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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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

The EU Referendum and Scottish Independence @vote_leave #TakeControl #Brexit #EUReferendum #indyref2 #indyref

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There has been much talk in the EU referendum that a vote for leave would trigger a second Scottish independence referendum. Why? The logic is that support for the EU is highest in Scotland (leave is currently polling at a mere 17%). Indeed, the idea of a second Scottish independence referendum makes sense; if the majority of the UK, and a majority of the other constituent nations, voted for leave, but a clear majority in Scotland voted remain, this would indeed legitimately raise the question of whether the UK still worked for Scotland (if indeed it ever did). Certainly, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, is fond of raising this point.

As a unionist, yet someone who is strongly for leave, this worries me.

However, two points are worth making.

  1. The SNP’s position is incoherent. On one hand, they persist in calling for independence from the UK (actually, methinks, from England; I reckon the SNP would be happy for Scotland to carry on alongside the other Celtic nations). They say Westminster is too far away and removed from the affairs of Scots, and that being an independent nation would enable politicians in Scotland to much better represent the people of Scotland. Their logic: how could a population of a mere five million make its voice heard in a larger nation of some 65 million? Yet at the same time, the SNP equally firmly persists in the notion that being integrated within the EU, a far larger polity with some 508 million people!, would lead to better representation for the Scottish people. I simply cannot get my head round this, and I have never heard a truly convincing argument for how this makes any sense.
  2. What if a majority of England votes for leave, but the UK as a whole votes remain? Does England then get an independence referendum to leave the UK? I suspect, from anecdotal evidence, that the percentage of Englishmen wanting to leave the UK is higher than the number of Scots who do!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/14/brexit-golden-opportunity-nicola-sturgeon-nightmare

EU Referendum and Bullying @BarackObama @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU #ProjectFear

U.S President Barack Obama, right, and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walk from 10 Downing Street, London after a meeting Friday, April, 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Nobody likes to be told what to do. Indeed, when you’re told you have to do something, very often it galvanises a kind of resistance. This starts in childhood. If you leave a child alone in a room with a biscuit for five minutes, they may eat it, they may not. But if you tell the child, “Do not eat this biscuit; if you do, all your hair will fall out!” then they will almost certainly have eaten it by the time you come back.

Childish? Maybe. But it’s also basic human psychology.

Therefore, the “Bremain” side of the EU Referendum are playing a dangerous game. Even if I wasn’t a Brexiter, the very fact that all the main political parties, many of the corporate interests, and individuals like Barack Obama are in favour of Bremain, would make me very suspicious indeed. Just why are the rich and powerful so against Brexit…? What are they trying to hide from us, hmm…? And to be honest, I’ve found the wheeling out of Obama to be a little offensive. I don’t need foreign leaders to tell me what to think, even if they’re so sexy and smooth they make me question my own heterosexuality.

Some facts now, not fear.

The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy. Plenty of countries trade with the EU and with other blocs and nations without having to accept the laws and a constant erosion of sovereignty. There is no “safe” status quo option in this referendum: the choices are ever closer integration (remain), or independence (leave). The EU was founded on the principal of creating a “kind of United States of Europe” — those are Winston Churchill’s words! (The European Union: A Very Short Introduction is a good short pro-EU primer on the EU including its founding principles)

So, thank you for your intervention, Mr Obama, but I have to tell you: YES WE CAN. Yes we can be free, yes we can be independent. We are a major player, and freedom will do nothing to hurt us. And YES YOU CAN: please stand with the chorus of elites who are trying to bully the British people. Hopefully we are so irked we vote for freedom, vote to leave.

In other news, so good to see Obama agree to give up the Dollar, pool sovereignty with South America, and have United States policy in all areas be dictated by non-US citizens.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/04/22/article-urn:publicid:ap.org:86a16f269734497ba5d7e288ab971169-2OYR8x2FaP50a802cebb41be018f-638_634x450.jpg

The EU Has NOT Kept the Peace in Europe #LoveEuropeHateEU @vote_leave @LeaveEUOfficial

aftermath-of-the-yugoslav-war

Contrary to the propaganda, the EU has not kept the peace in Europe. Look at the break-up of Yugoslavia and the tragic wars that followed. Rather, the EU is partly a product of the desire for the great European nations to not go to war with each other again. The desire to not go to war has prevented wars.

Yes, Europeans not wanting to slaughter each other yet again has kept the peace in Europe — when indeed it has been kept!. Not the EU. The EU is a symptom of that desire for peace, not a cause.

No more propaganda, please. Only facts.

#LoveEuropeHateEU

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://jerusalemstateofmind.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/aftermath-of-the-yugoslav-war.jpg

EU Referendum: Jeremy Corbyn @jeremycorbyn @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU

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I’m not a socialist, but I was over-the-moon when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. An outsider, an independent mind, a long-time principled campaigner, a kind of British Bernie Sanders. He was the sort of guy we needed to shake our politics up. I’m tired of these career politician clones; I have a lot of time for principled folk of all political stripes.

How disappointed I now am.

The past week has seen Corbyn throw away much of his respectability.

First there was the biggest non-issue in history: David Cameron’s finances. The guy is a wealthy plonkstain, for sure, but he didn’t do anything illegal. The headlines should be: MIDDLE CLASS MAN MAKES SOUND INVESTMENTS AND MODERATE GAINS. Corbyn demanding that Cameron should publish all of his records and be subject to a parliamentary official probe was the worst kind of political opportunism and wholly unbefitting a so-called man of principle. And no, I’m not even a Tory!

