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The New Condem Government

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As this seemed the most suitable place (the General Election thread being over):

Court hearing 'inevitable' in Oldham East and Saddleworth election challenge

So now we know for sure that the general election is not over in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

As readers of my previous post will know, the Liberal Democrat candidate, Elwyn Watkins, is challenging the outcome in the courts.

The Lib Dems failed to take the seat from Labour by just 103 votes.

Mr Watkins blames Labour for putting out a small newspaper which he considers libellous.

Under the 1983 Representation of the People Act, anyone involved in an election campaign who "makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct" has committed an offence.

Labour sources were initially suggesting that a court hearing was unlikely. The party now accepts it is inevitable.

This is pretty extraordinary stuff. The last time an election result was challenged on the basis of corrupt practices was back in 1911. It was successful.

Everyone is feeling their way through these rarely-charted political waters. High Court judges must now decide how to proceed.

As many as four High Court judges, sitting as an Election Court, could come to the constituency to take evidence. This is likely to be in September at the earliest.

Elwyn Watkins must prove the allegations were made and that they were false.

Phil Woolas, in turn, must either prove the allegations were correct, or that he had reasonable grounds for believing them.

Both sides are keeping their arguments to themselves for now, but playing for high stakes.

If Mr Woolas loses, which still seems unlikely, then he would be guilty of a criminal offence and would be banned from standing for office.

If Elwyn Watkins wins he has another chance of being elected. But more significantly he would have changed the way future political campaigns are run.

So, might Mr Arse be struggling to hold on to his seat?

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That would be hilarious, as Mr Woolas is a complete and utter weasely tool. Or he might just be a toadying arselicker, in fact I think those were the exact words I used to his face in the bar at ULU at NOLS conference back in the eightes, he wasn't pleased then :mrgreen:

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Your Freedom :thumb:

I needed a new pair of boxer briefs after seeing this site and the video. I've never seen a co-head-of-government be that blunt about freedom vs. government.

This website is designed to allow as many people in the UK as possible to put forward their ideas on what laws and regulations we should do away with. Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, along with the rest of the Coalition Government, invite you to collaborate on ideas for freedom and change.

This will form an important part of our commitment to cutting red tape, repealing unnecessary laws and supporting civil liberties. Your ideas will inform initiatives such as the proposed Freedom Bill and the streamlining of regulation, particularly for businesses and other organisations.

The site currently groups ideas into three important policy areas that affect your freedom:

* restoring civil liberties

* repealing unnecessary laws

* cutting business and third sector regulations

These policy areas sit at the heart of Our Programme for Government. We collected 9,500 public comments on our programme in less than three weeks, so we know these issues matter to you as well.

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5th May 2011 - the end of the Coalition?

A referendum on changing the UK's voting system will be held on 5 May 2011, the BBC understands.

A vote on changing from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote (AV) is expected on the day of Holyrood, Welsh Assembly and English local elections.

The Tories oppose a change but agreed to a referendum as a concession to the Lib Dems in their coalition deal.

But it is thought it will be linked to plans to change constituency boundaries - a key concern of the Conservatives.

'Unfair'

They pledged to make constituency sizes more "equal" in their manifesto - Labour say the plans are designed to eliminate smaller inner-city seats which they hold.

The date of the referendum is due to be confirmed at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday and is likely to be announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later that day.

But legislation will not be debated until the autumn and may face a sizeable rebellion by Conservative MPs. Under the coalition deal, Tory MPs will be whipped to support a referendum - but will then be free to campaign against a change.

Continue reading the main story

This is a real chance for change

Electoral Reform Society

The Tories say the existing first-past-the-post system guarantees strong, stable government, while Lib Dems argue it is inherently unfair on smaller parties and allows candidates to be elected despite getting the support of only a minority of constituents.

Under the proposed AV system, voters rank candidates in order of preference and anyone getting more than 50% in the first round is elected.

If that does not happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and voters' second choices allocated to the remaining candidates.

This process continues until a winner emerges.

A government source said holding the referendum on the same day as the elections should improve voter turnout.

'Very concerned'

The Liberal Democrats are set to campaign for the new system, while the Conservatives will oppose it.

The BBC's deputy political editor James Landale said the outcome could determine how long the coalition survived.

For many Lib Dems, it was the one reason they agreed to take part, he said, and if they lost, it could be a reason to leave.

Continue reading the main story

At the moment only a third of MPs have that 50% backing.

