Saturday, March 03, 2018

European Political Elections and Their Aftermath

Over the years it has been said not least by the Lib/Dem party in the UK, that the first past the post electoral system is out of date, unfair and needs reforming. The Lib/Dems when in coalition government with the Tories lost their referendum on this subject. Thus for UK parliamentary elections at least, the long established first past the post voting system applies.

The continental systems are said to be far more advanced and more in line with the C21 than the UK Parliamentary electoral system.

Recent developments on the continent of Europe might also make  one far from convinced of the view that the UK voting system needs reforming. 

The Italians are voting tomorrow for a new government  using their very much C21 Rostellium electoral voting system. The system is too difficult for mere mortals to fathom so presumably most Italians have advanced mathematics to the fore in their educational system. 

From what I can understand, nearly 30% of Italians  favour their anti-establishment Five Star Movement party. But there is another extreme right wing party, The Brothers of Italy, which may take c. 5% of the vote. Add to that the anti immigrant league with about 13.5% anticipated vote, the political position in Italy, the 4th most wealthy EU country does not seem to put it mildly, very attractive. 

The above is further complicated by the fact that Silvio Berlusconi,  who according to the London Times was the country's PM three times but is barred from future office by court convictions for tax fraud for which he was sentenced to a commuted prison sentence, is through his party, which I believe is the Forza Italia, in coalition with the anti migrant parties of  the League and  the Brothers of Italy.

What a mess this all appears appears, added to which, those in Brussels apparently favour Berlusconi, for his moderating influence though whether  or  not that favour  is affected by his being convicted of Tax fraud the Times does not say. Given the EU's own accounting questions perhaps they are used to sweeping matters financial under the carpet.

I await the outcome of the Italian General Election with interest. Meanwhile Germany again with an apparently sophisticated C21 voting system, has still not yet  more than 5 months after their last general election, formed a proper government.  The Germans are awaiting the result of internal voting  as to whether the SDP party is  prepared to form a coalition with the right leaning Christian Democrat party of Angela Merkel. The results of that  vote are also awaited with interest.

On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron, in  the French Presidential elections successfully saw off the French ultra right party supported and often led by Marine Le Pen. 

In fact though politically left of the UK's former Prime Minister the late Mrs Margaret Thatcher, Emmanuel Macron appears to be about to follow the path she took in the UK to deal with the major and often violent coal miners' strike, with the French train drivers. The French railways have a simply huge overdraft I believe some 45 billion euros. That is more than the whole national budget of a number of countries, so clearly firm action is needed. 

None of the above feature in the arguments about Brexit,   probably because one country's politicians do not wish publicly to criticise another country's politicians or  political system.

 Nonetheless, adding to the above, the political situations in other European countries, Poland and Austria for example, could reinforce the view that the UK 's decision to leave the EU is well timed.

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