Longer-term governments and elections

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by SparkySteve, Aug 5, 2008.

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  1. I was wondering about this the other day, with talk of how Labour is going to try and swing the electorate back round to keeping them in power and with proposals such as "Temporarily deferring stamp duty" (Although this could be aimed at keeping the housing economic alive rather than winning votes, admittedly), would there be any mileage in having an election that would bring a government to power for a longer term, say 10 or 20 years to give them time to put in long-standing plans and economic strategies?

    I say this, as it seems that a government would spend the better part of it's first term righting the "mistakes" of the previous government, or, would be finding that it had been in power for a number of years before something the previous government had decided to do (Privatize the power/gas industry, leave out any plans to extend capacity) and then being stuck with finding a solution.

    I appreciate that caveats would need to be in place so that if a government (Or even individual departments) was failing it could be rectified. Could that be integrated into a live "Approval meter" based on a website which triggers an election or calls for dismissal if it dips to a certain point?

    I'm wondering if a government would be working more efficiently if it was to be planning for 20years rather than "firefighting" to win votes.

    Or is this a silly suggestion and we should keep the current system in place?
  2. Why? Neu Lie-bore are fcuked anyway. Nothing they do or say between now and 2010 when they have to go for election by law, will save them. Even if they dump Pa 'Gollum' Brown and replace his with the 'Boy' Mili-band, Ed ' Cojones' Balls, Harriette Har-Person or even bring back '2-Shaggs'.... they are all b*ggered into the Garbgae Can of History. They will languish as Her Maj's Loyal Oppostion for years.

    Like all previous Labour Governments, they have left the Public Finances in a mess, and they don't know what to do.... Oh yes they do! Blame it all on them Nasty Torys!!

    I often joke about this.... But they could do a Mugabwe and vote themselves into office for good by declaring a national emgergency..... But I doubt that Pa Brown and pals would be stupid enough to pull a stunt like this!! :?
  3. Sparkey,

    This Gobement has had 11 years. The 5 year system still allows longer term government but with a get out clause for the people. If after 5 years they can't implement some longer term strategy and convince us they are on a winner - out with them. Also electing a government for 20 years - there would have to be some major personnel change over - Thatchers 1987 win would only have come to an end last year!
  4. Vote for me and I promise you a thousand year English Reich! Joking aside, I think election dates should be set in concrete to prevent governments delaying the inevitable and they should always be triggered if governments go back on election manifesto promises (Lisbon Treaty/Constitution referendum a case in point) or a change of PM, or do anything that impacts on the democratic rights of the people. They work for us after all, not the other way round.
  5. Perish the thought of a 20 year elected administration, policy ideas go stale within 3 years so what 20 years would look like is difficult to imagine.

    I know there are people who dont like coalition government especially on the italian model, but Holland has a good system by which the constituent parts of the coalition governement set long term goals and agree that no matter who runs the administration the goals are set in stone and achieved. Its why Germany, Holland and France have infrastructure that is world leading.

    Far better than here where the first 5 years of a new administration is used to unpick the previous administrations damage! Its perhaps why public transport in this country is nearly 50 years behind all our european partners.
  6. Brown can't extend the life of parliament beyond five years, even if he declared a national emergency - HMQ would need to say yes to it. I doubt she would. More likely, HMQ would fire him, safe in the knowledge that this is the one occasion when the monarch can exercise her prerogative of dissolving parliament without the risk of a constitutional crisis.

    While HMQ's right to fire the PM and/or dissolve parliament in other circumstances is potentially controversial (depending upon which constitutional expert you ask), her role in defending the time that a government can go without an election by removing it and dissolving parliament is pretty universally agreed to be outside this caveat.

    Bear in mind that the National Government of the 1930s faced general elections, and the state of emergency in terms of the economy then was much worse than now (give Broon time, though...). The only way he might gain an extension would be if he could persuade Angela Merkel to invade Poland, and that isn't going to happen anytime soon, I'd have thought...
  7. I am slapping myself but the Cad is right a fixed term and fixed election dates...
  8. Elections should be held every year! If the loons if power at the time are doing a good job, they get to stay on for another twelvemonth. If not, the next lot get voted in and the cycle's repeated.

    Ah, I hear you say, it takes so long for the folks to suss the jobs they have to do, that it wouldn't be fair to them. My answer to that? First off, the shadow cabinet should be keeping itself up to speed anyway, but if the other folks need at least a year to learn the ropes, they shouldn't be doing the job anyway. I mean, would you honestly employ some person who said they'd need a year to learn the job?

