Friday, April 10, 2015

Could The Election Lead To Constitutional Crisis?

This doesn't happen often. Lap it up. I was wrong. And my good FB Friend, Norman Fraser, was right. Good call, Norman. My apologies.

Somehow, his Liberal Democrat party and my former/current/if-only-they'd-picked-me-as-a-Parliamentary-candidate-in-2009 Tory party managed to dream up a crap piece of legislation called the Fixed-terms Parliament Act 2011.

Norman and I had a bit of a ding-dong about it as commentary to a wonderfully precocious essay I wrote the other day.

Bottom line, I was wrong because I thought there was no way that any half-way sensible mainstream British political party would seriously allow a piece of legislation that would permit a Parliamentary vote of no confidence in the UK government to lead to the opposition parties forming an alternative government, as opposed to such a vote immediately returning matters to the people, in the form of a new election.

Norman was right, because he realized that there was not one, but two mainstream UK political parties that could be so stupid.

Just why this is stupid is best summed up in a very long essay by Simon Heffer, who is more long-winded than me, but less precocious and more accurate.

For me the bottom line is: First, this Act probably represented the largest single transfer of power from monarch to Parliament since Cromwell beheaded Charles I, and it appears to have been drafted on the back of an envelope.

Secondly, and more importantly, how on earth can you completely ignore the just-expressed wished of an electorate, and hand power over to folks who were not elected to lead?

Look, I know people will say that is what the Coalition Government of the last five years represented. But that Government was led by a party which won the largest number of seats in Parliament in the General Election of 2010. That counts as some sort of electoral approbation.

However, the specific circumstances that concern me, and apparently Heffer, too, and which makes such a nonsense of this Act, is what happens if the Conservatives are once again the largest party after this current election, can't get a majority vote in Parliament, the Act kicks in, and Labour (with less seats than the Conservatives) forms a government with the Scottish Nationalists?

Leave aside the mockery of democracy that represents, it would involve England, Wales and Northern Ireland being governed essentially at the whim of a Scottish political party (no offence, Norman), when not one person from England, Wales or Northern Ireland had the opportunity to express their opinion in the ballot box on that party.

Like I say, leave aside democracy, does anyone have any concept of what that would lead to constitutionally and politically in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

A Parliamentary vote of no confidence should always and can only ultimately lead to a new election. What a mess this is going to be ...