No, you were not “elected”, Cameron – seven in nine eligible voters did not support you

Check out this garbage from the Tories, via William Hague:

“The choice before the Liberal Democrats … is whether to go in with the Labour Party in a government that would not be stable or secure, because it would rely on other minor parties for any parliamentary majority at all; that would have a second unelected prime minister in a row – something we believe would be unacceptable to the great majority of people in this country; – and which would impose voting reform without any consultation with the people of the country, something we believe to be profoundly undemocratic.

“Or they can choose to continue their talks with us, to make a coalition with the Conservative Party, which is on offer, in a government that would have a stable and secure parliamentary majority; a majority of 76 in the House of Commons, something highly desirable in our current economic situation; that would have an elected prime minister in David Cameron, the leader who obtained by far the most votes and seats in the General Election held last week; and which would say that any reform of our voting system must be subject to a referendum of the people of this country.”

How precisely was David Cameron “elected”? Yes, because the liberal vote was split between Labour and the Lib Dems he received more votes than each separately, but he received many many fewer than the two of them combined. His claim to having been “elected” is based on receiving fewer than half the seats, only a third of the vote, and – given that only two-thirds of Britons voted – the support of only two in nine eligible voters.

“Elected” indeed. I do not think that word means what you think it means, Bill.

As for “a referendum” on electoral reform, of course the Tories want that – they know they and their allies in the press could run a scare campaign about change that would have a good chance of defeating it. You probably could, in a situation where the majority of voters don’t really understand the difference between electoral systems and don’t have the time to sit down and think about it, convince them that it’s in their interests for the powerful incumbents to continue to dominate the country without its actual support. “If we have proportional representation our economy will collapse like Greece’s!” they’ll say, and have said, completely ignoring the dire state of the UK economy RIGHT NOW under the poor stewardship of the major parties. They might as well say “under proportional representation we’ll all be forced to speak Greek!” for all the sense of the line, but with the major tabloids screaming the idiocy so loudly that the voters presently disengaged precisely because they’ve given up on politics can’t think straight through all the noise, the lies and the smears and the half-truths and the outright misrepresentations – well, no wonder the Tories think they can get away with a “referendum”.

But this is the point: there’s nothing undemocratic about the government – and we’d be talking here about a majority of MPs very recently “elected” passing that measure in the national parliament – imposing a democratic system “without consultation” (without further consultation), provided that the results actually are democratic. Which, if they involved full proportional representation, multi-member electorates and preference voting, they would be. (They’d be even more democratic if they made voting compulsory, but maybe that’s one step too far for present Britain.) You can’t say that something’s “undemocratic” when the only change it would make is that voters would have an equal say in their government; that the parliament would clearly match what voters actually said when they cast their ballots.

The only way through this mess is for Nick Clegg to stay strong and resist the threats of the Powers That Be. His voters demanded one thing above all: real electoral reform. If he caves, then he’ll be no better than the old parties they trusted him to challenge.

UPDATE (14/5): Well, he did cave, and now the chances of real electoral reform look dim indeed. Consider – if the new Coalition is successful, then there goes the pressure for change. If it isn’t, then the line will be that coalitions cannot work and we must avoid proportional representation because it’ll make them more likely. Damned if it works, damned if it doesn’t.

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77 responses to “No, you were not “elected”, Cameron – seven in nine eligible voters did not support you

  1. Splatterbottom

    Given that the vast majority of voters didn’t demand ” real electoral reform”, how is it democratic for him to force it through?

    We had electoral reform which the independents forced through in NSW in the form of 4 year fixed term elections, and we are stuck with a corrupt incompetent Labour government who should have been thrown out at least a year ago.

  2. Wisdom Like Silence

    By his voters Jeremy meant Clegg’s voters SB. He seems to be doing a good job, and Brown is fucking around again, declaring he’s going to step down but only after Labour elect another un-elected leader.

  3. “Given that the vast majority of voters didn’t demand ” real electoral reform”, how is it democratic for him to force it through? “

    First of all, because almost all of his voters demanded that reform, and if he wants them to trust him with their vote again then he’d better do what he said he’d do.

    And secondly, because the reform itself is democratic. Unlike this election, the results from subsequent elections would actually tell you what the voters want.

    “We had electoral reform which the independents forced through in NSW in the form of 4 year fixed term elections, and we are stuck with a corrupt incompetent Labour government who should have been thrown out at least a year ago.”