David Miliband

Labour leadership contender

Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, chairman of the all-party group for the promotion of first-past-the-post, said he was "very concerned" about AV and he would campaign "vigorously" against it.

Under AV, he said: "There are millions of Britons out there, like me, who have one preference - in my case it is the Conservative Party. We will be voting once, and yet other people will be given a second vote, and that is creating two classes of voters which is simply unacceptable."

But campaign group the Electoral Reform Society welcomed the news. A spokesman said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to turn the page on the old politics and an old system that's served it so well. This is a real chance for change."

The previous Labour government also promised a referendum on the AV system, which it planned to hold in autumn 2011.

'Peripheral issue'

But Labour may choose to give its MPs - many of whom oppose changing the voting system - a free vote on the matter.

Shadow foreign secretary David Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that if he wins the Labour leadership contest, he will back a referendum and allow activists to campaign in favour of a switch to AV.

He said: "I think it's important that we move to a system where every Member of Parliament has at least 50% of the vote of their constituents. At the moment only a third of MPs have that 50% backing.

"Alternative vote, which allows you to rank your preferences one, two, three, four, allows that to happen."

His brother Ed, another leadership candidate, has also said he would support a switch to AV if elected to the post.

But another leadership candidate, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, told the Guardian that voting reform was "irrelevant" and "a peripheral issue".

"It is not my party's job to prop up the Liberal Democrats by helping them win a referendum that is important to them," he told the newspaper.

About the first good thing the Lib Dems have done in govt thus far ....

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The previous Labour government in a shamless attempt to jump on the I agree with nick bandwagon also promised a referendum on the AV system after Clegg won the first TV debate

Fixed

So maybe Smithers got more for his party then people first thought ?

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Your Freedom :thumb:

I needed a new pair of boxer briefs after seeing this site and the video. I've never seen a co-head-of-government be that blunt about freedom vs. government.

This website is designed to allow as many people in the UK as possible to put forward their ideas on what laws and regulations we should do away with. Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, along with the rest of the Coalition Government, invite you to collaborate on ideas for freedom and change.

This will form an important part of our commitment to cutting red tape, repealing unnecessary laws and supporting civil liberties. Your ideas will inform initiatives such as the proposed Freedom Bill and the streamlining of regulation, particularly for businesses and other organisations.

The site currently groups ideas into three important policy areas that affect your freedom:

* restoring civil liberties

* repealing unnecessary laws

* cutting business and third sector regulations

These policy areas sit at the heart of Our Programme for Government. We collected 9,500 public comments on our programme in less than three weeks, so we know these issues matter to you as well.

Considering that is exactly what we pay our local MP's to do, forgive me if I don;t go so overboard. Each MP has surgeries where you raise these issues, it's their responsibility then to take these up with the relevant parts of Gvmt

Add to that we have had internet access to Gvmt for quite a while yet the novelty of this is going. Don't get me wrong I think ideas where the public can influence Gvmt are to be applauded but the fact that there is no commitment for them to do anything and the fact they are moving more and more away from MP's doing their job puts a real dampener on this.

The Government is committed not only to opening up the discussion on the restoration of citizens’ fundamental freedoms, but to responding to and acting as appropriate on the ideas submitted through this site.

We promise to read and respond to your ideas and comments, although we won't be able to respond individually to everything submitted.

Interesting that "rankings" are being put on these - what was that TV programme again?

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So maybe Smithers got more for his party then people first thought ?

I thought the Lib Dems campaigned on STV - not a referendum on AV?

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So maybe Smithers got more for his party then people first thought ?

I thought the Lib Dems campaigned on STV - not a referendum on AV?

they did, i believe.

partial climbdown. Don't think the tories would give them a referendum on STV.

I guess the Liberal "plan", if they have one, is to get AV in, and hope that gives them more influence in govt, and then push for STV ...

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So maybe Smithers got more for his party then people first thought ?

I thought the Lib Dems campaigned on STV - not a referendum on AV?

Clegg mentioned AV+ as being acceptable during the campaign ..probably becuase under STV they actually lost seats in Scotland :-)

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So maybe Smithers got more for his party then people first thought ?

I thought the Lib Dems campaigned on STV - not a referendum on AV?

Apparently what you campaigned for has no bearing on the new Gvmt policy - that is what we keep being told.

An interesting website is this one

link

I wonder how much of this will happen?

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partial climbdown. Don't think the tories would give them a referendum on STV.

I don't think 'partial climbdown' is correct. The best they could do, probably.

