9 Comments

  1. teachwell
    March 21, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

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  2. ijstock
    March 21, 2016 @ 6:08 pm

    I think P.R. has one cultural benefit that is not often recognised: those countries that have forms of it predicate their entire system on the need to compromise – but that shifts the emphasis from entrenched disagreement to areas where agreement can be found. That is what we witnessed under the Coalition. This is quite a profound shift of mind set from the current British system and I believe ultimately precipitates a shift in outlook well beyond the political scene.

    Too many of this country’s problems have been caused by constant U turns of policy as governments alternated. And too much of the wider debate (including in education) is couched in terms of entrenched and often vicious disagreement, a bunker mentality, rather than attempts to find consensus.

    As someone who taught ‘A’ Level European Studies and who visited the European Parliament on numerous occasions, it was all too obvious how much the culture differed. I know which one I think is more constructive.

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    • teachwell
      March 21, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

      You can say that but PR without safeguards is not healthy – can’t discount the Nazi experience. Neither can one pretend that it doesn’t give more of a platform to extremist parties. As for meeting in the middle – that’s happened i British politics anyway – Butskillism in the 1950s, the arguments about Conservatives and Labour not being different enough. It is about compromising internally which could be argued is more honest than horsetrading. It might be acceptable to have the Liberal Democrats in Coalition – would you say the same thing about UKIP? BNP? SWP? (Why do far left/right parties end up as acronyms…?). Also in PR systems the party list can lead to no link between constituency and MP. I just think there are real arguments for and against but what can’t be argued is that we have an undemocratic system (majority of seats rather than votes is a valid choice).

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      • ijstock
        March 21, 2016 @ 6:34 pm

        I didn’t think I was saying that. Your point is valid, depending on which set of numbers you happen to prefer. I would have thought a truly democratic system would have the ability to change its system if it chose, and I suppose we do/did – though whether referenda are really representative is a moot point… I was merely suggesting that a more consensus-based system does have real advantages for stability, continuity, reasoned debate and general stress levels!

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        • teachwell
          March 21, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

          I happen to like STV – it was used in Ireland and it maintains the link between the constituency and MP but it means that you get to state ordinal preferences for other candidates. It still has the problem of not necessarily giving the governing party the majority of the votes.

          Reply

          • ijstock
            March 21, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

            I think we can agree on that!

  3. madeupteacher
    March 21, 2016 @ 7:42 pm

    I don’t think I disagree with you but….
    In the cold light of a twittering day, first past the post is what we have, like it or not. But, I think it’s true to say that, despite the government’s mandate to create and reform law, the right to dispute bills before they become set in stone is a crucial part of the democratic process. The government turning on itself is a case in point with the issues around cutting disability payments. Has this forced a rethink? Just saying, there is a process and there are many hurdles to navigate when bills go through both houses….pressure groups and filibustering aside, isn’t everyone just exercising their right to shout about something they fundamentally disagree with? I don’t really know the ins and outs of disability allowance, but I can make up my mind about the fairness or otherwise of what this government is trying to do. It’s got nothing to do with ‘The System’.

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    • teachwell
      March 21, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

      I agree with you on all counts!

      The taking in of 20 000 refugees was based on a petition and a swell of support for it. I think that’s a good example of the government responding to people who aren’t their supporters necessarily.

      It’s my totalitarian/anti-democracy alarm going off (I blame Orwell!). But the basis for opposing the policy is important. I came across the argument that because the cabinet have been to private school they aren’t entitled to make policy – it’s insane. We can’t discount the votes of tens of thousands of people for an MP because of which school he went to!!

      Reply

  4. Not Waving But Drowning – Teachwell
    March 22, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

    […] argued that the ability to mass academise schools is not undemocratic, I read this today from @dutaut – here where he argues that it is not undemocratic but […]

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