Tuesday 31 December 2019

"Progressive Patriotism" still has an air of English Nationalism.

By sheer coincidence yesterday's Blog arguing  that It's time for the Left to abandon "Middle England for Welsh and Scottish Independence coincided with Rebbeca Long-BaileyMs Long-Bailey a seen as one of the favourite to become Labour Leader and   the Corbynite candidate and the party membership, which will decide the succession, remains largely Corbynite.with a pledge to champion "progressive patriotism".

As Borthlas points out (though I don't fully agree ) Progressive patriotism is an oxymoron and Ms Long Bailey is going to have to expand her argument Ms Long-Bailey produced what appeared to be her first campaign slogan: progressive patriotism.

She wrote:
 "From ex-miners in Blythe Valley to migrant cleaners in Brixton, from small businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to the self-employed in Salford, we have to unite our communities.
"Britain has a long history of patriotism rooted in working life, built upon unity and pride in the common interests and shared life of everyone."To win we must revive this progressive patriotism and solidarity in a form fit for modern Britain." 
The frontbencher also suggested Labour had further to go in giving its members control of the party, writing: "Our promise to democratise society will ring hollow if we can't even democratise our own party."

I'd advise Ms Long-Bailey to read the history of the South Wales Miners Federation , which was a model for the creation of our Welfare State and Adult Education and the North Wales Quarrymen's Union (NWQU) , which preformed  a similar role.

Indeed it occurs to me what a diffrent Wales might have occurred if the North Wales Coalfields and the Slate quarries had united with the FED, to form a Welsh Union.

Or the career Rev. Henry Richard (3 April 1812 – 20 August 1888), "the Apostle of Peace", was a Congregational minister and Welsh Member of Parliament, 1868–1888. Richard is best known as an advocate of peace and international arbitration, as secretary of the Peace Society for forty years (1848–1884). His other interests included anti-slavery work.

Richard however was also a  strong supporter of the Welsh Language and fought against the  Treason of the Blue Books (WelshBrad y Llyfrau Gleision), and whilst it would be wrong to argue that Richard was a "Welsh Nationalist", he certainly saw the cause of the Welsh Language in the same light as his other commitments.

But its the whole use of patriotism , that I think scuppers Ms Long-Baileys vision.

I regard my self as an Independista  rather than a Nationalist and I am not a Patriot.

Yes I want a n Independent Wales  and have a very strong sense of National Identity ,

Bur "Patriotism " has an air of "My Country Right or Wrong", and we need to worry that progressive patriotism can turn in a much darker vision , if it fails to recognise the failings of the past.

This is true in Wales we can be proud of the contribution  of the FED and others 

However my worry is that Ms Long-Bailey  in her failure not mention the constitutional battle over the Union once;"Progressive Patriotism" is A British (English) one and there will be no place for the cause of Wales and Scotland in it and she will attack those parties in Wales  and Scotland who over the whole Brexit Battle have voiced a far more Internationalise than her own whilst at the same time seeking the right to get the Key of Their Own Door.

Monday 30 December 2019

It's time for the Left to abandon "Middle England for Welsh and Scottish Independence.

It could well be that Labour's problem is not between Blairism  and Corbynism, but  decades of failure to recognise that it is time to reform out voting system.

At the moment  the Party faces possibly decades of being in opposition and only be in power in Wales and London and a number of councils.

In 1997 Blair achieved a Landslide  where he won 418 in a landslide this was slowly  whittled down.

2001 413
2005 355
2010  258 coming second and the Tories under Cameron forming a coalition with The Liberals in a minority  government.

Since then Labour have won
2015  232
2017  262
2019  202 seats and face decades of opposition.

So since the Labour landslide in 1997 Labour have lost over half their seats.

