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View Diary: As Others See Us (244 comments)

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    That sums it up nicely. The UK political system doesn't map onto the US one either institutionally or in terms of ideology & policies. I wonder if the reason Blair will get in could be explained in US terms like this:

    First off, imagine you don't get to vote for the president or the senate, and the person in charge will be the person who heads the largest party in the House of Reps. You have no say in choosing who the leader of the party is.

    Now consider that there is a Democrat leader who is doing evil things of which you disapprove. You like the party but hate the leader, who is going against what you consider real Democratic values, and whose coterie have taken over your party (think of the Fundies taking over the Republicans - that's what many Labour people feel about Blair and his followers).

    However, the only choice to get rid of him is to vote for the Republicans, who are led by Dick Cheney, and have previously been in power for 18 years and have done so many evil things that it is impossible to count them, and are currently saying that they plan to do even more should they be elected. If they are elected they will have the power to do whatever they like for five years.

    You can of course vote for a third party, but due to the way the election system is set up, they stand no chance of getting in. So the choice is the devil you know, the devil you know all too well and who promises to be worse than he was before, or Ralph Nader. This is what UK voters, who mostly like Labour but hate Blair, face. What do you do?

    For the gentleman who laughed at the idea of the 'elected dictatorship' - it is literally true. A person who is in control of the lower house can legally do anything. That includes banning elections and freedom of speach, fixing the courts, introducing gladitorial shows, whatever you care to name. There is no separation of powers and no constitutional protections of civil rights in any meaningful sense. The only limitations are what our neighbours will allow before they invade or the possiblility of a coup or revolution.

    The vagaries of our election system mean that it is possible for a party to have a majority in the lower house, and hence hold the power described above, with a percentage of the vote in the 30s. Margaret Thatcher, for instance, wielded power and the things she did when on average 65% of the electorate voted against her.


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