Tag Archives: Conservatives

UK may have no say on EU top job, frontrunner warns

Re: UK may have no say on EU top job, frontrunner warns

European Commission President hopeful Jean-Claude Juncker suggests British people aren’t getting a vote on who becomes President but ignores one fundamental problem: the British people never get a vote and neither do the rest of Europe’s citizens. Ridiculously, this is the first time that the Commission President has been installed by elected members (MEPs). Former Presidents have all been selected by state leaders, a woefully undemocratic process.

But the new system isn’t very democratic either. Parties with MEPs form “super-parties” in the European Parliament and it’s the controlling “super-party” that gets to decide who is the Commission President. In this instance, that’s the European People’s Party

With 274 MEPs out of 766 in the European Parliament belonging to the EPP, it’s quite obvious that the decision on the EC President lies with a group of MEPs who have been voted into their roles by a tiny proportion of the electorate.

Here’s the maths (approximate, based on data from Wikipedia);

  • Electorate: 500 million
  • Turnout: 43.24%
  • Number of people who voted: 216.2 million
  • Percentage of vote won by EPP: 36%
  • Number of votes for EPP: 77.832 million
  • Percentage of electorate who voted for EPP: 15.57%

So, less than a fifth of the electorate voted for the EPP who get to make one of the most important decisions about the governance of the entire European Union. This is clearly not a very democratic system and so Juncker’s claim is baseless. The EPP hold too much power without sufficient mandate from the electorate. If Juncker wants the people to have their voice heard, he should concentrate on making the Commission Presidency a more democratic appointment, perhaps even directly elected by the people themselves.

Irony escapes Tim Farron. Again. And again. And again.

Commenting on the Conservatives’ decision to drop a manifesto and coalition agreement promise, Illiberal Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, said, “It sends a message to the electorate that ‘we don’t trust you. We think you might do things which we don’t like’

Perhaps, Tim, you might sit your  parliamentary party down and beat then round the head with those words repeatedly until they fully understand the meanings of ‘promise’ and ‘trust’.

Worth doing it soon given that you just lost another deposit.

The best route for Clegg is to get tough

What Nick Clegg needs to do now is be tough with the Conservatives. They are on the back foot and desperate to get into power but Clegg holds the keys.

Let’s face it, they’ll be no LibLab coalition – they just don’t have the electoral mandate. They’d need too much support from nationalists who would soon drop their support when their primary aims comes up. Neither Brown nor Clegg could ethically claim to be PM and putting in David Milliband or Harriet Harman would prompt “unelected PM” outrage.

So we’ll either have a LibCon coalition or a minority Conservative government, the way I see it.

In order to get a LibCon coalition, though some massive concessions need to be made. Cameron and the Conservatives are desperate for power under a majority Government. Nick Clegg who is showing himself to be a man of massive integrity, holds the keys and probably has more bargaining power.

It seems to me the concessions would mostly have to come from the Conservatives and that would not go down well. To the point where the coalition would either be very shaky or not go ahead at all. If such a coalition fell apart we’d see another general election in which both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would be punished. We’d probably get a majority Labour government with a landslide victory and the LibDems would go back to being nobodys.

I believe that Nick Clegg should go in tough, sticking to his four campaign priorities as non-negotiables. If the Conservatives don’t concede on electoral reform they will have to form a minority. Clegg’s integrity will be intact and he’ll keep the support of his party as well as those who voted for him (and all those who voted tactically to keep the Tories out).

By the next general election (which may follow the collapse of a Conservative government) we could well have electoral reform and Clegg’s action will likely reward him a much greater share of the vote and push him and the Liberal Democrats into opposition, if not Government.

So, don’t do it Nick – stick to your guns, let’s get electoral reform!

Michael Fabricant’s tweets: policy or playground?

Many of my Twitter followers have today seen my passionate side as I exchanged tweets with Michael Fabricant over his use of the social networking site. He’s a little unfortunate in that he’s the only one of Lichfield’s four candidates to be active on Twitter. Labour candidate Steve Hyden is but hasn’t tweeted since February. That gives Mike a boost when it comes to engagement with constituents, which is great, but I have a bee in my bonnett.

Like many voters, I think, I’m fed up of the playground politics that we often see. By that I mean politicians just attacking each other. Providing nothing meaningful in terms of solutions to the problems faced by the country or individuals, or focusing on policy. I believe the primary reason why Nick Clegg performed so well in the first leader’s debate is because he focused far more on re-iterating Liberal policy while Cameron and Brown attacked each other.

The polls were clear; as voters we are tired of playground politics. We don’t want you to be saying “don’t vote for the opposition, they’ll do A, B and C” – we want to hear “vote for us because we’ll do X, Y and Z.” In fact, I kind of don’t mind if candidates attack each other so long as they attack policy and then follow it up by telling us what their own policy is on the same issue.

It’s not hard, we just want to know what candidates stand for and what we can expect from them if they become our MP.

So with those basic principles in mind I decided to do a (very unscientific) sentiment analysis of Fabricant’s tweets since he ceased being an MP and became a candidate.

Of 47 tweets since 12th April I found that while 13 (28%) were positive a slightly higher number, 15 (32%) were negative. The rest (19 – 40%) were neutral.

I’ve copied them all into a spreadsheet which you can all see and scrutinise to your hearts content, and I encourage you to do so.

There was no rigid rule set about what is and isn’t positive or negative and in some cases I’ve even asked for clarification from you as to whether I got it right as well as explaining in some cases why I chose the sentiment I did. I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

What it showed me personally was that, overall, Mike’s tweets ain’t that bad. Some of the negative tweets could have easily become positives if followed up with “…but Conservatives would do X” to show the difference in the main parties and hence the choice we have.

I should also point out that as an MP, Fabricant had some very good moments. Especially (and dear to my heart) the tweeting he did during the passing of the Digital Economy Bill.

So, what do you think?

Update: Michael said to me on Twitter, “Oh get real! Detailed policy in 140 chars? Go to www.conservatives.com for detailed policy.” so it makes sense I give an example of what I would like (not detailed policy!) This tweet attacking Nick Clegg could have been followed up with something like, “Conservative gov’t would introduce Privilege Act to stop that happening. See manifesto p66 http://bit.ly/aR9PfA [pdf]” – that’s 117 characters that says “vote for me and I’ll do something about such abuses.”