The problem is that Blairism did not actually sit well with many supporters as opposed to voters. and it reflected in the surge in membership of those who were still at heart socialist who backed Corbyn

Now they face a choice of returning to whatever the centre is these days , or electing a new Left Wing leader who will face being smeared  by the BBC  and other  UK media  or trying to find a populist leader who meets the approval of the likes of Rupert Murdoch  as Blair did to the extent that he  (after being Prime Minister) became Godfather to Murdoch's daughter in 2011.

Another Blair may well  become Prime minister one day , but will have to rely at least one media outfit  approving of him or her, to the extent that those who campaigned on the street for a"New Jerusalem", will be seriously disappointed.

For those in the Labour Party and this may possibly be the majority , who are still socialist of various shades of red, the route to power means that they may have to back someone who shade leans to blue or a very pale pink.

For those on the left in Wales and Scotland the route must surely be through Independence and abandoning , the whole idea of winning over "Middle England".

They may under proportional representation such as STV , sometime form a  coalition government in England, but Wales and Scotland can't wait for this to happen.

Some may argue that it is selfish to leave the victims of  permanent , to the tender mercies of a Tory government.

But the answer to that is for Wales and Scotland to create a Social Democrat and progressive form of government  that our friends  in England will envy and seek to follow.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Plaid failure to declare nearly £1m of income on time., is peanuts to others bookkeeping practices.

It appears that it is Plaid Cymru who seem to have hit the front page of the Wasting Mule over political donations rather than, those parties that have received millions from dubious sources as I outlined yesterday

They say

Plaid Cymru is under investigation by the Electoral Commission after failing to declare nearly £1m of income on time.
The party is in breach of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) and is likely to face a financial penalty in the New Year.

Under the Act, parties are obliged to declare donations within 30 days of receiving them, but we have established that on at least 48 separate occasions between 2013 and 2018 Plaid did not comply with the legal requirement.
On April 25, 2018, the party retrospectively informed the Electoral Commission about a total of £976,562.08 that had not been declared in quarterly returns to the commission since 2013, as it should have been.

The Mule whilst sensationalising  what is admittedly a serious breach are forced to admit.
There is no suggestion that Plaid was seeking to conceal unlawful donations.
In fact, all the money at the centre of the inquiry relates to grants it received from two public sources: the House of Commons and the Electoral Commission itself.
Some 37 of the 48 undeclared payments made to Plaid Cymru came from the House of Commons authorities in the form of so-called “Short Money”.
This is the common name given to the annual payment to opposition parties to help them with their costs.
It includes funding to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary business, for opposition parties’ travel and associated expenses, and for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office.
“Short Money” is named after Edward Short (later Lord Glenamara), the then Leader of the House of Commons who first proposed the payments in 1974. They were intended to help opposition parties hold the governing party or parties to account, and to offset the government’s advantage in having access to Civil Service advice.
The late declared “Short Money” payments to Plaid Cymru totalled £268,083.09, and ranged from £361 to £33,346.80.S.
So Plaid are in trouble for not declaring  to Electoral Commission payments which the latter were probably fully aware off.

it is as I have said a serious breach , but is not a case of the party trying to hide what is after all a meagre   income  compared to other parties.

In particular Führer Farage's Brexit limited company which,after forming in April last year it enjoyed initial success, gathering hundreds of thousands of supporters and a reported £11.5m in donations. decimating the Tories - then languishing under Theresa May’s leadership - in May’s European elections.

Since the Party flopped in the December Election Brexit Party staff including senior officials have reportedly been made redundant following Nigel Farage’s general election failure.
The i has quoted a party source as saying: “Straight after the election we were all told we had to look for other jobs.”

 Farage has insisted that he will not shut down the Brexit Party entirely despite its poor election performance and the fact that Brexit is now certain to happen next month.
He said: "It will have to reform into the Reform Party, it’ll have to campaign to change politics for good, get rid of the House of Lords, change the voting system, so much to do."
Will it be a simple name change  or a different party and what , becomes of those donations , from people who did so who may not want to be part of Farage's new set up.
The whole political donations  scam is a disgrace to democracy, but let's be clear Plaid have made  clearly errors, but there is a hint of dubious book keeping  in some parties and the electoral commission should be seeing to expose it.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Tories received £20m in registered donations during "democratic" election.

