Britain looks like a failed state

Where to start with Manchester?

The Tories seem to think their election result based on the approval of about 43 % of the voters gives them absolute power.

And that they can ride roughshod over the democratic and even clearly logical wishes of Britain’s third big city.

It is instructive to read a tweet from David Allen Green, a usually fairly subdued Constitutional Lawyer who writes for the FT:

This is just frightening.

The electorate is being ignored – we are now in an elective dictatorship in Quinten Hogg’s phrase.

I’m afraid we now have Bullingdon Club yobboism as government. Burning the £50 note in front of the homeless seems to be just what they do. In their own terms they could probably have found any money Manchester might want by simply looking down the side of (perhaps, say, Dido Harding’s) sofa. But their power brooks no contest.

When we know government creates this money costlessly out of thin air, when using its central bank, it must be a power execution ‘high’ and psychopathic contempt for the people they govern – perhaps one that actually gives them a power orgasm that they enjoy?

I really cannot find any other reason.

Andy Burnham has been standing up for his own local government area, which like all the others, has been woefully underfunded for the past 10 years.

This doubtless mirrors the Brexit negotiations where it is not, as the government continually suggests, the EU negotiating in bad faith, but our own government.

I fear I can come to no other conclusion but that the psychopaths are in charge.

Psychopaths are, let us remember, not capable of proper love. Bearing in mind Johnson’s childhood, that it seems to me, is highly likely.

We are in the position where other members of government – mostly also emotionally challenged – simply support this detached view.

It is a failure of our electoral system that they were ever elected with such overwhelming power – and a failure of our constitution that they are now not held to account. It is also a failure of our so called fifth estate that neglects properly to question them.


  1. davy green -

    Im now persuaded that a PR system of elections is now needed in the UK.The system in The Republic of Ireland,whilst not perfect would be an example to follow.Consenus Governments-the norm in most of Europe eg Germany,would seem to me to be a way forward

    1. Samuel Johnson -

      There is no perfect electoral system, but the advantages of PR with the single transferable vote, aka ranked choice voting, outweigh the disadvantages (principally multiple counts). Every vote counts. In the UK it’s routine for more than 2/3 of votes to be cast for unelected candidates, disenfranchisement on that scale effectively means that many, if not most, feel unrepresented, and many simply don’t bother to vote.

      The UK Electoral Society advocates PR as used in Ireland and leads field trips to Ireland during election counts.

      An irony is that this electoral system was imposed by the British and the Irish decided to retain it. Indeed, they feel about it the way the NRA do about their guns.

  2. Peter May -

    Agree that PR is long overdue – the lack of it encourages political disengagement – and in the end corruption.

  3. Kevin Hewitt -

    Another revealing fact regarding PR systems is that last week the excellent Jacinder Arden was voted back to power (via PR) with an overall majority, and then opted to remain with a coalition-type Government, probably because it is ‘stranger’ than a single party ruling everything aka the UK.

    1. Peter May -

      I agree. Look what a ‘strong’ party brooking no criticism does to UK government!

  4. Gerry Toner -

    Westminster is an elective dictatorship. A majority must mean a majority of the people. The dilution stemming from systems and the difficulty for ‘parties’ to negotiate their way to power is the elephant in the room. Elites do not want to share power; they want their own power. It makes no sense, whatever the system, that a ‘party’ [cabal] can ‘govern’ [rule] with less than 50%+1 of the population behind it. This system is about power not governance. I can here the pompously erudite screaming that is not practical and it wont work [whatever that means]. The Westminster system has never worked. It only works for segments [the privileged and the accommodating] and ‘to hell with the rest’. Why not deconstruct Westminster while you are designing a new system? No fear! Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas; lets give the little children something nice and new. Never mind that it is more dictatorship. The Irish system works for the Irish because they try to make it, a corporatist system, work. There is as much corruption there as the UK. It is more than the system of voting, it is the culture of leadership and democracy that stinks.

  5. Bill Hughes -

    New Zealand is a good example of a PR system that reflects more fully voter preference, half the seats being by constituency (as our FPTP) and the other half by party list top up depending upon % of total national votes cast. In this last election the small but important Maori Party managed to gain their first seat and even \Greens won their first constituency where before only able to gain seats when over 5% of total and by party list.

    1. Graham -

      The Additional Member System is also used in Scotland for Holyrood. It produces a reasonably proportional result, as the FPTP seats are topped up proportionally by the Additional Member. It’s also fairly difficult to “game”, despite what some “clever dicks” think.

      I would prefer STV, which is used in Scottish Local Govt elections, as I think that those elected should represent the voting intentions of citizens as closely as possible.

      I also think we need to clean up the way “dark money”, and social media and lobbyists can influence the outcome.

      But most of all I want to see an end to professional politicians and a return to the original idea of “demos” with citizens’ assemblies defining policies.

      1. Peter May -

        I used to agree about professional politicians, but don’t forget that Jacinda Adern used to work in the UK cabinet office and I just cannot see how politicians with their high case workload (if they are diligent at least) can be anything other than professional.

        In fact I think we have to use UBI as a means of ‘deprofessionalising’ MPs – i don’t see any other way…

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