Armchair politics


Most politicians seem fucking useless, but then a few appear to be fantastic. There is no correlation with party or experience.

I understand the principle of FPTP, but you don’t get much choice over your MP. It’s bloody stupid really.


Well, you do get to vote for them, or against them.

If people voted more for the individual most likely to put the interests of their constituents and the interests of the country first, rather than which party they belong to, or their own personal interests, maybe we would have a better selection of MP’s in parliament.

I realise that it’s a big ask. Especially for those who are blindly following ‘party’ politics.


Arthur C Clarke posited a form of democracy for future extraterrestrial colonies.

My very vague memory leads me to believe it went something like this:

Representatives and higher level functionaries would be chosen, by the central computer, on an entirely meritocratic basis, so you would be selected by an algorithm that took into account your ability, intellect and whatever performance indicators deemed applicable. Anyone actively seeking office would be automatically banned from selection.

All citizens would be able to debate and vote on any significant decisions electronically.

Would prevent articulate charlatans getting into office.


Hmmm, interesting, but of course it will never happen


Russian bots in charge again, life doesn’t change much


Yes but it’s basically this cunt or that cunt, and unless you live in a marginal there’s not really much point in voting.

I think that we need a system that is more proportional, so minorities get a sensible amount of input. Maybe one house could be FPTP, one proportional.


I simply don’t understand this point. As far as I understand it, the purpose of a democracy is to return a Government and Parliament that reflects the views of the plebiscite. The FPTP approach simply disenfranchises vast swathes of those eligible to vote and returns unrepresentative Government. Blair had a landslide on 30-odd per cent of the vote, likewise Thatcher. I’m unimpressed that a party can get 10% of the votes cast and not win a single seat. You can argue that FPTP delivers a clear outcome but that still fails the proportionality test.

I would favour a hybrid of the Irish and Australian systems with PR and direct election into both Houses of Parliament. Fixing the system while avoiding the pitfalls of gerrymandering is s non trivial task.


I agree that it’s far from trivial. Ultimately I don’t like FPTP at all; its proponents say that “it gets a result”, indeed with the drawbacks you describe, but I prefer politics without huge majorities - I want reasonable, cautious coalitions. FPTP promotes our confrontational politics rather than a more collegiate, positive system.

But are we really ever going to get away from it? Every time a party gets into power it wants to preserve the system that got it into power. Hence my comment about the other house being proportional - because Commons becoming proportional is probably never going to happen.


It’s hard to argue any of the tradiional ‘positives’ of FPTP at the moment.

For all the inherent benefits of PR or hybrids, they require a degree of compromise from the politcal parties themselves that I think the British political class is utterly incapable of for a generation, and requires a degree of tolerance and patience from the public that they’re equably incapable of grasping.

To boot, traditional party allegiances are torn assunder by Brexit, so it’s rather hard to see how day-to-day politics can function in the Brexit vortex.

Cheers, twat


There’s a good case for this. But as long as the ‘upper’ house is as subsidiary as ours is it doesn’t really matter. The power lies in the Commons and that’s what counts. If you set up an upper house with real power and if it then disagrees with the lower house then you have the gridlock which is US system.

In the end it’s outcomes that matter. Where’s the shining example of a reasonable, cautious coalition that enjoys the love and admiration of a large and diverse electorate and is responsive and decisive enough to maintain a high-performing economy in a fast-changing world ?



Not sure I fully agree. One of the issues we have is the role of an unelected Prime Minister who is able to wield power almost unabated. Any reform must address this as well.


Yes, more exactly the power lies with the party which returns the most members of the lower house, because they get to form the executive government as well as diominate the legislative process. We don’t elect the prime minister, but they do and they understand that their choice has a very strong influence on the voters, as the Labour party is finding out.

Direct election of the PM gets you Barack Obama, who was frozen to death by Congress, and Donald Trump. Lovely.



Is there any political system that has this outcome?


Whereas we got Brexit due to the actions of an unelected Prime Minister, followed by a complete cluster, again due to the actions of an unelected Prime Minister.

The role of the second house is poorly understood, some may say even pointless as the unelected PM can just flood it with supporters. The power of patronage undermines democracy, it doesn’t strengthen it.

however, i suspect the UK love of Royalty and constitutional monarchy will outweigh all other arguments.


Cameron didn’t launch the referendum on a whim. He did it to try to end the constant bickering between factions in his party. It was still a catastrophically stupid thing to do. But if evidence was needed that any bunch of elected politicians is about as likely to play nicely together as a similar sized group of three year olds without enough toys for one each then the state of the parliamentary Conservative party was, and still is, it.

The wider the range of opinions you put into the government, the more time they spend in playground fighting and the less they spend in doing the job we pay them for. This is why armies are not run as democracies.



I was very impressed that UKIP was excluded from Parliament for this exact reason!


Indeed! I do wonder though what the make-up of our parliament would be under PR. Sure we might worry about the far right, but it would be great to see loads of greens and other progressives.

But I guess the issue is that half the population has a sub-average IQ…






I think that they typically poll 5-10%, which would possibly increase substantially if voting for them was actually worthwhile