Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fair Representation in the UK - not Gerrymandering

Even the Electoral Reform Society opposes the government's proposals for re-drawing the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies and reducing the number of MPs.  Drawn up by supposedly independent boundary commissions, the proposed changes offer us all the wrong reforms for the wrong reasons. 

With the population of this country higher than ever before, there is simply no logical reason to reduce the number of MPs and make our votes count for less. It does not get us any closer to proportional representation, some form of which prevails in most other parliaments around the world. 
This plan was surely drawn up before the EU referendum, and was intended to shrink Parliament and reduce democracy as more and more powers were transferred to Brussels. In the EU, our Parliament would become superfluous, with no function except to rubber-stamp the decisions of Brussels bureaucrats. So the Cameron government was happy to see the House of Commons decline in numbers and power. Parliament could be left to become nothing more than a club for the likes of Keith Vaz to drop into for a bottle of taxpayer-subsidized champagne and cordon-bleu meals in the intervals of steamy cocaine-fuelled bouts with rentboys (and by the way, when is Keith Vaz going to be prosecuted for supplying Class A drugs?)
Fortunately, the #Brexit vote has made that a little more unlikely, and ensured that in the long term power does remain at Westminster. I hope too that Brexit will ensure that this country never gives votes to prisoners. The idea is an outrage. 
We don't need fewer MPs, we need better MPs. We need MPs of intellectual and moral standing.
The proposed boundary changes do seem in many cases to favour the Conservatives and disadvantage Labour. Nothing is being done to address the real, major failings of our electoral system. 
I am not particularly concerned about the omission of people who are not registered voters. If they don't bother to register, either they are apathetic or they may not be entitled to vote.
As an English Democrat, I deplore the fact that England is the only part of the UK that lacks its own parliament. English people have less autonomy than those of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Last October, the government introduced some steps towards alleviating this disparity, with "English votes for English laws" but the Scots still want to call all the shots at Westminster. Scottish MPs, some of them mere students, prance around dictating to the entire UK and threatening that they could or would block #Brexit, imposing their will on the will of the majority of the British people. I say that injustice, imposed by the stupid Blair government, must stop. 
Scotland actually has a smaller population than Yorkshire, yet it has far more MPs and more money spent on it per head. Voters in England are under-represented. A Scottish voter can write to his MSP or MP and get two representatives working on his behalf. A typical English voter has only his MP, and that MP represents more voters than the Scottish  - or Welsh - equivalent.
The number of Scottish MPs must be reduced, their power to vote in English matters must be curtailed, and there must be an absolute veto on any attempt by them to block decisions which the majority of English people have voted to approve. 
It is the House of Lords, not the Commons, that is far too big. There are 790 life peers now, far more than the number of MPs. It is also now far less representative of the people than it ever was when it was filled with hereditary peers. It is now full of party apparachniks and is used as a pay-off for donations to party funds or services rendered - as in the case of Shami Chakrabarty, clumsily made a peer by Jeremy Corbyn within minutes of writing her report clearing Labour of anti-Semitism. Corbyn supposedly does not believe in the House of Lords, but he believes in it when it suits him.
People were rightly indignant at the way that David Cameron, when stepping down, raised all his party chums and fund-raisers to the peerage, even putting Samantha Cameron's fashion adviser on the list. Why should Sam Cam's dresser make laws for you and me? Cameron was the man who in the presence of the Queen and Archbiship of Canterbury, gleefully burbled that the international anti-corruption conference was attended by nations that were "fantastically corrupt". Look who's talking. If you want to see corruption just look in the bathroom mirror, Dave. 
The House of Lords is full of corrupt people put there for corrupt reasons. Greville Janner could still appear there and vote when he claimed that he was too ill to appear in a court of law, and suffering from advanced dementia. The same went for Leon Brittan.
The House of Lords is full of a quite unrepresentative number of Liberal Democrats, regardless of the fact that their vote share has collapsed and their party is in terminal decline. They are shamelessly greedy, unscrupulous types, such as Lord Paddick, who claimed £9,000 earlier this year in expenses to cross the Atlantic, in order to make a four-minute speech in the Lords. That bill is footed by us, the tax-payers, and that is disgraceful. The TPA rightly highlighted it as a form of corruption. 

It is still true that women are under-represented in the British Parliament, despite all the all-female shortlists and lipservice of Blair's Babes. Women are slightly more than half of the population, yet only 25% of our elected MPs are women, 191 out of a total of 650. One reason for this is that women are regularly bullied out of the democratic process by the homosexuals who are undoubtedly over-represented, with 35 out of 650, 36 if you count Keith Vaz. Why should a minority of only 1.5% of the population have 5.5% of the seats in Parliament?  
Sarah Teather who was one of the more principled and ethical members of the Lib Dem party (what was she doing there?) found herself simply bullied out of her political career because she would not vote for same-sex "marriage" and she quite rightly voted to protect the conscience of registrars. She found herself a target of vilification and intolerance. 
The resignation of Louise Mensch in my view had a lot to do with the amount of sheer sexist bullying that she received in Parliament and in the political sphere. It is also true that Christian MPs in general are subjected to such appalling bullying that many retreat from the profession. Stephen Crabbe is the latest victim.

Something ought to be done to address all of these injustices, but the proposals of the Electoral Commissions do nothing to improve the situation, and so I hope that parliament will vote to reject them, and I hope that Mrs May follows suit.

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