Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Democracy: it's not how many people vote but who's accountable to whom

Some analyses of British and Canadian Conservative leadership selection processes:

 Alastair Campbell, British Labour stringpuller:  

Why is the country allowing – yet again – 160,000 mostly very old and similar people to choose the country’s leader?

Simon Jenkins, British journalist:

The decision of Truss versus Rishi Sunak now goes to a bizarre “selectorate” of the Tory party members. As of 2017, their average age was 57. More than half are over 60 and more than 70% are male. They live predominantly in the south of England. That the nation’s leadership should hang on this tiny unrepresentative group is a perversion of parliamentary democracy. It has long stipulated that the government of the country should be led by the person who commands majority support of the House of Commons. That person is Sunak.

Aaron Wherry, Canadian journalist:

The UK Conservative leadership race began five months after the Canadian Conservative leadership race began and the UK race will end five days before the Canadian race does. Canadian leadership races are way too long.

Geoff Norquay, Canadian Conservative stringpuller

The reason for the party’s long leadership contests is that they are based on a one-member-one-vote system accompanied by open recruitment. [...]  The party opens itself up to the possibility of under-the-table fundraising practices, bulk purchases of memberships on others’ behalf and faked memberships.
The process for the replacement of Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party provides some useful ideas.

The British analysts are already aware that the process recently adopted there is a travesty of parliamentary democracy, that it produced Boris Johnson and will now likely produce Liz Truss, his wannabe. Meanwhile the Canadians are saying, "Oooh, shiny things over there!" 

Jenkins gets to the nub of what's necessary in less than a sentence. "The government of the country should be led by the person who commands majority support of the House of Commons." Norquay goes on for paragraphs about how leaving the decision to whoever buys the most votes is (I'm not making this up) "more democratic." Wherry thinks that would be okay if it went a little faster.


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