    The independents didn’t force four year terms on anyone, Labor did that.

    And you’re stuck with THAT government because the Liberals are just as bad. If you had proportional representation and a reasonable chance for minor parties to build, you’d actually have another choice.

  4. Splatterbottom

    They held Labor to ransom. Labor caved in and the people of NSW got screwed.

  5. I doubt very much the minor parties asked for four year terms. Fixed terms, undoubtedly – four years between elections? Seems unlikely.

    Your source?

  6. Splatterbottom

    Greiner introduced four year terms under pressure from the independents.

  7. That seems to say they wanted fixed terms.

    Seems more likely that the four year thing was from Labor.

  8. Splatterbottom

    The former independent state MP John Hatton, along with Dr Peter Macdonald and Clover Moore, forced the government led by Nick Greiner to back four-year terms of government in 1991, when independents held the balance of power.

    Greiner was blackmailed on this. It didn’t work out as well as planned. There are always unintended consequences. Maybe we should provide for recall elections.

  9. I would never have supported four year terms. Far too long. There should be fixed three year terms.

  10. Splatterbottom

    Agreed.

  11. Splatterbottom

    Seems the Tories have offered to put electoral reform to a referendum. What could be fairer than that?

  12. Wisdom Like Silence

    …Just doing it?

  13. Splatterbottom

    So you don’t want people to vote on this issue?

  14. Did you not read the post, SB? It addresses this specifically. Do I need to repeat the points I made there in the comments?

  15. Splatterbottom

    Your post is bullshit on that point. This is a classic example of a minority using their balance of power position for their own advancement, pushing through something the electorate clearly didn’t give a mandate for at the election.

    It would be much more democratic, in the case of a fundamental change to the electoral system, to have the matter put separately to the people, where they can express their views on this single issue.

    Your cynical dissembling on this point shows that you are far more interested in a tawdry power grab than in actual democratic process.

    Unbelievable hypocrisy!

  16. “pushing through something the electorate clearly didn’t give a mandate for at the election.”

    The whole point is that the existing system distorts the result, so we don’t know “what the people want”.

    “Your cynical dissembling on this point shows that you are far more interested in a tawdry power grab than in actual democratic process.”

    So I do have to repeat the post. It’s not “undemocratic” to make the system respect the wishes of voters, which is all that the Lib Dems are demanding. It is indisputable that a preference-voting multi-member electorate system is far more democratic than the status quo. The only people who would oppose it are the powers that be – and, sadly, they presently have sufficient power in the media to thwart actual democracy on this point.

    But let’s be clear – “imposing” democracy is not undemocratic – it is democratic by definition.

    And, sorry, how’s it a “tawdry power grab” for the Lib Dems to receive a proportion of seats in parliament equal to the proportion of the vote they received? Why the hell shouldn’t they?

  17. Splatterbottom

    Why not let the people decide the terms of their voting system, or must they be subjected to your definition of democracy, oh great one?

    It is a power grab precisely because a minority party is pushing an agenda that will see them with more power and influence. If they really care about democracy they will let the people decide this fundamental constitutional issue!

  18. “Why not let the people decide the terms of their voting system, or must they be subjected to your definition of democracy, oh great one?”

    You know perfectly well how that would run. The establishment would massively corrupt such a referendum. The people are – largely as a result of the broken system – disengaged, and trained to think they deserve no better.

    Secondly, a referendum is unnecessary – there wasn’t a “referendum” for the establishment of the status quo, was there?

    Finally, parliament representing the community isn’t just “my” definition of democracy, it’s THE definition of democracy.

    How’s it “democratic” for the Lib Dems to receive 26% of the vote but only 9% of the seats?

    And a “power grab” would see them with more power than they deserve. Since all that’s proposed here is that they get exactly as much power as they deserve, it’s not a “power grab”.

  19. baldrickjones

    “You know perfectly well how that would run. The establishment would massively corrupt such a referendum. The people are – largely as a result of the broken system – disengaged, and trained to think they deserve no better.”

    So you basically think the unwashed masses are not capable of making up their own minds on an issue? You sure have a weird notion of democracy. You assume that for issues that you think are “right”, that they should just be passed – because if they aren’t, it isn’t that more people disagree with you, just they they were conned by the evil “establishment”.

  20. “So you basically think the unwashed masses are not capable of making up their own minds on an issue?”

