Friday, October 19, 2018

Why do we allow the Holyrood balance of power to be affected by the choice of Presiding Officer?

I know this is hardly the most pressing problem at the moment, but with talk of John Bercow finally taking his leave, the point has occurred to me again: why do we allow the balance of power in the Scottish Parliament to be artificially affected by the choice of Presiding Officer?  At Westminster, the Speaker and all three Deputy Speakers do not usually take part in votes, which means that two MPs can be selected from the government side and two MPs from the opposition, thus maintaining the balance of power that people voted for (or, more accurately, that the election produced).  But at Holyrood only the Presiding Officer him/herself is barred from voting, meaning that the government's numerical position is inevitably either slightly strengthened or slightly weakened.

This of course ensures that the choice of Presiding Officer is not just influenced by the merits of the individual but also by the tightness or otherwise of the parliamentary arithmetic.  The SNP could 'afford' to install one of their own in the role after winning an outright majority in 2011, but were suddenly happy enough to agree that it was Labour's 'turn' after slipping back into a minority in 2016.  And in 2007, when the SNP won 47 seats and Labour won 46, it was inconceivable that the Presiding Officer would be drawn from anywhere but the ranks of the smaller parties.

So it's an unsatifactory system in more ways than one.  I can see a few potential solutions:

1) The simplest is to replicate the Westminster convention.  Have a Presiding Officer 'team' that is made up of an even number of MSPs, and bar them all from voting.  However, this arguably means that a greater number of voters are not being fully represented in parliament.

2) Replace the Presiding Officer with a new voting MSP as soon as they are selected.  This is simple enough if the new PO is a list member, because they can simply be replaced by the next person on their own party's list.  But if they're a constituency member, there would need to be a by-election, which some people might find a bit needless so soon after a full election.

3) Allow MSPs to elect a Presiding Officer from outwith their own ranks.  This seems totally unthinkable until you stop to question why it's so unthinkable.  Why would a suitable non-MSP do the job any less conscientiously than an MSP?  That person would have their own mandate (albeit an indirect one) and would naturally be expected to swear the same oath and uphold the same standards as any elected MSP.

43 comments:

  1. I like your suggestion 3, but perhaps it's "unthinkable" because it is assumed the PO needs prior experience of the/a legislature (the first two had been Westminster MPs). This is obviously not insurmountable; an ex-MSP could be found, or adequate training provided so that it didn't matter. But it might be a deterrent to thinking of the idea in the first place.

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  2. Msps are a drain on the taxpayer and are not required. Holyrood is like the EU waster parliament and not required.
    ONCE BREXIT HAPPENS (eventually) the taxpayers alliance can devote time to exposing the political bloodsucking wasters.

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    1. GWC2 AKA the Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt) Auxiliary and its deep-seated loathing of democracy

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    2. British brexiters are a joke. They're too chicken to leave the EU. For 2 years now they've been wandering around drunk in their union jack underpants shouting 'Fuck off furriers - freedom!' at anyone that doesn't look/sound white British enough, yet they've not made any attempt to actually leave the EU. Instead, they're chickenshit wasters who are now begging to stay for yet another two year 'transition' with the option to extend that even further. Cowards won't actually leave.

      Get a bloody move on and f'off. Everyone in the EU and elsewhere is bored of you now.

      Delete
  3. Sounds like someone forgot to add that they don't vote unless it's a tie ...non voting chairs is cool, but obviously it has limits

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  4. James: have you seen that the NYT and Dianna College are polling 40 races and you can track it call by call? They start one each day and so there are three or four going on at once. You can see each call, who answers. Their demo info etc. Showing how hard it is to get enough of right people. Sometimes it has taken 200 calls to get one person to talk.can get you link if you want.

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  5. We could also directly elect the P.O. on a separate ballot paper. He/she is also a "deputy" head of state while the Queen is not resident in Scotland... Not thought this through, but just a thought...

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  6. Was the current setup brought in because D'Hondt was meant to ensure no majorities, so the whole place could be a happy power-sharing talking shop? Which it was for the first few years of mediocrity.
    A new system seems to be required, and option 3 looks plausible until we think of the retired deadbeats the British Nationalists might nominate. Would we want liw flyers like Margaret Curran or Frank Roy as PO?

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  7. Perhaps a senior judge could be appointed as PO?

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    1. Maybe a judge could look into your holebending. Still illegal in some countries. Should be here.

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    2. Glesga2 AKA GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its booze-fuelled willingness to share entirely too much of its inner life and bizarre fixations.
      Its self-created Esperanto is occasionally amusing.

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  8. English nationalists will happily dump N. Ireland and even Scotland for Brexit. The Brits are really struggling to hold things together. Don't mistake your average English brexit voter for a unionist. They identify nationally as English and are really not overly bothered about the union (chat to some and you find the polling data is perfectly correct on this). If they think the jocks, micks and even taffs are putting too many spanners in the works, they'll push for independence. The likes of Mogg and Bozo will champion that in a second if they feel it will personally advance them.

