Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 5 April 2005

General Election 2005 - the starting gun is fired

Tony visited Liz this morning ('Hi Ma'am') and informed her that she was going, graciously, to consent to a dissolution of Parliament for an election to be called. Of course, I'm sure this morning's events at Buck House didn't go quite like that, but it is what it amounts to. In any case, we are (as long forecast) going to have an election on 5th May - the timetable for the various important dates and deadlines between now and then is here.

Now, I want to take issue with only one of the occurrences today that particularly irritated me. Home Secretary Charles Clark is saying that it is Conservative obstructionism which is to blame for the ID Card bill having to be dropped (for the time being). This is such a distortion of the reality that it needs to be challenged, repeatedly and loudly. No-one has forced Labour to call an election over a year earlier than they have to. They have a HUGE majority, there is no possibility than I can see of the government being defeated in a vote of confidence prior to the date when a general election must be held (May 2006). It is also perfectly true, as is mentioned in the linked article, that the government packed its legislative programme too full in the last Queen's Speech, knowing full well than an early election was to be called. It is just not true that it has become 'normal' for elections to be called after four years. Both major Parties have certainly abused the leeway they are allowed when calling a General Election, however, when they have been in government. Perhaps the time has come to stop this farce by having a fixed term for a governing mandate. I don't care if it is four or five years, or some other period, but the power governments currently have to manipulate our electoral system to their advantage surely has long-since outlived whatever usefulness it may have had. The US seems to get by perfectly well with a fixed four-year Presidential term, so I seel little reason why we couldn't have our own fixed term, too.

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