    No, I think they should have their votes heard. Hence demanding an electoral system that will do that.

    (Hint: the status quo clearly is not that system.)

    No need for fudging or delay. Just as the existing system was never put to a referendum, nor needs the replacement – provided that it does in fact leave each Briton with a full and equal say in their government. Which it obviously and indisputably does, and much more democratically than the present one.

    How can anyone seriously argue that making sure the system results in parties winning seats in parliament commensurate with their support in the electorate is “undemocratic”?

    The Tories only want the referendum fudge because they know how difficult it is to get referenda passed, particularly on an esoteric issue like electoral systems. And since their transparent aim is to continue to disenfranchise UK voters, that’s all that they’re proposing.

    No way should Nick Clegg support that party’s cynical contempt for the voters.

  21. Splatterbottom

    You know perfectly well how that would run. The establishment would massively corrupt such a referendum. The people are – largely as a result of the broken system – disengaged, and trained to think they deserve no better.

    This is the pure essence of leftism – the people don’t know what is good for them, and certainly can’t be trusted to decide the matter for themselves. Instead they get exactly what their masters give them, haggled for in a private back room where the venal power-mongers stroke the overblown egos of the vain and self-righteous.

    FFS, just read what you wrote. It may help your green credentials, but it has nothing to do with common sense or democratic prinicple. You sound like the Queen of Hearts!:

    Finally, parliament representing the community isn’t just “my” definition of democracy, it’s THE definition of democracy.

    So you think you know the definition of democracy, and people aren’t allowed to choose any other method of electing their representatives!

    In other words we mustn’t give people the opportunity to determine the details of the electoral system because they might choose something not to the liking of the minor parties!

    I weep for your sanity!

  22. A system that would more accurately map votes to seats is hard to argue rationally against.

  23. Wisdom Like Silence

    Upset the status quo because the status is not…qou.

  24. lol. Cameron doesn’t care if it’s a mess, as long as he rules it.

    From the post –
    ““If we have proportional representation our economy will collapse like Greece’s!” they’ll say, and have said, completely ignoring the dire state of the UK economy RIGHT NOW under the poor stewardship of the major parties. They might as well say “under proportional representation we’ll all be forced to speak Greek!” for all the sense of the line, but with the major tabloids screaming the idiocy so loudly that the voters presently disengaged precisely because they’ve given up on politics can’t think straight through all the noise, the lies and the smears and the half-truths and the outright misrepresentations – well, no wonder the Tories think they can get away with a “referendum”.”

    There is nothing undemocratic about insisting on democracy, ever, SB.

    Saying you should be democratic about an undemocratic system is like saying it’s intolerant not to tolerate intolerance.

    You haven’t given any reason why proportional representation and multi-member electorates would be “undemocratic”, regardless of whether it’s enacted by parliament or not, and the reason for that is obvious: it could never be undemocratic to implement a democratic system, by definition.

  25. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy if you respected democracy at all you would have no problem with putting this issue of constitutional significance to the people.

    That you do not demonstrates that you have no respect for democracy at all. You are just another whore fucking for virginity.

  26. It’s like he can’t read. He just keeps ignoring the point I’m making to spout the bullshit to which I’ve already responded.

    YOU DO NOT NEED A REFERENDUM TO MAKE A SYSTEM DEMOCRATIC. Making it democratic is by itself democratic, even without a referendum.

    Say you held a referendum and you couldn’t get a majority to favour actual democracy – how would that be democratic? You can’t democratically choose not to be democratic! That doesn’t make any sense.

    It’s like being tolerant of intolerance – that’s not being tolerant!

    Address my point, SB.

  27. “this issue of constitutional significance to the people.”

    And yet you don’t need to change the constitution to change the voting system. This has good and bad aspects.

  28. Blast Tyrant

    I agree with Jeremy. Seriously, as if the Murdoch owned press would not distort the situation and cause some people to vote NAY based on lies and cause others to not bother giving up a few hours to do so.
    To believe the media (owned mainly by people who give financial backing to the major parties) would have no influence is just ridiculous.

  29. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, my point isn’t that the current system ought to be maintained. Nor is it that a referendum on this issue is necessary, merely that it is preferable to let the people decide directly on an important constitutional issue such as this.

    To argue that you can’t trust the people to make the right decision is a clear and simple example of the intellectual arrogance that characterises those who would foist there vision on the rest of us.

