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Canary42 - is the governement unlected?

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d9f1c7 | 12:54 Mon 02nd Apr 2012 | Society & Culture
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On other threads Canary keeps saying that the government is not elected, I don't agree, the people voted and the party with the most votes formed a government, that is our system. Unless he means that they didn't get over half the votes, but no Goverement in history has ever got more than 50%, even the Thatcher years, even Tony's 97 landslide so can anyone, expecially canary, please explain why they think the government is not elected?


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I presume he means nobody voted for a coalition. Tory voters were voting against the LibDems and vice-versa, so they all got a government they didn't want, as did Labour voters.

However, they all voted against voting reform too.
The Tories were unable to secure enough seats to form a working government.

In that sense they were not elected

Because of this they and the Liberal democrats compromised on their manifesto promises.

These manifesto pledges form the basis of the mandate a government claims - it's the backbone of it's right to govern - it's validity.

There's a good basis for claiming that by compromising their manifesto pledges they also compromised their right to govern.

Unfortunately because we don't have a proper written and firm constitution there's no real law around a lot of this just a bit of precident and "make-it-up-as-you-go-along" rules.

So on balance, and because nobody wanted a long drawn out mess, their right to govern was recognised but I can easilly see why some people might not think that they are a legitimate government
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I see jake, so if you accept those parameters, effectively, a coalition can never be legitimate? So by implication our current system usually does produce a legitimate government, PR would always be "invalid" as it always produces a hung parliament and as such can never be considered "elected" under the canary42 accord? I see, thanks.
Thing is if you don't accept the compramise you could end like Italy in the 80's
Each individual British voter votes for a single candidate in parliamentary elections. However, that vote is - more often than not, I suspect - really a vote for the party the candidate claims to represent rather than the candidate him/herself.
No candidates anywhere in Britain put themselves forward as coalition representatives, so - on the face of it - a coalition government was not really a specific option available to voters. That, I imagine, is what Canary means by saying "the government is not elected".
Despite the fact that John Major went for about a year and a half after becoming Prime minister before asking us what WE, the voters, thought of that, Tories never tired of whingeing that Gordon Brown was "an unelected prime minister".
The whole concept of 'unelectedness' is quite complex in some ways, D9!
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For what it's worth I never thought GB was unelected.
To be pedantic the UK electorate NEVER elects a government or a Prime Minister of any description. They elect Members of Parliament to represent them at Westminster and it is those members who choose a Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then goes on to select the ministers to form the government. Unfortunately party politics has created the impression that voters are electing a government, but they are not.
Has there ever been an occasion when the members of the winning party usually (see * below) the one the electorate has effectively "chosen"...then picked as Prime Minister anyone OTHER than the person who was party-leader prior to the election? That they MAY do so is possibly true, but it is hardly relevant if it never occurs.
Of course, some members of the public may personally know the candidate they are voting for at election, but how many of the rest of us actively investigate the qualities and views of the other candidates to assess whether we would really rather have one of them? Very few, I would guess.
Whatever pedantry has to say on the matter, the plain fact is that we ARE "electing a government" other than in the circumstances which obtained in 2010; namely, * the circumstances which gave us a coalition.
Well I didn't say that I accepted the argument did I?

I can see why one might make that argument.

The Gordon Brown points good of course it can be levelled at a number of Prime Ministers for example when John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher.

However if anything it reinforces the point.

In such cases the Prime Mininster normally would not pursue policies widely diverging from the original mandate.

Can a coalition ever be legitimate? - Now that's a really good question

I think it may depend on the manner of the negotiations and how the eventaul agreement differs from their manifestos.

In this situation we've ended up with a Government pursuing a bunch of policies which weren't put to the British people.

I wonder how many people would have voted Tory or Liberal Democrat if they'd have been presented with the evenual agreement
My personal consideration is that I would be very happy with a coalition of either
1. Both parties who got the most votes
2. All parties who took part

What I am deeply unhappy about is that the Lib Dems are sharing power with the Conservatives despite getting less votes than labour. That is simply not right.
The sum total of who makes our rules is on a sliding scale of election. The MPs themselves have been covered, while the powers of the unelected lords are negligible unless appointed as ministers. But most of our new laws (eg the latest deregulating of postage prices) are made by the EU, and as such we must consider who votes for them? Their structure is on two main levels, the parliament and the commission. To be honest I don't actually know the legislative power of the parliament as the little research I have done appears to indicate they discuss existing decisions made by the commission and little else. Unless someone can put me right I am wondering if they can do anything at all. But the EU regulations are made by the commission directly, they are unelected and can stay for many years as they are civil servants given the role of legislators, instantly breaking the rule of separation of powers.