The Tories easily received the most donations in the weeks leading up to the December Election , though whether it made a difference to the result is speculative as they and other parties may not even included them in thier total expenditure 

The BBC report that
The Conservative Party for instance received £1.4m in donations in the final two days of the general election campaign, according to the Electoral Commission and  it is more likely that it was an effort to be seen on the winning side was the main factor.
The SNP got £14,929 and the Brexit Party £50,000, according to the register of donations above £7,500.
The biggest donor was Phones4U founder John Caudwell, who gave the Conservatives £500,000.
Labour, the Lib Dems and other parties did not get any donations above £7,500 in the final two days.
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Mr Caudwell told the Daily Telegraph he decided to make the donation on the Monday before the general election over fears that Labour would get in.
It seems strange to  equate "philanthropist" with donations to the Tory Part. The Good Samaritan did not give money to the robbers rather than the victim.

He said he had never donated to a political campaign before, apart from to Tory MP Sir Bill Cash's campaign for Brexit.
In total, across the six pre-poll donations reports, political parties in the UK reported receiving a combined total of £30,721,998 in donations, the Electoral Commission said.
Just £231,333 was donated to parties in the final two days of the 2017 general election campaign, with most going to the Conservatives.
The second biggest donor in the final two days of the 2019 campaign was Sir Ehud Sheleg, the Conservative Party's co-treasurer, who gave the party £375,000.
Sir Ehud, an Israeli-born entrepreneur who owns an art gallery in Mayfair, has donated more than £3.4m to the party in recent years.
Hedge funds and property companies also splashed out big money on Boris Johnson's campaign for Number 10, the Electoral Commission figures reveal.
The SNP received a £14,929 donation from one individual, Moira Louise Stratton, in the final two days.
Former Tory Donor Christopher Harborne made two gifts of £25,000 to the Brexit Party in the final two days, having already handed the party more than £3m since the summer.
Mr Harborne is the boss of private plane dealers Sherriff Global Group and the owner of AML Global, which sells jet fuel.
The latest figures put the Conservatives on nearly £20m in registered large donations, compared with £5.4m raised by Labour, although this does not include small donations from party members and supporters.
The biggest non-individual donor across the entire reporting period was the union Unite, which has given £3.2m to the Labour Party.

Many Union members  of course are not Labour supporters , but at least they have some say in  how the "Political Fund" works, shareholders have no say , and one wonders how many customers of Phones4U , would be pleased to find out that they are indirectly contributing to the Tories.

Whether these doners expect a quid pro quo is obviously unproven but in 1916  when David Lloyd George replaced Herbert Asquith as Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government that relied heavily on the support of the Conservative Party. This resulted in a split in the Liberal Party between the Asquith Liberals or Squiffites and the Lloyd George or Coalition Liberals. Since the Asquith Liberals controlled the party and its funds, this left the Coalition Liberals in need of money, and the easiest ways of raising money for party funds was to sell honours.
Now there was nothing new about the practice of selling honours, or indeed of using the funds as a means of party financing. This had been going on for some time, but by tradition such deals were made with a nod and a wink over a glass of port in the Carlton or Reform clubs. What distinguished the sale of honours under Lloyd George was the sheer scale of the operation and the brazen manner in which honours were offered for sale. Ostensibly handled by Lloyd George's Chief Whip Freddy Guest and his press agent William Sutherland, the operation was actually run by a former actor and theatrical impressario by the name of Maundy Gregory. Gregory had his own offices in Parliament Square and openly touted the sale of honours on official government letters that were sent out boasting of the "exceptional opportunity" on offer. There was even a published tariff with a knighthood being available for £10,000, a baronetcy for £30,000, with a peerage title costing upwards of £50,000.
Between December 1916 and July 1922 an astonishing number of 1,500 knighthoods were awarded and Lloyd George similarly bestowed a total of 91 peerage titles within the same period, twice as many as had been created in the previous twenty years. Indeed Gregory, noting that there were men with cash to spare who couldn't quite afford a knighthood, specifically invented the Order of the British Empire to fill the gap in the market. As a result 25,000 people were 'given' the OBE over a period of four years and the 'honour' became so rapidly devalued that it was commonly known as the Order of the Bad Egg.
However not everyone was required to pay, as around fifty or so honours were thrown in the direction of Fleet Street, All the leading newspaper owners such as William Astor (Viscount Astor), Maxwell Aitken (Baron Beaverbrook) Alfred Harmsworth the (Viscount Northcliffe) and his brother Harold Sidney Harmsworth (Viscount Rothermere) found themselves raised to the peerage, thus ensuring that the press were inclined to turn a blind eye to the whole affair.