    There are many reasons why some systems are preferable to others, even though they are all more or less ‘democratic’. There are practical matters to consider like stability and the case of replacing a government that is a monumental failure. Or people may be happier to live with the current system rather than to risk change.

    A system that allows the biggest loser party to hold the country to ransom every election cycle may not be everyone’s cup of tea. While arguably more representative, to say that that is ‘democracy’ and everything else betrays an unbelievable level of hypocrisy. On the other hand, people may be happy with a system of rolling coalitions.

    My point is that there is no reason on earth why they should not decide this issue directly. The only reason you oppose this is that you are scared the people may not agree with you!

    AU, if you knew anything about the UK constitution, you would not make such an obvious but irrelevant point. My issue is with Jeremy’s hysterical fear of letting the people vote directly on this important issue.

  30. Splatterbottom

    BT, you sound like an old Commo decrying false consciousness – saying in effeft that you really can’t trust the people, so the elites must rule.

    The existence of a free press uncontrolled by the leftist worthies that run the ABC is not an excuse for eroding democracy.

  31. ‘There are many reasons why some systems are preferable to others, even though they are all more or less ‘democratic’. There are practical matters to consider like stability and the case of replacing a government that is a monumental failure. Or people may be happier to live with the current system rather than to risk change.”

    If they democratically voted for non-democracy, then THAT’S NOT DEMOCRATIC.

    “Or people may be happier to live with the current system rather than to risk change.”

    That’s not good enough – it would effectively be the majority disenfranchising the minority. That’s not just, or democratic.

    “My point is that there is no reason on earth why they should not decide this issue directly. The only reason you oppose this is that you are scared the people may not agree with you!”

    I’m scared that they’re disengaged and will be fed a campaign of lies and misinformation by the powers that be, yes. Are you seriously denying that?

    That’s a devastating problem if it results in democracy being defeated.

    “A system that allows the biggest loser party to hold the country to ransom every election cycle may not be everyone’s cup of tea. “

    That’s the status quo, not the proposed reform.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Defining the current UK system as a non-democracy is the last refuge of a pedant. This is the thread on which your whole case hangs, like a dangleberry about to drop and plop.

    There are many voting systems which may be broadly described as democratic. The UK system is one of them. The only reason you deny this is that it is in your political interests to do so! You sir are an intellectual fraud grasping at the coattails of power.

  33. Explain to me how it’s in any way “democratic” for a party receiving 23% of the votes to receive fewer than 9% of the seats in parliament.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Under our system, if a party got 40% of the overall vote, and 40% of the vote in each electorate it may not win any seats. Or in the US a party can get 49% of the presidential vote, but have no members in the cabinet and neither the presidency nor the vice-presidency.

  35. Neither of which are properly democratic.

    At least we have preference voting, so you can vote for a minor party without helping the major party you dislike the most.

    But yes, we should have multi-member electorates too, and our system is not particularly democratic in the interim. Still much more democratic than the US or UK systems.

    Oh, please give me a definition of “democracy” that does not make a system where the proportion of seats are closer to the proportion of votes more “democratic”.

  36. Splatterbottom

    Funnily enough, or perhaps not, you are defining democracy as the outcome which you prefer, the outcome which most empowers minor parties.

    You then proceed to deny the people the right to choose any other system.

    Don’t you see a problem with this?

  37. “Funnily enough, or perhaps not, you are defining democracy as the outcome which you prefer, the outcome which most empowers minor parties. “

    One which gives them the same representation as their votes, you mean.

    You make it sound like the Lib Dems didn’t deserve 23% of the seats from 23% of the vote.

    Who on Earth has the right to deprive those voters of their representation?

    What you’re suggesting is like a robber saying “hey, don’t I get a vote in whether I’m allowed to take this guy’s stuff or not?”

    “You then proceed to deny the people the right to choose any other system.”

    You can’t “choose” to be undemocratic, by definition – what you’re describing is the majority disenfranchising the minority, which is in itself undemocratic.

    I maintain that the definition of “democracy” above is objective.

    Give me an alternative one.

  38. Splatterbottom

    Your argument is shallow and short-sighted. It misses the point. There is more to democracy than a system of electing a government, although that is one component of democracy. I assume this discussion is focussing on that component alone.

