Real People

Ed Miliband becoming leader of the Labour party has crystallized some thoughts rolling around in my head lately on popular cynicism about young “career politicians”, which has been a feature of political whinging for a decade or more now. Or rather, this comment in the Metafilter thread about Miliband’s victory has crystallized them:

The guy has been an MP for a whole 5 f—ing years. Doesn’t this fill anyone with dread? I f—ing hate professional politicians. The leader of each of the main UK parties is nothing more than a political wonk.

Read More · 26 September 2010 · x1

Cobbled Together

One more post on the general election outcome, to preserve some comments posted to Metafilter yesterday. Rather than paraphrase them I may as well just post them, along with some further words I didn’t get around to adding there.

Read More · 13 May 2010

Compulsory Venting

If the first-past-the-post system is frustrating, the attitudes and assumptions it has bred among Britain’s politicians and pundits are even more so. This morning’s Today programme on Radio 4 featured comments about eight years of “unelected prime ministers” if Brown and a Labour successor governed from 2010 to 2015, ignoring the fact that Cameron would be just as “unelected” a prime minister—which is to say, not at all. In Westminster-style democracies, not least the mother of all of them, the people don’t elect the leader of the government, their representatives do. And people elect their representatives for all sorts of reasons, not simply as proxies for their party leaders.

Read More · 11 May 2010 · x2

Hare's Breadth

It’s times like this that warm the cockles of a pol sci graduate’s heart. I’m referring, of course, to Britain’s hung parliament, and the rare opportunity it affords for a public discussion of different electoral systems. As someone who grew up under one of the best, voting under first-past-the-post is always exasperating, and now millions more get to share that exasperation.

Read More · 9 May 2010 · x2

Politics in 2007