurrence as rare and miraculous as the vote to leave the European Union itself.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/1/590x/Theresa-May-and-money-around-city-of-London-721875.jpg

FIFA World Cup: Third-Place Play-Off #FIFAcom #WorldCup

Tomorrow, England face Belgium in “the game that no one wants to play in”: the third-place play-off of the FIFA World Cup. Of course, nobody would choose to lose in a semi-final and then be forced to degrade themselves in a match which is, in effect, a glorified and largely pointless friendly.

However, getting to the semi-finals and then going out is nothing to be ashamed of. And I’m not just saying that because I’m English. It is a phenomenal achievement and ranks you among the elites of the sport. Furthermore, a medal is of course up for grabs. Okay, it may be bronze and not gold, but it is still a medal.

So, to recognise that winning the third-place play-off is indeed an achievement to be proud of, I suggest we change its name of the match to something catchier, something which reflects the respect which it deserves: The Bronze Final.

But to the unfortunate loser of this match? I think a souvenir mug with Sepp Blatter’s face printed on it would be a nice consolation prize.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://hdwarena.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Colorful-FIFA-Logo-1428×1080.jpg

Random Images 37: South Park #Random #RandomImages

SouthPark.

Things Always Planned Are Never Completed

I’ve got so many projects of so many different kinds that I’m working on, that I will probably never get half of them finished. As an example, I have several languages which I have made up. I’ll give you a second to get over the shock of that… yes, I invent languages. Ready to move on? Good. Tolkien spent his whole life working on the languages Quenya and Sindarin, more-or-less non-stop, and he still, by his own admission, never got anywhere close to “finishing” these two projects. Yeah, well, I’ve got more than two made up languages, and I’ve got a whole bunch of other projects besides.

Therefore, I have recently resolved to try to release my projects in dribs and drabs so that, at the very least, some little things end up being circulated, out there, in the big wide world. I mean, it’s not just that some projects are lengthy; life is short, and you never know when “some blind hand shall brush [your] wing”, as Blake put it.

So you may soon start to see snippets of things which hint at larger works released.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

Brexit Voters Are ****ing Stupid! #Brexit

This post is inspired by a Tweet I saw and the countless times I’ve been slagged off by people who voted Remain in the EU Membership Referendum.

I have a Bachelor of Arts with Honours with an award of First Class, two Master of Arts, not to mention my professional qualifications, all from world leading institutions. IQ tests rank me as 98-99 percentile — that qualifies me for Mensa. Oh yeah, and my wife is foreign.

Yep, no doubt about it; I’m a typical stupid, ignorant, racist, thicky dum-dum Brexit voter. Cos only imbecilic racist scumbags voted Brexit, amirite?

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://i.pinimg.com/736x/eb/8c/37/eb8c37e0ae5b5627d8ca68fda0bb92df.jpg

Random Images 36: Självmord #Random #RandomImages

SelfmurderGun.