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June 26, 2011

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Gerald

Paul while I understand the point you make about the dangers of grandstanding during an election for Leader, I'm a bit concerned that your point about the expense of an election involving the whole Party could be used to argue for a return to the Leader being elected by the PLP particularly in these cash-strapped times.
I would agree to the PLP electing the Leader, but, I would want to see a strongly worded 'Right of Recall' brought in to make sure that members of the PLP are not only answerable but accountable to the CLPs as well.

HuwOS

"But the public still votes overwhelmingly for political parties"

Primarily, it seems because they seem to think that they are not voting for a representative for their constituency but often believe themselves to be voting for a prime minister, or a government.
There would be a lot of difficulties thrown up by removing parties from the equation, but I cannot help feeling that they cause more trouble and confusion than the lack of them would.
It seems highly unlikely that such a thing could be brought about though, after all, the people did just roundly reject the option to have more say in who represents them from their own constituencies, I can only imagine the meltdown that would occur if people had to come to grips with what they are actually voting for.


D.G.

It can't be denied that people will usually vote for a recognisable "brand" (assuming they don't consider it to be toxic) rather than venturing into the unknown. I wonder if it's healthy for democracy though? There are very good, independent-minded MPs (yourself included), but it can be argued that the party system also provides an environment where the King Lear "Oswalds" of the world thrive.

Paul Flynn

We have had a few independent MPs. Most have performed well. But the public still votes overwhelmingly for political parties.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Gerald. Votes involving the whle party are hideously expensive. The PLP last night were in docile mood. Few want to see a public spat of a matter of minor importance and of nil interest to the public.

There are advantages and disadvantages in the widening the franchise. The leadership election last year created resentments. Yes democacry would be advanced but the need to grandstand might not improve opposition.

D.G.

Every MP answerable only to their constituents and their conscience. Interesting thought.

HuwOS

If only we could ban political parties, that would be my preferred reform of politics.

Gerald

Paul it is not only the PLP that has an interest in seeing the best elected to the Shadow Cabinet, the whole Party has an interest in seeing the best team in the Shadow Cabinet. If it is right that the whole Party has a role in electing the Party Leader, then why should not the whole Party have a role in electing the Shadow Cabinet?
Surely you do not support an Orwellian situation where the 'inner Party' of the PLP elects the Shadow Cabinet, but the 'outer Party', the membership who campaign for and win elections, has no say at all?
Why not extend the principle of election of the Cabinet to include when the Labour Party is in Government?

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