  9. Unless I am mistaken this government has had a good run in office and the previous Tory government had an even longer run. So in my opinion giving them a term of 20 years not needed.

    Dont vote for the cnuts it just encourages them and besides that, its just like changing deckchairs or The Titanic
  10. There is a fixed term already - five years maximum. Governments seem to go for five these days only when they're on their uppers in some way (Callaghan, Major and probably this one), but they're well within their rights to do so.

    Fixed dates for elections are problematic since they don't allow flexibility in the event of changed circumstances.

    You could, for instance, have an unpopular government lose its majority (say) three years in to the term of office thanks to by-election defeats/defections and then having (say) two more years being loathed.

    The PM, knowing that a kicking at the next election is due then ensures his government make a spectacular mess of things so that the next government will be unpopular when the election date - which is already known - comes around, increasing his chance of success at that point (or at least that of his party).

    Other factors might come into play as well - imagine, for instance, that two weeks before the fixed date, we have major floods, the result of which is to make it impossible for voting to be held in the affected areas on the date laid down. Do the people who were flooded have to accept being disenfranchised under the fixed date system, whereas under the current one, the government postpones the election date by a couple of weeks so that it is possible to set up polling stations/deliver ballot boxes, etc? You might suggest having a clause allowing delay in the event of some emergency, but who decides whether a serious situation is an emergency, or whether delay is required? HMQ? A cross-party committee? An unelected quango of independent experts (run at considerable cost, no doubt)?

    Far better to say that you have five years max to implement your programme and you can decide whether or not to put your record to the test after about four if you want to - not least since you might have implemented your main manifesto commitments after four years, and want to seek a mandate for the next phase of your reforms/steady and she goes approach/legislative framework.

    Elections every year would be a bad thing - the administrative costs would be substantial. Second, there are some things that will take more than a year to achieve, or which cannot be imposed during the course of a parliament. Governments would be re-elected by default, or they would embark upon even more short-termist approaches to things than they do now in a bid to be re-elected. It'd be utter chaos.
  11. I agree that some programmes would require more than a year. However, I disagree that elections every year would be a bad thing, just because of an ostensible rise in administrative costs. Anyway, to tout that as given and not an opinion is a bit disingenuous, since it's never been tried.

    What it would do, in my opinion, is to keep the gobment on the straight and narrow. First off, it would effectively prevent them from welching on their campaign promises, which is what they all habitually do as soon as they have the bit between their teeth. Secondly it would lead to much greater transparency in gobment, for they'd have to present viable reasons (i.e. good-for-the-country reasons) for their measures and not attempt to thinly disguise the fact that they're only trying to get one over on the opposition (see 42-day detention and other nonsense). Thirdly, and again only in my opinion, it would lead to far less wastage in gobment and also to programmes that really do benefit the most people, instead of only their bosom buddies/"special friends.

  12. With this government's record on electoral fraud the thought of elections on an annual basis is frightening, and with potential lowering of the voting age the possibilities are frightening. We are almost a banana republic, if it werent for HM the Queen.
  13. Well, one thing absolutely certain about the date of the next General Election is that it's getting closer!

    In order to make your own voting choice when the time comes, you must be registered to vote.

    Registration as a service voter now lasts for three years, which is guaranteed to include the date of the next General Election.


    Leaving the services? Remember that any Service Voter registration lapses on termination and you must re-register with your local Electoral Registration Office to be eligible to vote in future. www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
  14. My own pet idea is an all by-election system in which 2-3 MPs are elected each week, with each MP serving approximately 5 years.

    The idea is:

    The government would be continuously facing a verdict on it performance, at the moment Labour would be seeing its majority shrink each week, which would concentrate some minds. If a government persisted in screwing up it would lose its majority is a short time.

    It would be impossible for the party machine to do much at each election, so things would become much more local. The candidate would count for a lot more and he would have to address local issues, this would make the MPs more independent after they have been elected. There would also be more scope for normal people (i.e. not professional politicians) to get involved in the process.
  15. My mother voted Liberal all her life.
    She voted that way because her Parents where Liberal voters and for no reason to do with Policy.
    As a Kid I was taught, Your working class therefore your Labour, that was by all my mates who had been brought up that way.
    It was mid 70's before I was old enough to have some idea of Politics then I started to vote for The Conservative and Unionist Party.
    I do think voters should be mid 20's before the are enfranchised.
    All this talk of lowering the voting age to 16 is pure Labour Bull.