Friday, June 01, 2007

Old politics in a new setting?

Several regular readers have e-mailed to say there is surely a contradiction in my slight annoyance at the Liberals style of governance since the election ... isn't it the same style that Labour operated before the election?

So, ever-willing to try and respond (I'll probably regret this!) I'll try and outline why I think it's quite simple really ...

  • before May 3rd we all (at Local Government level anyway) operated within a "winner-takes-all" electoral system. That means that the winner, if they had an overall majority, took all.
  • I've never liked that system, I think my long-term support for Fairshare and the ERS surely makes that abundantly clear?
  • we don't now operate within a "winner-takes-all" system, we're operating within a 'proportional' system where power has to be shared.
  • to be fair, power has been shared to some extent "within" the Liberal/Nationalist/Tory coalition now running Edinburgh.
  • but the Liberals haven't truly adapted to the new politics - they simply have not given any real role to the main opposition Groups ... in essence, taking a majoritarian stance within a proportional system.
  • PLEASE, do contrast this with Glasgow where their Council Executive could legitimately have been dominated by one Party (as even under STV they got an overall majority) but recognising the new politics, there is a 13/7 Administration/Opposition split within their Executive.

Now, all is fair in love, war and politics ... and the Liberals have done nothing 'illegal' but the spirit of their first few weeks of tenure in Edinburgh has fallen way, way short of their rhetoric.

That may change (I hope it does) ... but it's not - as far as I'm concerned - a good start.

"Old politics in a new setting" ... deeply disappointing.

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