    The purpose of electing a government is to provide a means of political decision making. You maintain that anything short of multi-member electorates is not democracy. This is an extreme and self-serving viewpoint. Your use of the word ‘disenfranchised’ is as totally dishonest as is your definition of democracy. Disenfranchised means not having a vote. It doesn’t mean actually voting, but for the losing candidate. You can’t win an argument by saying “words mean exactly what I say they mean, no more and no less” like some demented Humpty Dumpty.

    By your retarded definition the UK, the US and Australia are not democracies. Well uh ….. OK I guess. You win the argument then. But only in the sense that a lunatic wins every argument in his own mind.

  39. Blast Tyrant

    Yes SB, proportional democracy = eroding democracy.
    And of course the Herald Sun has no impact on the voting publics opinion on refugees for example.

    I’m not saying that people are zombies or robots that just believe any shit they read but clearly big business controls most of the media and big business is against the reform and peoples ideas can be informed by corporate media.
    To deny this is pure fantasy land.

    I also don’t see how the media is free. For somebody to voice their opinions in the so called free media they need a shit load of cash.

    You on the other hand just think that anything you disagree = left, which = bad.
    This whole bullshit about the ABC being left if about exhibit G.

    Anyway, im done feeding the troll for today.

  40. “There is more to democracy than a system of electing a government, although that is one component of democracy. “

    Why, indeed. Which is why making the system more democratic is not “a tawdry power grab” and however else you’ve mischaracterised it above – it would only be such if it resulted in someone receiving power above their support.

    Imposing a democratic system is not imposing tyranny.

    “Disenfranchised means not having a vote. It doesn’t mean actually voting, but for the losing candidate. “

    Who said it did?

    But preventing people from being represented in proportion with their votes, that’s disenfranchisement.

    And that’s what you’re banking on the supporters of the establishment parties doing to the voting rights of the supporters of minority parties.

    “By your retarded definition the UK, the US and Australia are not democracies. “

    You’re yet to give a better definition, for transparent reasons.

    But no – they’re approximations of democracies, and – in the case of the UK and US in particular – not very good ones.

    How’s it democratic for large percentages of the population to be unrepresented simply because they’re spread over a wide geographic area?

  41. Other questions put to SB and ignored:

    * Who on Earth has the right to deprive those voters of their representation?
    * please give me a definition of “democracy” that does not make a system where the proportion of seats are closer to the proportion of votes more “democratic”.
    * I’m scared that they’re disengaged and will be fed a campaign of lies and misinformation by the powers that be, yes. Are you seriously denying that?

    …and many more.

  42. Splatterbottom

    BT, you are too funny, of course the ABC is leftist. Perhaps not by your far out standards, but in terms of Australian political opinion they are a leftist organisation.

    Jeremy: Imposing a democratic system is not imposing tyranny.

    The problem is with the ‘imposing’ instead of letting the people decide. Imposing is a word that slips lightly from the totalitarian tongue, but repulses most people.

    Who on Earth has the right to deprive those voters of their representation?

    They vote, and the person with the most votes wins. People are entitled to vote, but not necessarily to have they will be done.

    please give me a definition of “democracy” that does not make a system where the proportion of seats are closer to the proportion of votes more “democratic”.

    Democracy is a wide concept, of which representative government is one compent. Representative government involves the people choosing their government every few years by popular vote. There are many methods of electing governments. The people should be able to choose the one they prefer. Jeremy thinks they shouldn’t have this choice, and if they don’t choose his system then they don’t deserve to vote, and he will choose it for them!

    I’m scared that they’re disengaged and will be fed a campaign of lies and misinformation by the powers that be, yes. Are you seriously denying that?

    I am confident that people will make a rational choice as to the means by which they elect their representatives. I don’t know what that will be, but I am happy to let them decide. They are not so easily manipulated as to need a fucking leftist to impose ‘democracy’ on them. If they perceive that one system will lead to a better and more stable government, they are entitled to choose that system. The lies and misinformation are all encapsulated in the arbitrary definitions you use to manipulate this discussion.

  43. Wisdom Like Silence

    He might not have been elected, but Nick Clegg and the Queen have decided he’s not such a bad sort.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/12/2896999.htm

    Oh well, maybe in 10 or so years they might do something about electoral reform.

  44. “The problem is with the ‘imposing’ instead of letting the people decide. Imposing is a word that slips lightly from the totalitarian tongue, but repulses most people.”

