Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Great Unelected Helmsman

The Major had another seizure this morning.

For some reason best known to himself, he watched the Andy Marr Show, and saw Comrade Harperson being "interviewed" by Comrade Huw Edwards. Apparently, Harperson is now asserting that Gordo cannot be replaced because he is the world's foremost expert on managing economies through difficult times. The world needs him, and world leaders are constantly phoning him to seek advice. It would clearly be the height of folly and indeed irresponsibility for Labour to ditch him.

So just to be clear, the man who maxxed the credit card and left nothing for our rainy day, the man who who racked up our taxes when all around were cutting theirs, the man who took the rewards for indolence to new heights of expense and complexity, the man who dithered and fumbled the Crock crisis (cf Beer Stains), the man whose "solution" to soaring oil prices was cringe-making prostration at the feet of the Saudis, etc etc etc.... that same man is the one the world now needs in a time of crisis.

It's tragic and pafetic.

On one level, the Brown "leadership" crisis epitomises the chronic inability of Labour to take tough decisions. They all know he has to go, yet they have no plan to deal with the possibility, and they patently lack the guts to grip it. All they can do is unattributably moan to their mates in the media and hope someone else does the necessary.

But there's a much deeper issue here as well.

Many many years ago, Tyler took a degree paper in Political Institutions. It focused on a comparison of the governmental systems in the UK, the US, and what was then the USSR. Needless to say, the αβ++ "right" answer was that, on balance, our system - the so-called Westminster system - was best.

Why? Well, we were blessed with the right balance between the unaccountability of the Soviet system on the one hand, and those "highly damaging" logjam standoffs the US gets when it has a directly elected President who faces an opposing legislature over which he has no direct control.


What we actually have today is a system in which we elect a President with Soviet style command during his tenure, and who cannot be removed unless his whipped low-grade underlings somehow get a collective balls transplant.

Actually of course, it's even worse that that.

For one thing Gordo was never elected in the first place. As a stream of callers to the R5 phone-in said on Friday morning, they'd voted for Blair: they have never voted for Gordo.

Twice during Tyler's lifetime in the US a Vice President has taken over from an elected President and neither time was he required to face immediate election. But that's because US electors elect a Pres and a spare on the original ticket (OK, Ford wasn't elected, but that was because of Spiro T's unfortunate prediliction for extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy).

And then there's the fact that, although we now have a Presidential system of government, our electoral arrangements still operate under the pretence that we elect an MP who then decides whom to support as PM. Combined with our first-past-the-post constituency system, that means only those who live in the 100 key marginals have any say at all in who rules the country. Which is disgraceful.

And it also means we get a barrel-load of low-grade monkeys for MPs. People such as the Blair Babes who only got in on his coat-tails. Did anyone ever imagine they'd be any good in a crisis?

Look, when it comes to government, there is no magic bullet (which is why it needs to be shrunk drastically). But compared to what we have now, a directly elected Presidential system would give us all an equal say in who rules us. And combined with a separately elected more independent legislature, it might even give us higher quality MPs.

Must rush now - we're off to see if the hospital has managed to jump start the Major.

1 comment:

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