Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

Where have all the Scots gone, and are they coming back, asks Kevin Meagher?

16/10/2010, 10:00:00 AM

Will a Scot ever lead Labour again? You might think that’s a strange question. Of the 17 men elected as Labour leader since 1906, eight have been Caledonians. This includes Labour’s first five leaders and its last three: Smith Blair and Brown.

But the party is becoming less Scottish. This is an imprecise science; but just think back to Tony Blair’s first cabinet in 1997. Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, Donald Dewar, Gavin Strang, George Robertson, Alistair Darling and Derry Irvine. Scots abounded.

Yet the new shadow cabinet contains just three Scots: Jim Murphy at defence, Douglas Alexander at transport and Ann McKechin at the Scottish office. Meanwhile, the biggest casualty of the shadow cabinet elections was Pat McFadden, although he is an anomaly: a Scot representing an English seat. (more…)

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Amanda Ramsay sees unspeakable contempt for the unwritten constitution

20/06/2010, 10:27:53 AM

There is no overarching mandate for any one party’s electoral pledges.  Which raises difficult constitutional questions for the coalition. Realising that it is on a sticky wicket, the government fears being bowled out, on any given parliamentary vote, if their fragile coalition starts to fragment.  Hence their plans to bolster their precarious position by abolishing the simple majority vote of no confidence and fixing Parliamentary terms, with nothing less than legislative super-glue.

The old lie: “lies, damn lies and statistics” has never seemed more appropriate than while the sticky mathematics of this hung Parliament betray our new political masters’ contempt for the constitutional rule book.

Erskine May must be turning in his grave. To deny Parliament the safeguard of a vote of no confidence with a simple majority, half of the votes plus one being traditionally enough to drag a government back to the polls at any time not of its choosing, is both a con and a travesty.  Constitutional safeguards exist for good reasons. If a government is too extreme, ineffective or totally irresponsible, what greater protection than the ability to oblige the government of the day to face the electorate and seek a new mandate? (more…)

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