    It’s not an easy word at all – it’s the word you’d use, I was just trying to help you see that whatever you call it – imposing, applying, implementing, enacting a system that is more democratic can never be undemocratic or tyrannical.

    “Democracy is a wide concept, of which representative government is one compent. Representative government involves the people choosing their government every few years by popular vote. There are many methods of electing governments. The people should be able to choose the one they prefer.”

    You completely ignored the robber analogy.

    You want the majority to be able to deprive the minority of representation in parliament.

    It’s like asking a thief to vote on whether he can take someone’s handbag.

    We’re not talking about a Presidential vote, where there’s one office that only one person can hold. We’re talking about a 650 seat “parliament”, and there’s no good reason why those seats shouldn’t be divided as the voters clearly wish.

    Further, I note that you’ve still not defined “democracy”.

    In what way is parliament proportionally representing the votes cast not more “democratic” than the status quo?

    “The lies and misinformation are all encapsulated in the arbitrary definitions you use to manipulate this discussion.”

    Feel free to provide an alternative.

  45. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, the alternative to what you are putting is that the people decide the electoral arrangements for themselves. Because you fear they might not agree with you, you are (like any good totalitarian) not prepared to trust them in this.

    The robber analogy is complete bollocks. Nobody is being robbed of their vote. And everyone can stand for election. The one with the most votes wins. There is no guarantee that the person you vote for should win.

    I don’t get your obsession with ‘democracy’ when this discussion is about one component of democracy namely representative government. If you define democracy as merely multi-member electorates you have completely lost the plot.

    Democracy also includes freedom of speech and rule of law. The rule of law should include such things as due process rights, civil laws to regulate property rights and interactions citizens have with each other and a criminal law strong enough to protect citizens, while allowing them full liberty consistent with the liberty of others.

    These necessary aspects of democracy place limits on the laws the people can agree among themselves to impose, so that they could not, for example, agree to impose a law which denied due process to a particular group of people.

    Now, back to the issue representative government. Your position is that if the electoral system doesn’t provide for multi-member electorates, cannot be democratic, by which I think you mean that it would not amount to representative government. My position is that that is one of the many possible methods by which the criterion of representative government may be satisfied, and people should be free to choose other methods electing governments if they wish.

  46. “Jeremy, the alternative to what you are putting is that the people decide the electoral arrangements for themselves. Because you fear they might not agree with you, you are (like any good totalitarian) not prepared to trust them in this. “

    I fear that a “majority” might choose to disenfranchise the minority, as at present.

    ‘The robber analogy is complete bollocks. Nobody is being robbed of their vote. And everyone can stand for election. The one with the most votes wins. There is no guarantee that the person you vote for should win.”

    When did I say they should? I said that each person’s vote should be of equal value in terms of the representation achieved – 23% of voters receiving less than 9% of seats is a complete contradiction of that principle.

    The existing electoral system in the UK
    - requires voters to guess which candidate has the best chance in their electorate of beating the candidate they dislike the most, and therefore changes their vote from one of seeking a representative to one of tactically trying to defeat the worst candidate; and
    - wastes votes across electorates so they have no value.

    Preference voting would fix the first strike against democracy, multi-member electorates the second.

    The only argument against these is a profoundly undemocratic line that minority party votes should be wasted and ignored because we need “stability”. THAT is the majority disenfranchising the minority.

    “I don’t get your obsession with ‘democracy’ when this discussion is about one component of democracy namely representative government. If you define democracy as merely multi-member electorates you have completely lost the plot.”

    I didn’t. I defined it as a system where the parliament represents the voters – the present one doesn’t.

    “Democracy also includes freedom of speech and rule of law. The rule of law should include such things as due process rights, civil laws to regulate property rights and interactions citizens have with each other and a criminal law strong enough to protect citizens, while allowing them full liberty consistent with the liberty of others.”

    I agree with all of those, but they’re not “democracy” and are quite irrelevant to this discussion.

    “These necessary aspects of democracy place limits on the laws the people can agree among themselves to impose, so that they could not, for example, agree to impose a law which denied due process to a particular group of people.”

    Except that you’re advocating that they agree to impose an electoral system that denies equal votes to a particular group of voters.

    “Now, back to the issue representative government. Your position is that if the electoral system doesn’t provide for multi-member electorates, cannot be democratic, by which I think you mean that it would not amount to representative government.”

