Please plan the next election carefully

electionMy column in todays Argus is as follows, written on Friday morning: As I write this column it is far from clear what the medium term outcome from Thursdays election will be. It seems certain that Theresa May will be evicted or fall on her sword in the next few weeks and her successor will then be placed in the same position as Mrs May was back in July 2016. Due to the time pressure on the Brexit negotiations, a new election would need to be called within weeks, not months. This election would give the new Prime Minister a meaningful mandate in the negotiations. Another election is not something that will feel like a good outcome for many people, but it seems as though it will be the only way forward. Although the Tories included the abolition of the Fixed Term Parliament Act in their manifesto for this election, it seems unlikely that the party would be able to achieve this outcome in the time between now and the next election. This means that the timing of the next election will be decided upon by Parliament as a whole. My own understanding  of this election was based on several observations which had nothing to do with the way in which political parties operate. In the last few days I was able to discuss matters regarding the election in terms of the organisation of counts and polling stations and also the policing of the Sussex and Surrey elections. What is abundantly clear from those discussions and also the observations of how the results unfolded on Thursday night via my TV screen, is that the numbers of people, both paid and unpaid who the election depends upon is huge. Add to this the enormous financial cost of General Elections and it is clear that we cannot allow our political parties to make decisions without consideration for the cost and the organisation needed. As the blogger ‘A dragon’s best friend’ pointed out in the run up to the election, the timing for the election was difficult for two groups of people. Students who were in the middle of their exams and Council workers who had only just recovered from the hard work involved in the local elections in May. It is vital that the next election is timed to allow a reasonable period of planning for the workers involved including the Police and other security services. The threat to our democracy will remain and so how these things take place will need a great deal of consideration. As I have written previously the decision to call the snap election with the minimum of notice was a mistake, proposed by the Tories but backed by every MP in Sussex. The next election needs to be considered in a much more careful way than happened in mid-April.

The results from Thursday have made a big difference to the political balance in Brighton and Hove and more widely in Sussex as a whole due to the loss of Caroline Ansell and return of Stephen Lloyd in Eastbourne, even though both of them increased the share of the vote from 2015. I am pleased that we have seen the number of Tory MPs across Sussex drop from 14 to 12, even though this falls a long way short of the balance of popular vote, it does ensure we have Labour Green and Lib Dem voices across our area. However further afield there are a number of other results which caught my attention. The loss of David Nuttall in Bury North and Stewart Jackson in Peterborough for me is a very good thing. Both men spent a great deal of time resisting and obstructing the work of other back bench MPs through the use of filibusters. This for me is a matter that should be diminished or prevented altogether when applied to private member bills. There are already plenty of structures in place to make such bills a challenge to bring in front of Parliament as a whole. The filibuster behaviour in my view is one of the most anti-democratic elements of the House of Commons. Both men were also prone to spend far too many hours criticising Labour when Parliament is intended to scrutinise the Executive. The other name that I noticed, albeit someone who managed to win the campaign albeit with a miniscule majority of some 40 votes was Zac Goldsmith. It is appalling that a man who stood as an Independent in 2016 after resigning from the party on a matter of principle, and who was not opposed by the Tories, has now stood a mere 6 months later as a Tory and won his old seat back with . This for me shows how little integrity there is in the party and Mr Goldsmith.

About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, EU Referendum, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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