Prominent Party doners still get peerage and Knighthoods , but the main reason for the likes hedge funds and property companies is to prevent legislation curtailing their often nefarious activities.
It's a rotten system and has no place in a true democracy.

Friday 27 December 2019

Unionist may plan to play the King in Indyref2

I imagine BBC (and other) schedule planners were thrown into a bit of a panic, as news came that the Duke of Edinburgh had been taken to Hospital and that they could be faced , with the prospect of him dying over the Christmas period .

I am not sure what would have happened maybe even a postponement Gavin and Stacey and other programmes ,to make way for obituaries

The Beeb and others regularly plan for such a scenario and  If the Queen survives Philip, it is believed she will be expected to enter an eight-day period of grief, in which she will forgo her duties during that time. This means all state affairs and laws needing Royal Assent (a.k.a the Queen's approval) will be put on hold.

It is bound to happen in the next few years Phillip is 97, and although he receives medical treatment vastly superior , to that of elderly people (no lying on a trolley in a hospital passageway for him), it will eventually happen.

Which brings me to the point of the Scottish Independence referendum

I doubt that anyone can foresee what the death of the Queen's consort or her own during such a referendum would have  but the prospect unfortunately may be a boost for Unionist.

Even if neither occurred 202 would see the 70th year of the Queens reign and it could be , that she would announce her plans to abdicate before then.

Of course there is always the prospect of her being the longest ever reigning monarch , beating Louis XIV King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in  World History.

So Nicola Sturgeon may face the prospect of calling Indyref2 , next year to avoid the clash  , though  you can just see the Unionist Media announcing  , that the Queens Death was due to Scotland voting for Independence and breaking her heart.

A Coronation in the near future , will see every outlet seeking to use it to cement the Union, even seeking to have another coronation in Edinburgh.

For those of us who are republicans , we must recognise that we are in a minority for now. and  that Unionist , will have no qualms about plating the King (Charles or William) , to prevent Scottish and Welsh Independence.

That does not mean abandoning our aims but , we surley must recognise what the challenge could be.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Nadolig Llawen

As is my custom I am sending you all, a copy of the front of the  Christmas Card, that I have sent to Friends and Family

Have a good Christmas regardless  of your faith, or lack of one .

The message of peace and good will to all , applies to everyone.

Monday 23 December 2019

Plans to scrap Bus Pass Age Start.

Plans to raise the age older people are eligible to receive a free bus pass in Wales have been shelved by ministers.
A new law would have seen the age rise to match the state pension age of 65, which rises again to 67 by 2028.
The state pension age should be raised to 75 within the next 16 years to help boost the UK economy, according to a Tory think tank.
In a new report, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has proposed an increase of the pension age to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035.
The pension age is already set to increase to 67 by 2028 and to 68 by 2046 – but the organisation, co-founded by former Conservative leader and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, wants to see a faster increase.
The CSJ’s latest report said evidence suggested the UK was “not responding to the needs and potential” of an ageing workforce, with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50 to 64 seen as “economically inactive”.