    My point is that it’s much LESS democratic than one which does have multi-member electorates, for the reasons stated above. Which is self-evident.

    “My position is that that is one of the many possible methods by which the criterion of representative government may be satisfied, and people should be free to choose other methods electing governments if they wish.”

    Your position is that you want the majority to continue to screw over the minority in this most fundamental of human rights.

  47. Splatterbottom

    Somehow you seem to think that if a person votes for an unsuccessful candidate, that person is disenfranchised. My view is that if people can vote on an equal basis, they are not disenfranchised, even if the person they vote for is not elected.

    It is true that multi-member electorates provide a greater chance for minor parties to have candidates elected. However, I am not sure that this is such a significant matter that it all systems without this outcome are undemocratic. It is certainly not in the same category as robbery.

  48. “Somehow you seem to think that if a person votes for an unsuccessful candidate, that person is disenfranchised.”

    No, if they vote for a candidate in numbers which should result in a certain proportion of representation but are denied it, then they’re disenfranchised.

    It took more than three times as many Lib Dem votes to elect a Lib Dem MP than a Tory or Labour one. It took more than nine times as many Green votes.

    QED.

    “It is certainly not in the same category as robbery.”

    You’re not very good with analogies, are you?

    The point was that you don’t ask the person taking something away from you (the majority, in the analogy “a robber”) to vote on whether they get to keep taking something away from you (an equal chance to be represented, in the analogy “your wallet”).

    There’s no point in a vote on this – if it’s passed, then they might as well have just enacted it; if it’s not, then what’s happened is the majority has continued to deny the minority of their democratic rights.

  49. Splatterbottom

    Except that you’re advocating that they agree to impose an electoral system that denies equal votes to a particular group of voters.

    This is of course the purest bullshit. Clearly votes should be of equal value, and equally clearly I have said nothing to the contrary.

    The difference between us is that I am not a partisan fanatic, hell-bent on advancing the interests of my faction. I do think the UK system could do with reform, and that the proper arbiters of this process are the people. Obviously the representatives of the people also agree, which is why it appears they have agreed to put the matter to a referendum.

  50. Splatterbottom

    You must really be weeping for the BNP. How much were their votes worth?

  51. “This is of course the purest bullshit. Clearly votes should be of equal value, and equally clearly I have said nothing to the contrary.”

    Lib Dems – 23% vote, less than 9% seats.
    Conservatives – 36.1%, 47% of the seats.

    That’s not one vote one value.

    “The difference between us is that I am not a partisan fanatic, hell-bent on advancing the interests of my faction.”

    Nor am I.

    “Obviously the representatives of the people also agree, which is why it appears they have agreed to put the matter to a referendum.”

    The powers that be agree, because they’re confident they can defeat it with a combination of scare campaigns, outright lies and general ignorance and misinformation, and that therefore their privilege will continue.

    Let’s hope they’re wrong.

  52. And the BNP is a prime example of how this isn’t self-interest – I think the BNP should have seats in proportion with their vote (in this last election, double the Greens), even though I despise what they stand for.

  53. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy:

    Lib Dems – 23% vote, less than 9% seats.
    Conservatives – 36.1%, 47% of the seats.

    That’s not one vote one value.

    A very odd interpretation of the phrase “one vote one value” indeed.

    So, do you think the method of election of each house of parliament should be the same?

  54. I think they should be as democratic as possible. The bare minimum is preference voting and some form of multi-member electorates – the Lib Dems should accept nothing less than a system that would give minor parties roughly equivalent numbers in the parliament as per their votes.

    An upper house might have value as a longer-term house – eg lower house fixed term 3 year terms, upper house 6 year terms, with half alternating like in the Senate here.

    In any case, single member electorates and first past the post are not real democracy, as the UK results show.

  55. Splatterbottom

    If you are going to have the same method of election, isn’t one of them redundant? Or if they serve different purposes, why not reflect this in different voting arrangements?

  56. There’s nothing undemocratic about having different periods – a lower house that’s elected more regularly, and an upper house that reflects some stability. Provided that both represent the electorates when they’re elected.

  57. Splatterbottom

    Do you see the idea of the Senate as a states’ house as democratic?

  58. Not particularly: no reason why Tasmanians should have more voting power than Victorians.

  59. Wisdom Like Silence

    A Territorian’s vote is worth half of the rest of the country. That and our votes arent rated as useful, except for when the fed government wants to do something nasty to aboriginals.