The Tories gave them a referendum on AV because they think that not much will come of it.

No commitment to change the voting system and a referendum on a half-hearted change that most of their party (including their leader, I'd guess) will campaign against (as will, likely, a large proportion of the Labour party).

Clegg mentioned AV+ as being acceptable during the campaign

Did he? Must have missed that. Where did he mention it, out of interest?

Apparently what you campaigned for has no bearing on the new Gvmt policy - that is what we keep being told.

I'm not saying that it does; what I am saying is that if one is comparing how much someone has got 'for their party' (as Tony put it) then it's an idea to compare what they have got to what that party said they wanted.

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I'm not saying that it does; what I am saying is that if one is comparing how much someone has got 'for their party' (as Tony put it) then it's an idea to compare what they have got to what that party said they wanted.

I am not arguing with you on that. It seems though that you can pick and chose within days of taking power as to which of the things you got voted in on, that you abandon, do a complete U turn against and then amend the constitution to stop any come back.

The idea that parts of the ConDem party are winners and parts are losers makes a mockery of the current electoral system. Electoral reform should be a totally free and open vote for the MP's and the people of the UK. There should be no horse trading nor should their be any delay in putting it forward. One thing the last election has hilighted very well is that this country needs to get rid of the ridiculous and unfair system of FPTP. The fact that they have set a provisional date for just under 1 year away shows the utter contempt that this lot in power have for the UK population. By that time the Smithers lot will have become fully part of the Tory party anyway

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partial climbdown. Don't think the tories would give them a referendum on STV.

I don't think 'partial climbdown' is correct. The best they could do, probably.

Same thing. They have had to accept something less than they wanted. Thus a partial climbdown.

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It seems though that you can pick and chose

That's what happens with a coalition. it's what would have happened if there had been a Labour/Lib Dem coalition.

Electoral reform should be a totally free and open vote for the MP's and the people of the UK.

The MPs are free to campaign however they wish, from what I gather. I guess that there will need to be some formal vote in Parliament to give weight to a referendum and that is what will be whipped. I'm not sure that's so terrible.

The fact that they have set a provisional date for just under 1 year away shows the utter contempt that this lot in power have for the UK population.

Why? What is the rush? This would be a referendum about Westminster elections (which are due to take place in five years time) so if there were to be a change agreed upon then I doubt many by-elections (apart from Mr Woolas's seat :winkold:) would not be covered.

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Same thing. They have had to accept something less than they wanted. Thus a partial climbdown.

I don't agree. To those who just wanted 'voting reform', perhaps, but I'm not sure that's what Lib Dem party members wanted.

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Apparently what you campaigned for has no bearing on the new Gvmt policy - that is what we keep being told.

Labour did exactly the same, first time they got elected, it took slightly longer iirc but they dumped about half of their manifesto commitments pretty sharpish

Like I keep saying, same horse, different jockey

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Back to the substantive of the current discussion, AV or AV+ are an appeasement and a pretty lame one at that (especially AV).

If we want electoral reform but also want to retain the constituency basis of electing MP's the STV has to be the way forward imo, it is the only truly fair system that also elects a local MP. Personally I've never been in favour of the list system for the first chamber for that very reason, I think the local link is very much an important part of democracy

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It seems though that you can pick and chose within days of taking power as to which of the things you got voted in on, that you abandon, do a complete U turn against and then amend the constitution to stop any come back.

cough Euro Referendum cough

And , i'm sure it's argued that we don't have a constitution in this country ?

If we want electoral reform

Do we ?

before the TV debates the public at large were a bit Meh about it .. during the we love Nick campaign the public were slightly in favour of it ... now they seem to be a back to Meh again

I doubt the majority of the public actually care

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Did he? Must have missed that. Where did he mention it, out of interest?

Indie 22nd April

Ah, cheers for that, mate. (It wasn't a challenge - just that I had missed it).

So, during the election campaign, Clegg says:

Mr Clegg said: "AV is a baby step in the right direction – only because nothing can be worse than the status quo. If we want to change British politics once and for all, we have got to have a quite simple system in which everyone's votes count. We think AV-plus is a feasible way to proceed. At least it is proportional – and it retains a constituency link.

"The Labour Party assumes that changes to the electoral system are like crumbs for the Liberal Democrats from the Labour table. I am not going to settle for a miserable little compromise thrashed out by the Labour Party."

It seems he will, however, 'settle for a miserable little compromise thrashed out by' the coalition. :winkold:

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