Minsters have expressed concerns over the cost of the passes with 880,000 expected to be eligible by 2021.
The 60 age start is because Women used to retire at that age and men who did so at 65 were given equallity .
Of course the Women's pension has risen to that of Men and both could possibly  see  the state pension age raised to 75 within the next 16 years to help boost the UK economy, according to a Tory think tank.

In a new report, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has proposed an increase of the pension age to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035.
The pension age is already set to increase to 67 by 2028 and to 68 by 2046 – but the organisation, co-founded by former Conservative leader and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, wants to see a faster increase.
The CSJ’s latest report said evidence suggested the UK was “not responding to the needs and potential” of an ageing workforce, with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50 to 64 seen as “economically inactive”.

Cynics will concur that the ruling Labour Party in the Senedd,  possibly realised carrying out  this plan would be political suicide, but they are likely to come back to it as the State Pension Age rises.
Wales Online reported that 

The decision has been welcomed by the Older People's Commissioner for Wales, saying it would have affected up to 300,000 people.
Heléna Herklots said she had "consistently expressed my opposition to the proposals", when they were unveiled by Transport Minister Ken Skates in July.
"Access to free bus travel brings many benefits for older people, supporting their health, well-being and independence, enabling them to remain connected and engaged with their communities, supporting them in their caring responsibilities and enabling them to stay in employment or access learning and training opportunities," the commissioner said
According to a recent consultation, pass holders account for about 47% of bus journeys in Wales, with around 730,000 passes in circulation at the end of 2018.
Bus firms are reimbursed on the basis of an adult single fare, according to a White Paper published last year.
 Figures from 2016 showed the cost of providing free bus travel up to that point was in the region of £840m.A Welsh Government official said Wales was the first country in the UK to introduce free bus travel for older people.
"We will be doing further work to develop a more flexible and long-term approach towards fare concessions, considering financial implications and passenger need," the spokesperson said
"As a result of this additional work, this policy area will not be included in the forthcoming bus legislation," they added.
Janet Finch-Saunders, the Welsh Conservatives' spokeswoman on older people, said she was "delighted that a common-sense decision has been made by the Welsh Government just before Christmas".
"It could have seen reduced bus use, threaten the viability of routes, and run the risk of increasing loneliness and isolation," she said.
As a volunteer in my local Community Library  I and my colleagues have helped  literally hundreds of people  to apply for the new type card , which is now administrated by Transport for Wales.

This has been replicated throughout Wales , and many unpaid volunteers have joined Council Staff and others in helping those who have no direct internet access or who are not computer literate.

The old cards will not be functioning after next week so I f you have not managed to replace your existing one , then I am afraid that (unless Transport of Wales extend it , you will not be able to use your old one.


Saturday 21 December 2019

Cairn's "cleared", because no one admits to telling him.

A former Welsh secretary has been cleared of breaking the ministerial code over claims he knew a former aide had collapsed a rape trial.
An inquiry found it "unlikely" Alun Cairns had not been made aware of Ross England's role in the collapse.
The investigator said those involved said they did not inform Mr Cairns of Mr England's role, and there was "no direct evidence to contradict this".
Mr Cairns insisted he did not know the details of the case.
He resigned from the cabinet in November after the row broke out, just before the official start of the general election campaign.
A UK Government Cabinet Office investigation was launched following Mr Cairns' resignation from Boris Johnson's cabinet in November.
Sir Alex Allan, the prime minister's independent adviser on ministerial standards, has concluded that the evidence does not uphold the allegations against Mr Cairns.
In his report, Sir Alex said:
 "I find it unlikely that Mr Cairns would not have been told something about Mr England's role when he was told about the collapse.
"But all those involved state that they had not informed Mr Cairns of Mr England's role, and there is no direct evidence to contradict this.
"On that basis, I do not find that the evidence upholds the allegations of a breach of the Ministerial Code."
The rape victim told BBC Wales that she was "disappointed but not surprised" by the investigation's conclusion.
Reading Sir Alex judgement it seems that basically unless someone  admitted they informed Cairns (highly unlikely) he had no option to accept their word.
Did not the media also try and contact Cairns for a comment ? or was this not admissible?
However it seems to me that contrary to being cleared, Cairns has received a very reluctant verdict.

