Friday, April 03, 2015

Political murmurings.....


Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, was impressive in the Leaders' televised debate. What she said made a lot of sense to anyone whose politics are progressive. My reaction is I suspect typical of English liberals unattached to any nationalist sentiments. She was smart enough to keep her "Independece for Scotland" agenda well buried (one brief mention). And her fellow leaders, amazingly, didn't try and expose Ms Sturgeon for her and her Party's raison d'ĂȘtre - the break up of the United Kingdom.

Ms Strurgeon is playing a long game. Her predecessor, in his cups after the emphatic win for the "No" campaign in the referendum, said that the matter was settled for a "generation". Then something remarkable happened. The "45" - as they christened themselves - instead of fading away got a new strength from somewhere. They focused not directly on Independence, per se, but on the Westminster elite who - as they saw it - conspired to deny them. Labour were the main casualties of this though the Liberal Democrats seem to have been mortally wounded in Scotland as well.

Electoral Reform

Scots in large numbers flooded to join the SNP. And the polls moved so emphatically in the Party's direction that a near wipe out for Labour and the LibDems seems likely at the General Election. With the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system there is a breakthrough zone at which under-representation becomes over-representation. The SNP has passed this comfortably in the polls and they could have as many as 50 MPs (out of 59) for just under 50% of the vote. 

Meanwhile down South we have UKIP likely to get 10-15% of the English vote but no more than one or two MPs. The Greens will be similiarly grossly under-represented in Parliament. About the only issue on my I agree with Nigel Farage is electoral reform. FPTP is simply undemocratic. Which is why it is not used in Scotland, a Northern Ireland or Wales for their own legislatures. And why it's not used for the European Parliament elections either. 

One thing that might happen after the election is a demand for PR. A multi-party system, which we now have, requires a fair voting system. The SNP should not have 85% of the seats for 50% of the vote. And UKIP should not have perhaps less than 1% of the seats for maybe 15% of the vote. 

The Media

Ed Miliband did pretty well in the debate - no gaffes and an engagingly strong performance. Theost debate polls, though they varied a bit, confirmed this. So what about The Sun and the Daily Telegraph front pages ?

It's hard to be sanguine about this sort of thing. It brings the media into disrepute when to large circulation newspapers lie so outrageously. It won't, sadly, be a one off! 


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