As a result they are free to legislate pretty well unhindered, and there is a further ability above and beyond where they can meet and draft material in private and their records are not open to the public. As this is their primary role (legislature and executive combined) I am as I say unsure if the parliament do any more than the Queen or presidents of countries like Ireland, as the actual regulations originate from above them and don't know if they can even amend them let alone veto any.

Above the EU is the UN. in 1991 they wrote Agenda 21 for sustainability, and as such every member state is bound by the regulations, usually applied through local councils through the body titled ICLEI. Fortnightly bin collections, compulsory recycling, road narrowing and restricting new parking spaces are all influenced directly by Agenda 21 as one plank is to reduce dependence on private transportation, hence EU plans to ban cars from city centres and flight taxes. So one can say that at the scope of the UN and Agenda 21 (all unelected) there is no accountability, or with anything which comes from the EU as once joined and new treaties accepted we have signed away greater and greater functions previously assigned to our elected parliaments, if you read about any new laws or regulations like the postal charges just check the source and you'll find most are direct from the EU and only applied by our parliament.
In my view a Coalition government of parties that received, together, 59.1% of the votes (as did the Conservatives and the LibDems in 2010) is more “legitimate” than one formed from a single party that received, say, 45% of the vote (which no single party has gained in recent years).

The problem is that party politics has deceived the voters into believing that they are voting for a government, when in fact they are not. Before the advent of party politics voters elected their representative to send t Westminster. He then voted in individual Commons divisions in accordance with the wishes of his constituents. He was not bound by party “Whips” into toeing the party line. He could choose how to vote on each issue in the best interests of those who elected him.

The difficulty for the “party” MPs is that today they have no perceived means of canvassing among their constituents apart from selling the party “package” of measures that they propose to support in the next Parliament. In fact they should be canvassing their constituents on each individual measure that it is proposed to introduce and vote in the divisions in accordance with their constituents’ wishes.

It’s a bit more difficult than simply presenting a package of measures to the electorate, but tha is what they should be doing.
If a prime ministers dies in office or resigns then his successor by definition is 'unelected' inasmuch as he has not at that point led his party to victory at the polls. The only post-war PM to call an immediate election on taking office was Eden (1955). The others, together with the period before they called an election, were Macmillan (2 yrs 8 mths), Home (1yr), Callaghan (3 yrs) Major (1 yr 5 mths) and Brown (3 yrs).
But, once again mike, all PMs are “unelected” by the electorate. They are elected by MPs and constitutionally there is no requirement for a General Election to be called should the incumbent PM resign or die or be otherwise incapacitated. All that happens is that MPs simply select a new one.

I will say again (without apology) that voters may be led to believe they are electing a Prime Minister and government of ministers, but they are not. It simply suits the parties to perpetuate this belief. Voters elect a Parliament of MPs and that is all. After that, who occupies what position is up to the MPs.
strongly agree with NJ here, there are so many misconceptions about the Brit political system out there, to the point that it is rather frightening.
An example of what New Judge means can be found at local government level. In 1980 the Labour Party under a moderate leader won the elections for the Greater London Council. The following day the leader was deposed and Ken Livingstone installed in his place.
Yes mike. Voters elected a Labour administration under the leadership (they thought) of "moderate" Andrew MacIntosh.

The example you quote is very appropriate. Although it has not happened (to my knowledge) at national level, there is no reason why it might not.
Nox makes a valid point about the tail wagging the dog. This is valid up to a point. The party with the majority of seats is entitled to seek to form a government if it wishes.. I have no recollection of this ever happening.
Labour formed a minority government after the February 1974 election when it won more seats than the other parties but did not have an overall majority.

Thanks for that. I was but a lad then and up to my ears in Uni studies..

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