Friday 20 December 2019

If its a Union of equals we need more Welsh MPs, not less.

Or is it fewer ?I don't care.

I am not amongst those who argue that because of devolution we need fewer MPs in Westminster , having  40  out of 650 MPs in a so called Union seems to me be to small a number.

Indeed in a true Union we would see a larger number of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland MPs , who can outvote English MPs.

Instead we seem to be heading for a huge cut in Welsh MPs , and not even get parity with Scotland in our own legislature.

Left Foot forward tells us.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is very likely to change the election boundaries ahead of the next General Election, which would increase the Tory majority to 104 seats.
The Tories have been accused of rigging democracy since the changes would disproportionately benefit them compared to other parties.
If this were to happen, the Conservatives would have double the number of seats as the Labour Party.
This is, of course, all theoretical. Pollsters Electoral Calculus worked out how many seats the Tories would have with the new boundaries based on the December 2019 General Election results. This could change in the next election, but the point is, it provides a guide as to the impact of the changes.
The Boundary Commission proposed the reform to reduce the number of seats in the House of Commons from 650 to 600 in 2018.
It’s a change that the Tories have been plotting for a while, claiming that the exisiting electoral boundaries are unfairly biased towards Labour.
Yet with last week’s results and the Tories winning 56% of the seats on 44% of the vote, this argument has weakened.
As things stand now, the reforms would mean the Tories would have 352 seats, Labour would have 174 and the SNP would have 47.
Due to how the boundaries would change, the Tories would lose 13 seats, Labour would lose 29, the SNP would drop two.
So the number of MPs in the House of Commons would decrease, and each seat would have about 75,000 voters in it.
The aim is to help even out the constituencies, since there’s currently a big variation in numbers.
For instance, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, in the Outer Hebrides has 22,000 voters while the Isle of Wight has 111,000.
A flaw in the plan is that smaller regions like Wales would lose a disproportionate number of MPs under the proposals.
Election expert and Tory peer explained: “A full boundary review has already been carried out an is ready to go, barring a legal dispute in Northern Island which is still to be resolved.
“The Government now has to decide whether to implement the existing recommendations or start a completely new review.”

Tet Johnson has added Two ex Tory MPs , to the Huse of Lords which is one of the largest legislative bodies in the World, and  does not seem to have any plans for reform.

I would like to see Zero Welsh MPs in Westminster but as long as we still have governments Left, right or Centre  who can take us to war, let alone spend Welsh Taxpayers money or projects like H2, which seems to have no benefit for us, whilst we can't catch atrain from Cardiff to Caernavon without actually leaving Wales , we need strong (actually stronger) voices in Westminster.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Farage's Reform party is probably intended to sabotage progressive reform.

Führer Farage now that Brexit is going to happen , seems to be looking for new populists causes to promote in order to keep himself in the Limelight and his parking space ar the BBC.
Unfortunately for those us with progressive aims he seems to be entering our territory.
Apparently he plans that the The Brexit Party will change its name to the Reform Party after the UK leaves the European Union.
It will campaign for changes to the voting system and the abolition of the House of Lords, he told Sky News.
Mr Farage, who has already registered the new party name, said it would "change politics for good".
The announcement comes after a week in which the Brexit Party lost four Members of the European Parliament.
Clearly he has a point even if he doesn't really  believe it.