  60. Christ, in addition to making Cameron PM, the Lib Dems have insisted on fixed five year terms.

    At least with preference voting, if the referendum isn’t defeated by Tory scaremongering, voters of other parties can finally support someone new. Someone who’ll insist on full proportional representation.

    BTW, SB, the Lib Dems appear to be like our old Democrats – no centre-left party would’ve got into bed with the conservatives like that. So, again, what I’m saying should be implemented here is not for my own benefit – the Lib Dems would not be my party.

  61. Splatterbottom

    What you mean is that no divisive idologue would form a coalition with the Tories.

    Some people are prepared to take a pragmatic approach to progress some of their agenda.

    The UK position will be interesting to watch.

  62. “What you mean is that no divisive idologue would form a coalition with the Tories. “

    No, no party that stands for the opposite of the Tories would pretend that they can represent their voters and Tory voters at the same time.

  63. Splatterbottom

    On the other hand it may be that intelligent people of goodwill can work together for the benefit of the country. Maybe things aren’t so black and white outside outside the minds of fevered fanatics?

  64. I’m assuming goodwill – the point is that you can’t simultaneously do opposite things, which is what the Tories and LibDems have promised their voters.

  65. Splatterbottom

    Now they are in government their obligation is to the whole country, not just those who voted for them. If they can drag their minds away from tribal loyalty, they may come up with some good policies. Let’s see how the new accord works out.

    What to you might seem like hopeless compromise might produce an outcome broadly acceptable to the electorate. Or it might not.

  66. “Now they are in government their obligation is to the whole country, not just those who voted for them.”

    What’s your basis for that? That’s not how representative democracy works at all.

  67. Splatterbottom

    Are you insane?

    The role of the government is to serve the people. This means all of the people, not just the people who voted for the winning party.

    As Ben Franklin said: “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.”

  68. No, the role of a parliament is for each member to represent the policies and positions it put to the electorate before an election. There’s no onus on any party, on any MP, to support a proposal put by any other party, by any MP.

  69. Splatterbottom

    You really are insane! Each parliamentarian represents their electorate. That is all the people in the electorate. The fact that they may choose to do so by supporting policies previously announced does not detract from the fact that they are there to serve all of their constituents.

    To the extent that they serve only their own supporters they commit a fraud on their office. In making national decisions they are obliged to consider the interests of all citizens.

  70. They serve all their constituents by doing what they said they’d do.

    When I said “represent” their policies, perhaps for clarity I ought to have said – represent the electorate by advocating for the policies they promised to use their votes to implement.

  71. Splatterbottom

    I agree with that, but there is a lot of work they do that is not covered by their policies. In that they should consider the best interests of their electorate as a whole. And when they can’t completely get their own way, it is quite legitimate to compromise in some areas.

  72. What areas aren’t covered by their policies? If they didn’t specify it before the election, what right do they have to vote for something? How do they know what their voters wanted?

  73. Splatterbottom

    There are many things that may arise during a parliamentary term that aren’t covered by policies – a natural disaster, a war or an economic crisis for example. Even if policies exist, a change in circumstances may require them to be modified. In the end politicians owe the electorate their judgment, having regard to the interests of the electorate as a whole.

    Good politicians spend time in their electorates, dealing with issues people bring to them, and serving the voters equally, whether or not they voted for the politician.

  74. ‘There are many things that may arise during a parliamentary term that aren’t covered by policies – a natural disaster, a war or an economic crisis for example.”

    Oh, events – well, obviously MPs need to react in accordance with previously-stated approaches to those issues. You’d hope the party you were voting for made it pretty clear from where it’s coming on most major issues that would arise – does any political party seriously not have a general position on the sort of conflicts (if any) it would support?

    Nobody’s disputing that politicians should do what they believe is best for the country. But presumably that’s what they advocated before the election.

  75. Splatterbottom

    So if Rudd announced prior to election that he would not touch the health insurance rebate, and then decides to means test it, that would be wrong in all circumstances?

  76. Can’t think of a circumstance in which that wouldn’t be “wrong” – care to describe one?

    By “wrong” you mean “something his voters should be angry about and a ground on which they could refuse to vote for him next time”?

  77. Splatterbottom

    Well that of course.

    But I never liked middle class welfare, and if a politician has an attack of common sense and decides to change their mind, I’m not that fussed about it.

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