Daily View 2×2: 9 February 2010

Welcome to this morning’s Daily View.  I am sure I cannot be the only person to be cheered by waking to the news that the Conservatives believe that their no. 1 electoral weapon is George Osborne.

On this day 60 years ago, United States Senator Joe McCarthy launched his anti-communist crusade, with a speech accusing more than 200 staff in the State Department of being members of the Communist Party.  On 9thFebruary 1979, England and Birmingham City forward Trevor Francis signed for Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest for £1 million, the first UK footballer to move for a seven figure sum.

Today is also the third anniversary of the death of actor Ian Richardson CBE, best known for his portrayal of the Machiavellian Conservative politician Francis Urquhart in the wonderful House of Cards trilogy.

2 must-read blog posts

Lib Dems must embrace the Alternative Vote while they can

Ewan Hoyle explains why he believes that  not only is AV a better deal than STV, it’s the only deal likely to be offered:

So STV is far from perfect, but what of AV, the electoral system that is actually on offer? Firstly, I should explain that the polls you see in the media on voting intention aren’t opinion polls. They are likely behaviour polls. Every election carried out under FPTP* does not encourage the public to vote honestly for the candidate they favour. AV would grant us the right to vote for the party whose policies we genuinely support without fear of “letting the wrong one in”. I for one will support honestrepresentation whenever it is offered to me and I ask all Lib Dem MPs to do the same.

Some Explanation of Parliamentary Privilege and MPs’ Prosecutions

A very detailed and helpful discussion of parliamentary privilege and its possible use by errant MPs, from one of our favourite barristers, Anthony Hook.

The privilege issue is not about the facts of the case as such and is not a defence.  The point is justiciability:  is the subject matter something the court is legally entitled to adjudicate upon?  Does the court have jurisdiction to declare criminal an act committed in a sovereign Parliament?

2 big stories

MPs to vote on electoral reform

Today will see MPs vote on whether they would like to see a referendum on electing their future colleagues and successors by Alternative Vote.

The Independent reports that Gordon Brown is braced for a Labour rebellion today against AV, but that the Prime Minister looks likely to win a comfortable majority in favour of holding a referendum on electoral reform, after securing the support of the Liberal Democrats.

The Guardian carries Chris Huhne’s accusation of hypocrisy against the Conservatives, over their opposition to electoral reform. The Tories use AV for their own internal party elections, and without it they would have elected David Davis as party leader, rather than David Cameron.

Service deaths in Afghanistan now exceed those in the Falklands

The number of service personnel killed in Afghanistan has now reached 256, exceeding the number killed during the 1982 Falklands War. The conflict in the South Atlantic lasted for just 74 days, and also claimed the lives of more than 600 Argentine military personnel and three civilians from the islands.

At the Telegraph, Falklands veteran Simon Weston relates why he believes that the only similarity between the battle he was involved in 28 years ago and the one raging in Afghanistan today is the number of those who have now died in each.

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2 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 9th Feb '10 - 12:01pm

    Ewan’s only apparent points on “why AV could be better than STV” is just the old “AV excludes minority views from government so I can continue to trample on this minority that I don’t like” (which I really dislike; each party has been preaching this one, and the only variation is whether they’re picking on gay people (Tories), foreigners (Labour), or nationalists (Liberals)), plus the “MPs should be working in Westminster, not in their constituency” line which appears to have been lifted out of the Tory playbook.

    He doesn’t consider all the reasons why STV is better than AV – such as the fact that under a proportional representation system, most people in the country would have an MP who represents their views, while under AV (or worse, FPTP) half the population of the country is stuck with an MP who is from an opposition party.

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