As Channel 4's Martin Williams points out. in  2017 ( I can't find any update figure for 2019)
In this year’s General Election,(2017) the Conservative Party only won 42 per cent of the overall vote, compared with Labour’s 40 per cent.
But they ended up with 318 parliamentary seats, while Labour only won 262 seats.
Meanwhile, the SNP got around twice as many votes as the Green Party. But the Greens still only have one MP, compared to the SNP’s 35 MPs.
This disparity is due to the voting system we use, known as First Past The Post (FPTP). It means that, in each constituency, the winner takes all – and votes for other candidates are effectively discounted.
So even if smaller parties win a significant share of the overall national vote share, they could still end up with no MPs if they have failed to come out on top within any single constituency.
Technically it’s still one person, one vote. But some parties are more likely to see these votes translate into MPs than others, depending on the distribution and concentration of their supporters.
The UK is the only undisputed democracy in Europe to use FPTP; others use systems that better reflect the overall proportion of votes cast, rather than just who wins in each constituency.
So how would the 2017 General Election have played out under proportional representation?
By combining election data with the results of a large-scale opinion poll, the Electoral Reform Society has this week published projected results.
They have looked at three different versions of proportional representation, which are explained below: Alternative Vote (AV), Additional Member System (AMS) and the Single Transferable Vote system (STV).

It’s important to remember that these are only estimates. It’s impossible to know exactly how voting behaviour might change if the UK switched to proportional voting – or how parties might alter their campaign tactics.

However, it gives us an idea of what the political map may look under proportional representation.

It suggests that the current FPTP system is only beneficial for the SNP and Conservatives, who would both lose out if the voting system was changed. Plaid Cymru would not stand to gain from a change either.

But the other parties would all benefit from switching to a version of proportional representation because second preferences now become relevant.

However, the different types of proportional representation are better for different parties, which perhaps makes it more unlikely that they would ever agree on a new system.

The Lib Dems, the Green Party and Ukip would all fare best under AMS. But this would actually be worse for Labour than the current method.

However, under STV – the version generally regarded as the most representative proportional voting system – Labour would have won more seats than any other party.
The voting systems explained

First Past The Post (FPTP) – This is the system currently used in UK general elections. Each voter picks a single candidate and the person with the most votes wins. They could get one per cent of the votes, or 100 per cent – it doesn’t matter. Just so long as they get more than their rivals.

Alternative Vote (AV) – Instead of just voting for one candidate in your constituency, you can rank them in order of preference. If any candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the first choices, they win. If not, the second preferences are added into the mix – and so on, until a candidate reaches the threshold.

Additional Member System (AMS) – This is a mixed method, which is already used to elect the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly. You vote twice: once for a constituency representative, and once for a regional one. The constituency vote uses the FPTP system, while the makeup of regional members reflects the proportion of votes cast for each party.

Single Transferable Vote (STV) – This is possibly the most complex system, but it is also the one most strongly advocated by the Electoral Reform Society and is already used in certain elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Instead of electing one MP for each constituency, voters pool together to elect a small team of MPs to represent a wider region. Like with AV, voters rank the candidates in order of preference. To win, they must reach a pre-set quota. If no one reaches this quota level, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed, until someone reaches the quota. Campaigners say this is the closest to true proportional representation of any voting system currently in use.

Farage also appears to be entering the progressive territory in calling for the abolition of the house of lords , though tellingly he does not seem to , be offering an alternative and maybe he prefers a unicameral chamber that can pass legislation that cannot  be resisted by a second chamber.
It could well be that Farage's intention is to use Reform as a word for a even more totalitarian state that we have now

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Scotland's independence claim is no more valid than Catalonia's or our own

Yesterday I got into a an argument on  Facebook after seeing this Post

Could we as Scottish citizens appeal to the EU for help? #Brexit #indyref2020

I responded with what I thought was a reasonable  point,

Glyn Morris The EU has done bugger all for Catalonia though.

 but it led to some comments.

