I’ve been thinking and I believe that the best idea would be for the whip system to be given up. If a party leader can’t convince their members, the policy stinks! At present the party with the most mp’s passes their bills. Any discussion in parliament is window-dressing.
For non-uk readers. each party has several officers called ‘whips’ who ensure that the party mp’s vote the party line. they have several levels of severity, ranging from a free vote (vote with your conscience) to a three line whip (vote the party line or else!).
How is the whip enforced? Is it mandated by law, or is it a social convention of sorts? If it’s a social convention I’m not sure there’s much to do about it whether it’s good or not.
As I understand it, it is enforced by the party leaders - ignore it too much and not only no cabinet posts but likely to be dropped at next election.
Sounds like the real problem is that people won’t vote for independents. Fix that and the threat of ‘likely to be dropped at next election’ will go away, resulting in members of Parliament being much more willing to vote against the whip, and therefore degrading the whip naturally. At least as long as the dissenting vote is in alignment with their constituents, that is.
I agree that people need to be more willing to vote for independents. For that, people need to just give more of a damn about politics. Frankly, if you show up at the election booth and you can’t name the local candidate or the name of the party leader, I’m not sure I want you to be allowed to vote. people blindly vote for the same party every year because their parents voted that way, with zero understanding of the issues involved.
As I understood it, the main problem with having the whip removed (ie: being banned by the whips) was the lack of parliamentary support. Amazingly, as I recall there is no real administrative support or organisation in the UK parliament. It’s all handled by the whips, so you need to rely on them to basically tell you what debate is when, and what vote is what time etc. Apparently, without this, it’s a bit of a nightmare.
traditionally, independents ‘align’ themselves with a whip in order to get that stuff done. As I recall its the whips that provide the MP’s with order papers for each day.
So, the parliment can’t remove the whips, because the whips are used by the party leaders to stop them. Surely that isn’t too smart. Conserning laws about parliment should be a free vote, cause otherwise you have to wait a very long time for the persons in power giving away their power, which is rare.
I agree, but it can never happen as long as a party system is needed to get elected.
The situation is better in the UK than the US, because the unlimited TV ads in the US means that money is a bigger factor in campaigning. It’s still possible for locals, and single-issue campaigners to become MP’s in the House of Commons. We do need more of them though…
Personally, I love the parliamentary procedures in the UK system.
However, there’s a reason that there’s more money available in the US then there is anywhere in Europe. The US Supreme Court put it best by saying “Money is speech”, because their absolutely right. Limiting campaign funding is a (severe) form of censorship. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations are discriminatory and unconstitutional, in my opinion. They’ve done an excellent job at further marginalizing third parties, which has certainly made the Republicans and Democrats happy.
As Cliff mentioned above, the main issue is voter malaise. When it comes right down to it, most people in the US (and in western Europe, to a lesser extent) simply don’t care who is in power. The fact is, even in the midst of a severe economic crisis, we’re simply rich. As long as the parties that are in power do what they can to maintain the status quo, the majority of people just don’t give a damn what happens.
Think about it, do you care more about your personal day-to-day lives or what’s going on in government? The only things that make us care are when something going on in government directly impacts our lives (hence, the recent interest in legalizing marijuana, for example. lol)
But EVERYTHINg that happens in your daily life is politics, and people need to see that. Politics is rpesented as arguments about interest rates, but it is not.
Whether or not I have sex with someone of the same gender tonight or tomorrow is political.
When I turn a light switch on in my home, the price of that power, its reliability and its safety is all politics.
What I can eat in a restaurant tonight, the welfare of the animals involved, the pay of the wiating staff, and the tax on the meal will be politics.
The chances of me getting to the restaurant by public transport is politics.
How many roadworks I drive through on my route there is politics.
What questions someone can ask me in a job interview is politics
In fact, its easier to list what isn’t a matter of politics, which is pretty much nothing. I wish people gave more thought to the ramifications of who they choose to put in power. And I agree that the whip and indeed the party system is a joke. I have never, ever in 39 years met a single person that I agree with about everything, and yet we cling to this fantasy that political parties speak with a united voice.
I agree completely.
Unfortunately, we’re (those of us who are reading this) not typical of most people. The vast majority of people simply don’t care… They use public works, live their daily lives, but beyond that they rarely think about politics.
Worse, here in the US (and the rest of the world seems to be catching up), political campaigns are sporting events. The sports coverage style of campaign reporting fosters interest in the race, but beyond that it causes apathy.
People (in the group sense) need parties as well. The sports coverage reporting makes that worse, as well. Labels simple make things easily digestible, in general. Political parties exist for that reason alone.
The three line sounds very un-democratic if you ask me