May 7, 2010

Why Britain’s Bad Election Will Be Good For The Commonwealth

By admin

The British election exemplifies that consistent thread of cynicism and contempt that Conservatives exhibit to all voters, be they in Britain, Scotland, Ireland or as far away as little Canada.

Minorities rules.  Majorities drool.

If the ‘Labour’ party (which to me is a bit of a misnomer given that there’s nothing Labour about them) are interested in retaining their position as official government, they will have to negotiate with the Liberal Democrats and form a coalition.

They actually have that right as the current ruling party.  I hope they exercise this right.

However, such a step may also motivate them to finally lead the Commonwealth by making Proportional Representation (PR) a major requirement and possibly a referendum question for the voters of the UK.

Another point of instigation in this respect is the first time ever election of a Member of Parliament representing the Green Party.  Not only is this possibly the biggest news item that the media world missed out on, but it will ultimately push PR to the top of the list of policy decisions that any government need to agree on.

Action on the part of the majority of seats will be a real and genuine win for the voting public and will likely be a watershed moment for democracy around the world.

Ultimately, this begs the question:  if the root of Parliamentary democracy (Britain) turns to PR, do Commonwealth countries even have a choice about staying stuck in the past.

My answer:  NO.  Many will, including Canada, but ultimately, we won’t have a choice.

For the record, I like the idea of coalitions.  I like the idea of negotiating for everyone that we represent and I like the idea of finding consensus.  I also like the idea of policies taking time to develop as opposed to being driven by one party that’s obsessed with their view and their view only and making things happen as quickly as possible before their tenuous hold on power slips through their fingers.

This is why I think the central platform of any progressive party in Canada should focus on democratic reform and REAL institutional change when it comes to getting Canadians engaged.

How about it folks?