  • Isabel Melville Glyn Morris we are not Catalonia, we are a sovereign country.
  • Robert Reilly Dowd Glyn Morris we are a sovereign country only part of a union that at any time can leave that union catalonia isn't
  • Glyn Morris Robert Reilly Dowd As a Welsh man who also seeks independence for my own Nation, I find your argument based on concepts of sovereignty disturbing. Catalonian independistas have as much right as any ,"Nation" however that term is defined. Would an independent Scotland turn their back on one of the free friends we have. Uh
  • Kim Cuthbertson Glyn Morris Spain’s stance is not sustainable. There’s lots going on and much support. Get onto Twitter.Catalonia will become independent
  • Isabel Melville I will always support the right of nations to become independent if they so desire. So does the UN.
    And yes that includes Catalonia and Wales.
    Scotland, however, has a much stronger case than either of the former.
  • Robert Reilly Dowd Glyn Morris hey listen good luck to catalonia I hope they get their independence but Scotland isn't catalonia Scotland and England are two different countries catalonia is part of Spain they just want to be separate from the rest of it
  • Linaire McRae Glyn Morris
    There a difference.
    Catalunya is ham-stringed by the Spanish Constitution...we have no such issue.
  • Glyn Morris I strongly object to the idea that Scotland has s stronger case. It is the will of its people that matters not historic treaties made by the aristocracy.
  • Robert Reilly Dowd Seriously good luck and all the best to catalonia but my focus is on Scotland getting it's own independence

I do not accept for instance that Catalonia and our own claim to Independence is no more valid than Scotland's 

During the Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659), Catalonia revolted (1640–1652) against a large and burdensome presence of the royal army in its territory, being briefly proclaimed a republic under French protection. Within a brief period France took full control of Catalonia, until it was largely reconquered by the Spanish army. Under the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Spanish Crown ceded the northern parts of Catalonia, mostly the County of Roussillon, to France. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the Crown of Aragon sided against the Bourbon Philip V of Spain; following Catalan defeat on 11 September 1714, Philip V, inspired by the model of France imposed a unifying administration across Spain, enacting the Nueva Planta decrees, suppressing the main Catalan institutions and rights like in the other realms of the Crown of Aragon. This led to the eclipse of Catalan as a language of government and literature, replaced by Spanish. Throughout the 18th century, Catalonia experienced economic growth, reinforced in the late quarter of the century when the Castile's trade monopoly with American colonies ende

The organized Catalan independence movement began in 1922, when Francesc Macià founded the political party Estat Català (Catalan State). In 1931, Estat Català and other parties formed Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia; ERC). Macià proclaimed a Catalan Republic in 1931, subsequently accepting autonomy within the Spanish state after negotiations with the leaders of the Second Spanish Republic. During the Spanish Civil War, General Francisco Franco abolished Catalan autonomy in 1938. Following Franco's death in 1975, Catalan political parties concentrated on autonomy rather than independence.The modern independence movement began in 2010 when the Constitutional Court of Spain ruled that some of the articles of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy—which had been agreed with the Spanish government and passed by a referendum in Catalonia—were unconstitutional, and others were to be interpreted restrictively. Popular protest against the decision quickly turned into demands for independence. Starting with the town of Arenys de Munt, over 550 municipalities in Catalonia held symbolic referendums on independence between 2011 and 2011. All of the towns returned a high "yes" vote, with a turnout of around 30% of those eligible to vote. A 2010 protest demonstration against the court's decision, organised by the cultural organisation Òmnium Cultural, was attended by over a million people. The popular movement fed upwards to the politicians; a second mass protest on 11 September 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia) explicitly called on the Catalan government to begin the process towards independence. Catalan president Artur Mas called a snap general election, which resulted in a pro-independence majority for the first time in the region's history. The new parliament adopted the Catalan Sovereignty Declaration in early 2013, asserting that the Catalan people had the right to decide their own political future.

 Scotland claim for Independence and the right to seek it is valid , but that right comes from the people , who are clearly asserting it.

The argument that because the central government in Spain denied Catalonia that tight does not make Scotland's claim more valid.