How should we elect a new PM?
“There are decades where nothing happens and weeks where decades happen” Vladimir Lenin.
It’s becoming next to impossible to keep track of all the different political sagas which are unfolding in the wake of the dramatic EU Referendum result last month. Labour in crisis, the Prime Minister resigns, the result itself,Gove knifing Johnson, Scottish Independence, Irish reunification, it’s enough to fill a decades worth of politics in ordinary circumstance. But these are no ordinary times.
Meanwhile the Tory leadership contest has placed under the microscope how a new Prime Minister is chosen, without a General Election, in a Parliamentary system.
Party members choose a leader, we choose our local MP, whichever party’s leader which has the most MPs in a general election can form a Government.
When compared to a Presidential system its seem odd to say the least that we do not directly elect the Prime Minister to that office. “Remain” advocates have been quick to point out, not insincerely, that those who voted Leave because of a lack of direct democracy in Brussels aught to take umbrage with this quirk of the Parliamentary System. As such a “Leave” voter I fully recognise this defect in our system.
But, with all that is happening in our small country we do need to prioritise. One of the advantages of the Parliamentary system is that we can have a new leader, under the circumstances, quite quickly. In these uncertain times speed is a valuable asset to a political system. We should have a new Prime Minster by at the latest September. The question then is, what next?
One way or another the ‘Corbyn issue’ needs to be resolved by a similar time. Only with our leaders in place and with a bargaining position agreed can we triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty and begin the process of extracting ourselves from Europe. And only once this is completed do I think electoral reform should be on the table.
The next General Election is due in 2020. I do not expect us to be fully exited from the EU by then, the likelihood is we will be in a temporary holding pattern outside in some sort of Norway style EEA arrangment. I would welcome any party to have in it’s manifesto a pledge to put electoral reform up for debate.
We may be warn out by politics by then, there is going to be a lot of it in the coming years. But this is an important issue which, however easy it may be to forget it with everything else that is happening, we must do our utmost to take on.