January 13, 2009

Decimate the Commons

The tories plan to decimate the House of Commons. Fantastic! Sixty fewer mouths to feed at the trough. It is just a shame that they could not show their love of the traditions of the past by decimating them in the traditional way. The idea of all the MPs arriving on their first day, all bright eyed and enthusiastic fresh from their electoral success, and then being forced to draw lots with the unlucky ones being beaten to death by their new colleagues would make a wonderful spectacle. It could be televised on BBC Parliament with Jonathan Dimbleby doing the commentary:

"Black Rod has taken her staff of office and is ceremonially hitting Ann Winterton on the head three times to begin proceedings. So with solemn dignity they are off. A large cluster that has gathered around Nicholas Soames appears to be having a spot of bother. Despite enthusiastic cudgeling all of the blows are bouncing off his rolling layers of fat. And what is that in the back, most of the Labour MPs seem to be attacking Gordon Brown. I didn't think that he had drawn one of the short straws? Oh, he didn't ... they just want to kill him anyway. Now that is dedication to representing the views of their constituents."

It would be great if they could reduce the number of government departments and Civil Servants by a similar amount. It could be a first dramatic step towards reducing the size of the state, but, of course, that is nothing to do with the reason behind it.

Currently it takes about 10,000 more votes to elect a Conservative MP than a Labour MP. With the most recent support levels polled the Conservatives would only get a very slim majority, but where the conservative and Labour numbers reversed Labour would be in for another landslide. In 2005 the Conservatives got more votes than Labour in England but less seats. Obviously when they get their hands on the levers of power they are going to Gerrymander things so that the electoral math is at least even. Just as Labour set up entire new layers of Government simply in order to provide guaranteed positions in power for its loyal nomenklatura. They just didn't realise that places such as Scotland haven't been Labour fiefdoms because of a love Labour, but because of a hate of the Conservatives. Without the risk of electing a Tory the Scots were free to vote for people other than Labour, and did. Which rather mucked up the original plan.


Blogger MatGB said...

Two points.

1) The Tory promise to reduce the numbber of MPs by 10% is a reduction on their promise at the last election to cut by 20%. Besides which, the Lib Dems have always promised to reduce it by further, and to abolish a few Govt depts while they're at it.

2) The disparity between votes and seats in England between the big two has a lot less to do with the electoral system and a lot more to do with differential turnout--in a safe seat, Labour voters are less likely to turn up and vote than Tory voters are (I've got graphs and stuff on this, never dod get around to posting them).

The answer to the latter is of coruse to abolish safe seats by reintroducing STV, but, well, the Tories are never going to do something like that, it would require them learning how to count.

8:56 am  

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