Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Telegraph: more of the same

The Telegraph insist that a system that keeps producing one-party feuds that swap power every ten to twenty years is alright.

If you believe the Telegraph's relentless campaign to expose the MPs' expenses abuse is aimed at bringing about serious change, then you may be in for some disappointment.

Matthew D'Ancona, editor of the Spectator, writes in today's Sunday Telegraph that calls for constitutional reforms are just "the panic button of the political class" as well as "politics in the A&E department". It is true that Labour has had over twelve years to bring about serious constitutional change and the notion that they would suddenly plough ahead with electoral reforms, a slimmed down House of Commons and fully elected Lords is, in two simple words, absolute bollocks.

But the Telegraph's robotic belief that a general election now is the only thing that matters is also quite suspicious: after all, we are 11 months away from voting anyway.

D'Ancona writes that Proportional Representation "weakens the constituency link and depends upon party lists making MPs more corrupt in the process", but he's conveniently massaging the truth. There is no such thing as a "PR system". There are various systems out there more or less based on PR and some of them (the STV, for instance) are explicitly aimed at individual candidates and not party lists.

He also writes that "[S]ometimes, looking at the wood can distract you from the trees". And he's not kidding. Certainly when it comes to his own views. For how can you still fail to spot the structural rot of a system that keeps producing one-party feuds for a period of 10 to 20 years (and more in the case of individual constituencies)? How can it be good for democracy?

By the time it reached the 1997 elections, the Tory government was considered terminally sleazy and corrupt, the result of 18 years of uninterrupted power. A fed-up country reacted by handing Blair power by a landslide but, again, after twelve years of dominating Westminster, it looks like Labour too has run into the same problems associated with "entrenched power".

Which is why now everyone agrees Cameron is also going to win by a landslide, which means he'll be at the helm for another generation. And then probably the same old stuff again in 2021, with the papers shouting Britain's had enough and all the rest. What will the Telegraph do then? Lead the same futile calls for change?


socialistsam said...

The Thing is:
the Telegraph have suddenly realised their "campaign" isn't really channelling any votes towards the Tories. Quite the opposite in fact.

So before the general public realise that they're in it as much as NL (if not worse), they are pressing for Brown to go to the country.

Patrick Gray said...

Amazing how Cameron has been writing rivers of words about "change" and "reform" but the most obvious and radical and fairest of them (a new electoral system) he dismissed out of hand without explaining why.
Don;t vote for him, people.