And now he’s chucked his credibility in the bin. The man is a lifetime opponent of the EU (here’s a great article outlining his consistent opposition to the EU). Yet since becoming Labour leader he has had a magical change of mind. This is the lowest and most see-through political opportunism ever. To save his own skin, he has sold out a core principle which he has always fought for. At a time when our nation’s future hangs in the balance, he has chosen career politics over the nation’s welfare and over his own principles.

The man has lost my respect. Not because he is now in favour of us staying in the EU, whereas I am a Brexiter. But because he has jettisoned his principles for political expediency.

His statement about the EU was full of non-sequiturs. Take the following.

EU membership has guaranteed working people vital employment rights including four weeks paid holiday, paternity and maternity leave, protection for agency workers, health and safety in the workplace. Being in the EU has raised our environmental standards… and protected consumers from rip-off charges.[1]

I won’t take the time to rip his argument to shreds in this post as it would turn into a lengthy screed. But it suffices to say that a lot has changed since we joined the European Community in 1973, 43 years ago! Y’know, two years after decimalisation, and six years before Margaret Thatcher even became PM! The implicit point in Corbyn’s statement is that we wouldn’t have developed equivalent or better standards in the last almost half century without being a member of the EU — otherwise, his statement makes no sense. However, he is quite wrong. That we have been a member of the EU means that, like other members, we have developed these standards within the framework of the EU. Correlation is not causation. The UK would very likely not be stuck in a 1973 timewarp had we not joined the European Economic Community — or had we left it in 1975 as Jeremy Corbyn himself campaigned for! We would have developed our own, likely very similar, standards.

It is said that a week is a long time in politics. Indeed it is. The days when Corbyn seemed like (read: was) a man of unwavering principle, above the muck and grime of day-to-day politics, are long gone.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36039925

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/139/590x/corbyn-641780.jpg

“Eurosceptic” @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU

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I really dislike the terms “Eurosceptic” and “leave Europe” and I don’t use them. I am against the UK being a member of the EU, I want the UK to leave the EU. But I have no issue with Europe.

Let’s be clear. The UK will not leave Europe; we are European. I am not against Europe.

I love Europe. I dislike the EU.

I am tired of this deliberate and sometimes accidental conflation of “Europe” and the “EU”, as if they were somehow the same thing. Europe is the magnificent continent whose peoples, languages, cultures, and achievements in both arts and sciences are unrivalled. The EU is the mostly well-intentioned but misguided political project which does not, has not, and will never serve Europe’s best interests.

I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU. I am not “Eurosceptic”; I’m “EUsceptic. Let’s stand up tall and proud as grown-ups, making our own decisions. Love Europe, hate the EU.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cicero-group.com/media-centre/reports/eu-referendum-the-question-for-the-uk-a-cicero-group-analysis/

EU Trade Law

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Scotland’s plan to introduce a 50p per unit of alcohol policy may infringe EU trade laws (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34133269).

I have been massively against Scotland pursuing this policy as I think it will damage the alcohol industry and also not help alcoholics at all. Rather, it will merely penalise poor people and is an easy way for the Scottish government to rinse the masses.

However, the idea that the EU can dictate to nations what they can and cannot do within their own borders is disgusting. The United Kingdom can do whatever the hell it pleases, and we please that Scotland has such rights. It is not for the EU to tell the UK or Scotland what we can do. People need to wake up to this reality: the EU simply does not exist to serve the democratic will or prerogative of nations, and never has — but rather, it exists to serve its own strengthening and survival.

And it is for a thousand “little” reasons like this that I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU in the forthcoming EU Referendum. No jingoism, no racism or hatred, just a belief that the people of a nation should decide their own fate.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/3224006627.jpg

General Election 2015 Predictions

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I’ve been saying this for weeks, but I’ll say it here so there’s proof of how prescient and insightful I am, so all will flock hither to worship at my feet. Unless I’m wrong, of course, in which case I’ll promptly delete this post and deny ever having written it!

  • Everyone’s talking about coalition. Will it be Conservative-LibDem? Or Labour-SNP? Or Labour-LibDem? Or a “progressive” coalition of  Labour, SNP, LibDem, and Green? I personally think one party will win outright; no coalition will happen.
  • Despite the polls and the poll of polls saying for a while now that Labour will win most seats (if not an outright majority), I think that the Conservatives will win an outright, albeit narrow, majority. P.S. This is not wishful thinking: I’m not a Tory!
  • UKIP MPs Douglas Carwell and Mark Reckless will both lose their seats. UKIP will win a grand total of 1 or 0 seats.

Friday will tell whether I am a genius, or this post never happened.

featured image from http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/media/images/81891000/jpg/_81891191_f40ce8ec-ccb8-4108-892b-50ae511a42d8.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Vote Hope, Not Fear

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Tomorrow, you will vote in a General Election.

All of the main parties are trying to scare you into voting for them.

The Conservatives tell you about the horror of a Labour-SNP coalition.

Labour tell you about the horror of a Conservative government which will cut, cut, cut.

The LibDems tell you about the horror of a hung parliament.

But I say:

VOTE HOPE, NOT FEAR.

Don’t vote to keep the other guy out.

Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils.

Vote for who you want to win. Even if it’s the Greens or UKIP and they won’t win anyway.

Be brave. Vote for your favourite candidate or party. Don’t vote for who you   wouldn’t hate the most to win: only by being brave like this, will we eventually change politics in this country.

featured image from http://www.newstatesman.com/sites/default/files/images/Salmond%20Miliband%20Call%20The%20Tune%20(3).jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry