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Given that Labour can't pay the debts they incurred during the last general election, I don't see how "Gordon Brown calling a snap General Election should he become Labour leader and enjoy a honeymoon boost in the polls" is a realistic possibility.

I don't really think Cameron means this, and he's trying to undermine the Brown Premiership from the start. Let's face it, we're nowhere near ready for an election. Our hundred candidates have barely started their campiagns, we would have to pick hundreds of candidates for seats we need to win within weeks and the fact we have no policies. It's a clever poker move by a chip leader, bullying a player who's short stacked and can't afford to play.

I really doubt that Brown will either get much of a poll bounce (even Mayor was a comparativley "new face" when he took over - while Brown's been vice-pm for nearly a decade) nor can i see the Labour party having any funds to fight an election on... if the election comes though (despite being in the final year of my degree) I'll do all i can to help!

Brown unlike Major, will be a well known person when he takes over. Therefore he will get very little uplift in the polls and the honeymoon will be less than 6 months. For Brown there is also the new boundaries, if he jumps in May he gets the old ones and +20 MPs, if he goes after it is 20 fewer.

The first key issue in this, is when will Blair go? Labour MPs are now going back to their constituencies and will hear from activists of the threat to councillors and assembly representatives. Many will come back in January resolved to be rid of Blair by May (not during).

I'm sure it is in Brown's interests to go early. Even if the honeymoon is limited it will be better to utilise it. The Tories won't have a policy programme by then. Brown'll be able to say that he wants his own mandate and the decision to call an election will reinforce the sense that he is in charge. Your point about boundary changes is important, HF. It will mean GB's favourite Ed Balls will still have his abolished seat!!

May election it is then.

Given the appalling state of the Blair/Brown relationship at the moment, Blair might be tempted to call a GE just to do Brown down.
In any event, the tories must be ready for an early election, even if they don't believe it will happen.
A May election would mean the tories having to produce a complete manifesto in the next three months (including taxes, Europe and immigration).

Whatever happens there ARE elections in May 2007.

Brown is a curmudgeon and a very risk-averse type (risks are for others) having worked in TV and Parliament with total job security.

Cameron has no traction in the North of England and a party which is not part of the landscape.............what is likely is a very hung Parliament after the next election with NOC as the outcome.........just the time to ram a Referendum on the EU through

Worth mentioning Murdoch explicitly said that Brown would be cheating the public if he called an early election.


I think Brown will get a poll boost, but he'd be unwise to rely on it surviving a general election campaign. In fact, it would be a hideous gamble on the part of a man who is not a gambler.

It's hard to see Labour coming out of a snap election with more seats than they have at present.

"The LibDems are today promising a Couple's Premium to address the unfairnesses that people on low income can face when they move in together."

Well I can think of at least one prominent Liberal Democrat who can advise on the difficulties that couples have when they move in together. Cheeky cheeky!

One key area that will influence Brown is Scotland. The Guardian writer Jackie Ashley said recently that Scotland was Brown's main focus for next May (not Wales and not English councils). There was a report at the Labour NEC that they could lose 40% of their Scottish councillors next May. Due to a combination of falling popularity and the new voting system.

If Brown was able to combine a GE with an AM and Council election he could conclude that in driving the turnout up it will help AMs and Councillors get elected.

Having a GE after May, 40% fewer councillors will be a huge dent in his activist base there.


Well, there is that, HF. And, he would get to fight the election under the old boundaries.

But it's a fair bet that Labour would still have fewer than 356 seats, and we would have more than 198, were there to be a snap election.

Even if Labour were to finish up the largest party (which I think they would) they'd have great difficulty governing, and be saddled with even bigger debts.

I suppose we have all completely discounted the possibility that a newly appointed Brown as PM immediately announces a 'historic tie-up' with his old Edinburgh mate Menzies Campbell and announces an early election at which both parties will stand together on a joint manifesto to introduce PR in the following Parliament?

Joined forces means less tactical voting, an early election means old boundaries (good for nulab) and the prospect of PR in the election after that will keep both sides MP's happy in the knowledge that they will be high up the party lists.

I mean surely Brown couldn't be devious enough ... could he?

I agree with the Editor.None of the economic indicators show that things are likely to improve the longer he waits and his public spending commitments show significant 'cuts' in public spending growth.GB may not be much of a gambler but he is no fool either,he'll want his mandate asap so I strongly suspect that we'll have another election in 2007.

Marcus Wood

That is a very good point and one that could blindside us completely. I have long thought that he will drop a bombshell like giving independence to the Bank of England on becoming Chancellor, and this could well be it. PR could be exactly what keeps him in power for ten years...

Would the PLP ever accept PR? After all, it would mean a large number of them necessarily loosing their seats.

Brown still has a major obstacle in his way before he is able to call a honeymoon GE. He has to divorce himself from Blair and that might be a lot more messy and drawn out than predicted.
There are just to many risks involved in a pre planned snap election for a man who has never taken a political gamble with his own career.
Even if he was in place as PM by May, I would expect him to use those elections as a more accurate indicator than the polls regarding evidence of a honeymoon bounce.

I agree Sean that GB will lose seats. With a small honeymoon uplift, his view maybe to decide whether to lose 30 MPs in May or 70 MPs in Oct 07 (boundary changes and fewer Cllr and AMs to help out).

With around 326 MPs he could govern through a deal with an expanded PC and SNP or worst case the LDs.

He may also calculate that because every Tory Leader who lost an election since 1974 was replaced, that the same thing may happen to DC.

"Would the PLP ever accept PR? After all, it would mean a large number of them necessarily loosing their seats."

Quite a few are going to lose their seats anyway. How helpful it would be if Gordon could promise a few of them a nice high place on the list (or a seat in a reformed second Chambers - another potential bombshell?)...

One thing I am sure of about Brown, he will want to make a grand announcement like BoE independance and it will be on the constitution, not the economy.

And he is no fool, he knows the chances of Labour retaining power diminish with time, even if he hangs on till 09 under the current system, then what? Surely he can see his power gone and his career a failure unless he tries something dramatic.

Fixed term parliaments, a maximim term of office for PM, a revised upper House and proportional representation.

It also gets round the difficult funding issues because the whole party system becomes completely centralised under PR.

Also, Brown as PM also becomes leader of his Party. As a control freak the autonomy of constituency associations probably drives him mad - PR means that with one bound he has complete control of the Labour Party as well as a virtually guaranteed majority in both houses in the Commons.

Please excuse my ignorance, but what happens if we have to fight a snap election using the old seats but with over a hundred of our candidates already selected in anticipation of using the revised boundaries?

He may also calculate that because every Tory Leader who lost an election since 1974 was replaced, that the same thing may happen to DC.

Whilst there are many here who might wish for such an outcome, it would be far from certain. Whatever happens, it is almost sure that our tally of seats at the next election will be significantly higher than our current one. Some success, even if not a win. In such a case David Cameron would be expected to say that he had not been given enough time to change the party, and wished to continue. Even if he were challenged, he would have a good chance of winning.

Is it really plausible that a man who for years has been too gutless to kick out Tony Blair, will kick out hundreds of years of voting system tradition? What signals would that send out. If he did, he would for years have stigma of being the man who gave House of Commons representation to the BNP trying to save his own skin.

I still believe he'll limp on with the idea in his head that the next election will come down the the economy stupid.

I agree with those who think that there is a real risk that the Labour Party and the Lib Dems will do a deal on PR. Huge Labour majorities in 1997 and 2001 put the issue on the back burner. Now that more normal service has resumed, we are back to the concordat between Labour and the Lib Dems in 1997 to keep the Tories out of power for at least a generation. That requires PR in order to be secure. The Tories have been in denial about this for ten years, not least when they spend time courting, rather than fighting, leftwing Lib Dem MPs such as Norman Baker.

Serf, I agree but Brown may calculate that since our chances of winning diminish in the short term, that he can inflict maximimum damage by going early. I would also want DC to continue.

Geoff as to what would happen to seat selection on old boundaries = a messy rush. Again benefiting Brown because he has the most incumbent MPs.

if he jumps in May he gets the old ones and +20 MPs, if he goes after it is 20 fewer.
As I understand it the difference in the majority would be about 20 - about 10 MP's difference for Labour, that could be less than a 1% shift for Labour or the Conservatives, or Liberal Democrats - I think if he goes for a General Election next year that Labour's vote is unlikely to be higher than in 2005 and might even be slightly lower while the Conservatives vote is likely to be a couple of percent higher. I still think European Election Day is almost certainly the day, bringing together different elections and saving Labour money, Labour's finances might even have started to recover a bit before then and Gordon Brown can probably manage to pull out some things out of the hat before then, Ed Balls doubtless will be found a safe Labour seat.


It's possible that he might offer PR, but that could backfire horribly. It would be a pretty obvious gerrymander, and I trust we would attack it as such.

It's probable also that under any system of PR, support for both Labour and the Lib Dems would haemorrhage. The BNP would benefit strongly at Labour's expense, and the Greens at both Labour and Lib Dem expense. I expect the Lib Dems would also suffer, in England, from being seen to be so close to an unpopular Labour government.

Under PR, UKIP would probably gain votes from us (and win some seats) but I imagine Conservative and UKIP MPs would work together pretty well in Parliament.

Going under the Old Boundaries would probably work against Labour anyway, any advantage as compared to the new boundaries would be lost by people who would otherwise vote Labour being incensed and voting for other parties or not turning up because they thought it was sneaky and made a mockery of the Boundary Review.

The BNP would benefit strongly at Labour's expense
People voting BNP in a General Election either are diehard supporters of that type of party or have given up on Labour, I'm not sure that say something such as STV would neccessarily lead to any more switches of vote where it was still based on a constituency system - on less than 1% of the vote the BNP would still struggle to get anyway and in fact when they concentrate their vote in an area in a split vote in FPTP is actually the one chance they have of winning a seat - the Regional Multi-member constituencies in the European Elections have so far failed to deliver them any seats - they were close to getting one in the North West, so called PR systems can actually make it more difficult for very small parties to make a breakthrough, ultimately the term PR is a nonsense - you can't have Proportional Representation of everyone or even every party, only of those who make it all the way.

I dont think that many ordinary voters know or care about the Boundary Review, but it would probably make sense to them with a new Prime Minister there should be a new mandate. It would be a gamble for Brown (and the face he's not much usually a risk-taker is the biggest reason I'm not certain he'll do it) but a snap GE is the only way I think he can avoid becoming John Major mk II. Then again, Labour is virtually bankrupt...


It would end the wasted vote argument. BNP supporters would have no incentive to vote for anyone other than the BNP, under PR. It would also be far easier for the party to contest every constituency than under the current system. The Green Party and UKIP would equally benefit.

Assuming you need 14% to win a seat in six member constituencies, under PR, and 16% in five member constituencies, then I'd see the BNP breaking that barrier in a number of areas. A six-member Bradford Metropolitan Borough seat would certainly return a BNP MP, for example.

"Is it really plausible that a man who for years has been too gutless to kick out Tony Blair, will kick out hundreds of years of voting system tradition?"

Probably, but we would be foolish to ignore the possibility.

I am really concerned that we are sleepwalking to disaster on the cocksure belief that Brown will lose the next election.

With no 'rule changes' he would - and he knows it (he gets the same polling rsults as we do) but we KNOW that when the game looks lost, Labour change the rules - the have done it time and time again.

And only the supremely over-confident would under estimate the nous of Mr Brown.

The Brown/Blair partnership was forged on the basis of 'never again' to losing four times on the trot.

Blair and Brown have said many times that if the 20th Century was a Conservative one, the 21st Century is to be a Labour one. New Labours specific purpose virtually from the start has been to do anything - absolutely anything, to stop us ever gaining a sustained political upper hand again.

This has included making substantial changes not just to the constitution but to the way Parliamant operates day to day and the way MP's are funded to increase incumbency and secure their position.

Brown is even worse than Blair, he is at heart a republican who resents the fact that the Police and Armed Services swear their allegiance to the Monarch and not to the elected Government.

Blairs intended legacy is nothing to do with schools, hospitals or the war on terror, it is to ensure a New Labour hedgemony far into the future, perhaps interrupted occasionally by the odd weak and divided Tory administration to keep a semblance of democracy going.

If anyone in our party doesn't recognise that Brown is was and always has been 101% signed up to this they need their heads testing and soon.

Left to his own devices, Brown is a much greater threat to this country than Blair ever was.


I agree, Marcus

There is a wider issue. Almost anything a left wing governing party does is directed to securing their hegemony well into the future. Mass immigration, expanding the welfare state, huge public exependiture, the recruitmen of thousands of new public officals, endless regulation etc. all have the effect of expanding the numbers and fortunes of people who have a vested interest in voting for the Left.

Most right wing politicans, by contrast, are amateurs, whose level of political thinking has never moved beyond the Oxford and Cambridge Unions. Very few of them have the level of strategic insight that the Left have.

I dont think that many ordinary voters know or care about the Boundary Review
10 seats though is less than 2% of the total, miniscule trends in switching support can make 10 seats difference, so while most people might not realise a proportion of those realising switching could make that difference, I think there will be bigger considerations and that the Boundaries for Labour are a small consideration - after all the new boundaries are expected also to slightly reduce the number of Liberal Democrat MP's which for Labour could be seen as a positive as they will worry about Liberal Democrats and other parties cobbling together some kind of coalition, indeed the fewer seats the Liberal Democrats get from the point of view of both main parties the less threat they will be in future and a stronger Conservative parliamentary party could help get out the Labour vote, Labour loses less under the new boundaries than the Conservatives gain.

Sean, I have used this analogy before -but Conservatives fighting the Left is a bit like a chap squaring up under Queensberry Rules but facing a bloke wielding a baseball bat.

He never sees it coming.

Blair opened the door to unrestricted immigration. EU nationals may not claim any benefits until resident here for 12 months but aslyum-seekers are aided immediately.

Thus we have a ludicrous situation as the Greens have highlighted

Meals

whereby EU nationals from Slovakia qualify for, but cannot claim Free School Meals but asylum-seekers can..........so schools are using their budgets to fund children of EU nationals so they can have school meals.

This is getting so bizarre.

On top of which the Government has ordered a school to close because it has been 3 years in Special Measures but with 650 children from Eastern Europe in the catchment, if the school closes 84 childen will have no available school

Sean and Marcus, I agree entirely. One other respect in which right-wing politicians (especially Tory ones) are deficient compared to their opponents on the left is that they are much more easily suborned with perks and baubles. Think of the way that Alastair Campbell played the Tory Party like a violin, rendering Heseltine and Patten at best semi-detached. Portillo is another good example. The Tories always boast about how they are not an ideological party: that simply leaves them fair game for their opponents who are and who know how to buy them.

I agree with a lot of what you say Marcus. Brown is a very dangerous man with his socialism via stealth. I just wonder if his natural risk aversion will see him limp on. He is a con man though so you never know what his next move might be.

I believe in the wisdom and desency of the British people so I think that whatever system of voting we have there we will ever see an MP from UKIP or the BNP.
Brown is not a gambler and I think he will only go when he thinks he as more than a good chance of winning and being able to govern on his own and I don`t think he is going to face that situation. Brown will be another Jim Callaghan and go when he as to go.
All of this is nonsense anyway as whenever he goes one thing is for certain the next government will be formed by David Cameron not Gordon Brown.

""Is it really plausible that a man who for years has been too gutless to kick out Tony Blair, will kick out hundreds of years of voting system tradition?"

Probably, but we would be foolish to ignore the possibility."

If there is one thing that Gordon Brown must have learnt, it is that Tony Blair can fight back much better than the British constitution can. It is complacent to think that institutions and traditions that you cherish are not just flotsam and jetsam in GB's path to power. One will probably have to face the possibility that such a move might actually prove popular as well. It will certainly be cheered by the leftwing press, the BBC, and, come to think of it, every political party except the Conservatives.

A 'snap election'? Unlikely. But will the Conservatives win it? That's jumping the gun a bit Jack! Although i voted for Cameron in the election for a new leader ( i preferred Liam Fox) - i'll reserve judgement on whether we'll win the next election when :- i) the various policy committees report their findings; ii) whether the shadow cabinet will actually go for the jugular and stop dandying around in attacking Labour and the LDems. We need a 70's 'Keith Joseph style' attack that will scare the bejesus out of the opposition. iii) turnout for the next election appears to be improving. I have severe reservations that the next election will be one of the lowest turnouts ever.

New Labour has made it clear time and again that an unwritten constitution is simply there to be reshaped in accordance with the Labour Party's partisan wishes.

"I believe in the wisdom and desency of the British people so I think that whatever system of voting we have there we will ever see an MP from UKIP or the BNP." Jack Stone

Nothing to do with wisdom and decency - under PR, it's plain mathematics.

"New Labour has made it clear time and again that an unwritten constitution is simply there to be reshaped in accordance with the Labour Party's partisan wishes." Michael McGowan.

Sums it up perfectly.

desency of the British people

DECENCY

Marcus Wood "Surely he [Brown] can see his power gone and his career a failure"

He must be pretty thick if he hasn't realised that all political careers end ignominously. Plus his whole life he has been looking forward to stamping his ugly foot into our faces, he would not risk losing the guarantee of a further three years of stomping for an early election which might best case get him five years of stomping.

The LibDems would be pretty thick to believe any Nulab promises about PR after the last few times! And what exactly is the point of a joint Lib-Lab platform?

And surely neither of the big parties would go for PR. If we had PR (which I think would be pretty good fun, actually) then they would lose out enormously to BNP, UKIP and Greens etc. Unless they had something really spiteful like a 20% hurdle.

Plus honestly, who wants to win the next election? The wheels are bound to come of the economy sooner or later, and I don't why that shouldn't happen on Labour's shift, those blighters haven taken credit for Ken Clarke's fine work (i.e. none whatsoever, he was the least meddlesome Chancellor of recent times).

If there is PR, UKIP will win some seats.
As at the last Euro-election.
A lot of people who actually support UKIP strongly nonetheless vote Conservative in General Elections because a UKIP vote is a wasted one under first-past-the-post.
Under a multi-proportional system they can vote UKIP without thereby 'letting Labour in'.

Unless they had something really spiteful like a 20% hurdle."

The STV system can impose that informally, depending on the number of seats in a multi-member constituency.

If you get less than a quota, you need to pick up transfers from other parties to get elected. UKIP and the Greens probably would pick up such transfers, but I doubt if the BNP would.

Sadly Jack, as much as it pains me to say it, I think two of your predictions are likely to be mistaken.

Unless the economy collapses spectacularly or Gordon Brown does something monumentally stupid like confessing to the murder of Diana, Princess of Wales (the Daily Express would love that one), the chances are he will cling on to power at the next election.

I'd also say the prospects of seeing a BNP MP in future are also worryingly high, given the rising level of resentment and hostility being stirred up between communities, which was expertly capitalised upon by Respect at the last election to win their first parliamentary seat.

Fortunately I don't think UKIP could win a parliamentary seat under the current system thanks to their idiotic electoral strategy of maintaining the pretension/delusion of being a national party and thereby spreading themselves too thinly, unlike the other significant minor (if that isn't a contradiction in terms) parties who have shown that the route to electoral progress lies in heavily targeting a few seats and concentrating on building support there first.

Perhaps I'll be completely wrong though, and should follow the wise example set by Glenn Hoddle - "I never make predictions and I never will..."

(Apologies for any mangled syntax today folks.)

He must be pretty thick if he hasn't realised that all political careers end ignominously.
Not always true - Franklin Dwight Roosevelt died at a time when he had just won a 4th Presidential election and the US was prevailing in WWII, he is remembered as a hero although what would have happened if he had lived no one knows, John Smith died having lead Labour to a strong position, Harold Wilson retired suddenly and having lead Labour unexpectedly back into power he was remembered as a Labour hero - he decided at 60 and as Prime Minister to go then, William Gladstone went out quite well as well, Ronald Reagan went out on a high note, even Bill Clinton did, Eisenhower is still widely respected and seen as one of the greatest Presidents of all time.

Gordon's Mandate is more looking like an imposition by fiat.
He is most certainly not clean on a number of fronts and has very mucky hands when pension comments are made.
Allvery well to gear up for a possible early election, but perhaps we might need to think about the possible arrest of Blair, before he stands down.
As for the Lib-Dems we should be doing our utmost to shaft them.

The Liberal Democrats want PR by the Single Transferable Vote, not a Party List System. PR using STV would give the voters power, a Party List System strengthens centralised parties.
PR by STV would prevent a political party with a minority of the votes gaining a majority of the seats as almost invariably happens under the first past the post system. It would prevent the present under-representation of substantial minority opinion. Since in a four member constuency a candidate would need one third of the votes plus one to be elected, small parties such as UKIP and BNP would be unlikely to see their candidates elected.
PR by STV would enable the voter to make a choice between candidates of the same party.
The present electoral system buttresses the much vaunted 'two party system' based on confrontation. Electoral Reform, while giving fair representation to different parties will make co-operation between them easier.

I don`t for one moment think that either the BNP or UKIP will be able to get MP`s elected under any system but if either were able to get elected under PR I for one think that`s a very good reason for us never to adopt that system of voting.

YAY, I don't think dying counts as a good exit really, so that's FDR and Smith off the list.

Wilson and Reagan were suffering from the onset of severe mental decline. Reagan's two terms were up anyway. Bill Clinton had all this impeachment nastiness hanging over him and his two terms were up. I'm too young to remember Gladstone. Eisenhower apparently was in a bit of a mess towards the end (he also served two terms).

In fact let's ignore US presidents because they go when they have to and stick to the UK.

And I don't think retrospecitve rehabilitation counts (ruling out Eisenhower yet again) and probably Wilson, who must bear some responsibility for the mess they left behind, I'm talking about the time when you leave office i.e. Lady Thatcher didn't exactly go out on a high whatever people say about her now.

OK, Jack Stone. Just dealing with reality for one moment, we have PR for Euro elections and quite a few Ukippers get elected. We have it for the London Assembly and one got elected. I think it is safe to say that under any model of PR that is not very biased, UKIP would get representation, if not the BNP.

I think one of the least strong arguments that there is against PR (and there are quite a few) is that we should not have it because parties that we don't like might gain representation.

Since I quite like living in a democracy, I do not mind who is represented, so long as they have the votes.


Timberwolf,

No a four member constituency would require a candidate to win 20% +1 to get elected.

That would be tough for the minor parties, but not impossible (eg I could see the BNP doing it in a 4 member Havering/Barking & Dagenham constituency).

The Lib Dems might fail to mount that hurdle in a number of seats, and they insist on 5 or 6 member constituencies, as the price for supporting a change in the voting system.

"I'm too young to remember Gladstone." Mark Wadsworth.

But you just seem old and wise enough!

The three main parties are all re-organising on the basis of the new parliamentary boundaries. Indeed, Labour already have done, including re-organising bank accounts etc.

It is expected that the "Order in Council" to bring them into legal effect will be laid in the first week of the new session in January. Once that is in place the next GE, whenever it is called, is fought on the new boundaries.

Labour are also bankrupt, financially and ideologically. They are flapping about looking for "eye-catching initiatives" and are totally seen through by the electorate.

Blair will hang on until after the May polls, which will be disasterous for Labour, despite the fact that Blair will be milking the crowd for one last encore before he leaves. They're far more likely to give him a huge send off with a falsely favourable result for us.

Brown knows he has to be seen as a genuine, credible and above all, honest politician. It will take time - and he knows it - to clean these stables and he won't be ready to run until 2009 at the earliest. My money is on 2010 becuase, a) he won't give up power if there is even a sniff he might lose, b) he thinks DC will run out of steam and bottle the tough policy decisions, and, c) Labour have no money and he'll have to work out another way to give the unions a massive bung so they can give it back to Labour.

Sean Fear

What size (in MPs) are the constituencies in the Irish Republic, where they have has PR by STV for years?


Between 3 and 5 members, Timberwolf.

Franklin Dwight Roosevelt died at a time when he had just won a 4th Presidential election

At least one of our posters wants to cheat the Delano Family by excluding Sara Delano, FDR's mother from his name...........and substituting the name of David Dwight Eisenhower instead.

Most strange...........must be very confusing for Yet Another Anon

I believe in the wisdom and desency of the British people so I think that whatever system of voting we have there we will ever see an MP from UKIP or the BNP.
__________________________________________________________________

Yet another spectacularly daft statement from Jack Stone. Presumably the fact that UKIP have already gained a substantial number of seats in the European Parliament courtesy of PR has totally passed him by

Wake up Jack! It's 2006, not 1946.

Not to mention the fact that large numbers of the "desent" British people have elected BNP councillors. This guy is just going to slay me with his pearls of wisdom and his commitment to spelling reform.

I agree that Brown may not want to go down in history as the man who gave the BNP parliamentary representation butif he wants to stay in office that may be the price demanded by the Lib Dems.

However there's a much greater prize at stake, and one which PR would almost certainly deliver...

...The dismemberment and downsizing of the Conservative Party.

Living in somewhere as parochial as Britain where the media focuses exclusively on Ipswich it is hard to imagine the big wide world beyond.

The situation between Germany and Poland is getting quite interesting. Since the Organisation representing those Germans expelled from Poland in 1945 (in line with the Agreement at Yalta) filed 22 Cases in the ECHR yesterday claiming properties in Poland we have major problems.

Since Stalin kept Eastern Poland seized under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and poland received those lands seized by Prussia in 1792 and relocated the Poles expelled by the Russians in the East in these homes vacated by fleeing Germans; the Polish-German Border was agreed in 1950 between GDR and Poland; and again in the Peace Treaty Germany signed with The Allies in 1990.


Now Poland is threatening to re-open the Border Treaty to renegotiation and to counter sue for Reparations for the damage Germany did to Warsaw and the rest of Poland.

Oder-Neisse

This would involve the USA, Russia, Britain entering negotiations on the issues decided at Yalta.

The CSU and CDU have been supportive of these Groups of Expellees for decades but now the claims of these groups are causing huge disruption in Polish-German relations as they could in Czech Republic over the Benes Decrees.

Not that the British Public needs to be informed of such things by a Media fixated on prostitute murders in Ipswich

Tory Loyalist, I thought that the Conservatives had the largest share of hte vote in England in 2005 elections. I know that many Tories are instinctively against PR, which is fine, but if you want to doff the boxing gloves and pick up the baseball bat, isn't an English Parliament plus PR exactly what they should be going for?

You assume Mark, probably wrongly that Tory Loyalist is thinking of the best interests of the Conservative Party.
Personally I don't think the break up of the Union, the ending of single member constituencies and probably the ending of strong government is a price worth paying for few years of electoral success.

Tory Loyalist, I thought that the Conservatives had the largest share of hte vote in England in 2005 elections.
___________________________________________________________________

So they did, but many Conservatives - myself included - are deeply dissatisfied with the dictatorial way in which the party is being run, and that dissatisfaction goes far beyond our contempt for Cameron and all his works.

For many of us UKIP isn't the answer or we'd be off like a shot. There are a number of reasons for this but one is that contrary to the "BNP in blazers" received wisdom, a surprising number of UKIP activists are unsound on issues many of us consider to be key.

A lot of the damage was actually done under Hague. I tolerated it at the time beause Hague was targeting leftists. Now that the left are in chargethe level of central control is intolerable.

PR would open the door to the establishment of viable alternative Conservative movements. The present party would collapse under the weight of its own authoritarianism.

Wilson and Reagan were suffering from the onset of severe mental decline.
Harold Wilson knew it was the right time to go, if he had continued until the end of the term no one would have been surprised and it probably would have ended in ignominy, but unlike Winston Churchill he chose to go at a point he felt that he wasn't really going to be up to it after.

What key issues are UKIP unsound on Tory Loyalist? And what did Hague do that was so bad?

Tory loyalist wouldn`t know the meaning of the word loyal if it came up and smacked him in the face.
Anyone who think`s its in the interest of Conservatism in this country to have the Conservative Party so called downsized is either an idiot or an enemy of Conservatism.
Your type of Conservatism is so far to the right I suspect that even Margaret Thatcher would disown it.
I am aware that European and London Assembly elections are fought on a PR basis but unlike some above I want to see Conservative Party candidates elected not those from UKIP or worse still the BNP.

My money is on 2010 becuase
Gordon Brown will want to avoid on the one hand the accusation of clinging on to power and on the other hand the possibility of being trapped in a situation in which irrespective of political circumstances the timing of the election is set by statute, Gordon Brown and Labour are going to throw most of what they've got into June 2009 and only continue beyond that if they think it is going to be a disaster.

I thought that the Conservatives had the largest share of hte vote in England in 2005 elections
34.2% of the popular vote compared to about 32.2% for Labour, really though it was because Labour did so badly rather than any success of the Conservative Party.

Your type of Conservatism is so far to the right I suspect that even Margaret Thatcher would disown it.
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A very telling statement.

Jack Stone's deplorable reference to "even Margaret Thatcher" gives the lie to his previous claim that he supported the party under Thatcher.

Actually Jack my loyalty is to the timeless principles Toryism as opposed to the self-serving activities of socialists who falsely call themselves Tories.

Of course you are entitled not to want BNP and UKIP MPs but that's not what your original post said.

You claimed that PR would never return BNP and UKIP MPs, a claim which is as totally off the mark as your spelling.

"Your type of Conservatism is so far to the right I suspect that even Margaret Thatcher would disown it." says Jack Stone. This is a very silly statement, not because I have analysed "Tory Loyalist's" thoughts or have any comments to offer on that, but because it implies that Jack Stone thinks Mrs T was particularly right wing. If he thinks that, he has just bought into leftist propaganda.

I am not going to bore everyone on here by reciting all the things on which she was deeply cautious; all the things on which various types of right-wingers felt she did not go far enough on; all the left of centre (in Party terms) supporters who were very happy to be her (usually) sincere cheer leaders etc. but if Jack Stone does not know these he is even more deeply ignorant than was previously suspected.

Whilst of course this is the 2000s not the 1980s and therefore some issues and solutions will be different, any so-called Conservative with anti-Thatcher assumptions is rubbishing the one thing/person in living memory associated with our Party that a clear majority (much larger than any % vote that we can aspire to) admires.

Returning to (something near) the point: Mrs Thatcher ended badly because she was betrayed, not particularly anything she had done at that point. Her career did not end in failure because her positive legacy was so great. On the main proximate cause of her downfall, Europe, her argument has since won the day in the Party and in public opinion and those who turned her out have been pretty utterly defeated. On Gladstone, although I am also a great admirer and much of what he did also endured, he ended by failing on Ireland which was his final almost obsessive objective. Unlike Mark Wadsworth I am obviously old enough to remember all this.

Regarding the next election, obviously we must be prepared but, unless he opens up a substantial opinion poll lead for several months (unlikely I think), I cannot believe that Brown would be so reckless as to go in 2007 or even 2008. Having waited so long, he will want to enjoy being in certain office for a year or three rather than risk being remembered as a down-market suicidal version of Alec Douglas-Home. Even a youngster like Brown will remember him.

What key issues are UKIP unsound on Tory Loyalist? And what did Hague do that was so bad?
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1) Some UKIP activists are "unsound" on controlling immigration which in my opinion should be reduced as close to zero as possible, a view I have always held.

2) Hague semi-centralised party membership and increased powers of control over the rank-and-file, which was always previously exercised at association level.

Recent attempts to discipline members accused of "thought crime" (eg the woman alleged to have sent an off-colour joke by email) could never have happened under the old decentralised regime.

We the grassroots need full and unhindered freedom to criticise Cameron and his left-wing clique without fear of a vendetta by the CCHQ mafia.

Mine "crossed" with "Loyalists'". We picked up on the same point. As usual he was more succinct than me, but mine was more educational. Someone has to take on the burden of casting out ignorance (I know, very patronising) !

Firstly Margaret Thatcher never had majority support outside of the Conservative Party. Secondly she was the most right-wing leader the party had in living memory.
I neither believe or want both UKIP or the BNP to have any MP`s whatsoever. In fact I don`t want to see any other candidates elected expect those standing for the Conservative Party. I am about defeating our opponents, not praising them or wanting them to get seats or even with some on this site to win power.
Like the leader of the party I am a Liberal Conservative and do not buy into the right-wing nonsense we get far too often on this site.
Liberal Conservatism the sort of which Churchill stood for will get the party back into power not the sort of right-wing nonsense the party as adopted at the last two elections.

I've always thought that Brown wouldn't take the risk of immediately losing the prize he has coveted for so long - but as the Editor says, if it looks like it is downhill, a.k.a. "Things Can Only Get Worse", he might find the steel to do it.

In terms of being prepared, all the policy groups I am sure are aware that this is a possibility, and they will have to be able to abbreviate their processes from the ideal. Rushed policy formulation is never a good thing, though, and I would rather we had the time to take it carefully.

In terms of candidate selection, my recent impression from the Seats & Candidates blog has been that the process has been accelerating naturally anyway, although perhaps it has just reached a peak for this tranche. This has to be carried on apace, and I think that there is an argument now for also allowing non-target opposition-held seats to get on with selecting from the approved list as soon as possible too, to at least nail some more s