    And do not underestimate loss of N. Ireland from the union (which is inevitable if Brexit progresses). It is the most unionist part of the union and it's loss would require the 1921 treaty to be updated, a country name change, and all the maps re-drawn. Scotland would also closely border the EU; it would be just a short ferry trip away. Hell, it's almost narrow enough for a bridge. It would be so easy to just open that border and let Scotland stay in the single market too...

    My honest opinion is to stop looking primarily to Scotland to end the union when the upheaval in England is bringing the whole remnant imperial edifice down.

    ----

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland/uk-ready-to-drop-brexit-demand-on-irish-border-bloomberg-idUKKCN1MT2MD

    UK ready to drop Brexit demand on Irish border - Bloomberg

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    1. I tend to lean to 1 or 3 on the PO topic. Maybe in 3 it could be a former MSP of X years tenure who was willing to stand for the post. The parliament would obviously need to vote them in somehow.

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    2. Why not have 4 seperate countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and then we could all go on our own thing regarding the E. U.

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    3. There will be a hard border because the EU and their Irish grovelling servants demand it. Thank goodness a million jocks helped carry the day on brexit. SCOTLAND can be proud that they have a million souls not prepared to grovel to the EU Mafia.

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    4. Rab ra Bruce AKA Many Rice AKA GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois. She's drinking heavily again.

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    5. FATHER PADRAIG Francuscunt Monk Hiding in the VaticunOctober 21, 2018 at 1:34 AM

      We must oppose this hard border. Access to young fresh meat is essential.

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    6. Cordelia's drinking again. She has problems.

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    7. So many problems.

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    8. Reasons why Brexit is doomed to failure #576

      Sub Category = lack of basic mathematical skills

      With Scotland:
      51.9% Leave

      Without Scotland:
      53.1(+1.2)% Leave

      = Scots leavers 'Carrying the vote'.

      Delete
  9. Oh, Meine Herr Barnier you are a big boy, Oh shut up Knickerless I am in a hurry I have the English to screw.

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  10. Poor, broken, tormented Cordelia, sharing things online that tell us far too much about its inner life.
    It's so desperately needy.
    It's so funny.

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  11. The Scottish British establishment is slowly turning. First Murray Foote and now the Big Yin.

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    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/billy-connollys-big-brexit-scotland-u-turn-20jtjfwj6

    Billy Connolly’s big Brexit Scotland U-turn

    He once compared the Scottish National Party to the Nazis and ridiculed Holyrood as a “wee pretendy parliament” but Sir Billy Connolly has revealed that he now believes Scottish independence “may just be the way to go”.

    The comedian, 75, discloses his position in his new book Made in Scotland in which he says the UK’s decision to vote for Brexit, against Scotland’s wishes, has made him reassess.

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    1. He's a lifelong supporter of an independent Irish Republic while supporting English rule over Scotland. The brain dead Quisling can rot in Hell.

      Note how often yoons attack us using quotes from the Caledonian court jester. It'l take more than a deathbed conversion to make me accept anything that runt says now.

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    2. I wasn't suggesting anyone base their vote on what Billy Connolly says. I was merely pointing out that the likes of him and Murray Foote are moving to yes, then things are going seriously wrong for the UK unionist camp.

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  12. Maybe there are still people who are interested in the views of Billy Connolly on anything. But I know what you mean. If a royalist arse-licking landowner like Connolly can change his mind, it shows that something is going on. Who's next? Jakey Plagiarist?

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    1. Aye.

      There are those Scots that believed in the union and quite firmly, but are Scots at heart and if it came to the crunch, will take the Scots side. We must be careful to be too hard on such people; there are many 'average voters' who are like this. They are the ones that may well say they don't want indy right now, but that it is ultimately a matter for Scots / Holyrood alone. The 66%.

      Back in the day, the Scots Tories (unionists) were pretty nationalist. It was the merger with the English Conservatives that killed this.

      What is key is that Brexit isn't British nor unionist - at least where it matters (England). It's English nationalist. The Brits in England pretty much all voted Remain. The crowds in the London 'People's vote' rally are Brits, not English. Scots need to understand that as it's key to what's happening and what will unfold.

      In Scotland, in contrast to England, Scots voted Remain while it was mainly Brits that voted Leave. Our Brit-Scot Leavers don't realise their leaver compatriots down south don't really give a shit about them nor the union as they're English. They'd end the 'jock subsidy' in a heartbeat. They'll dump N. Ireland and jockland if needed for Brexit. Poor GWC should be going on English forums if he wants to save the precious union; we Scot nats are now spectators to the collapse of the UK to a large extent. The dumping of N. Ireland by the English nats is already well advanced. Within the next few weeks the eventual border in the Irish sea will be signed off. Don't think for a second that the likes of Mogg and Bozo would trash their full English Brexit for the backward mick nutter wannabe English N. Irish red hand gang. For the English, N. Ireland is just a embarrassing annoyance; they couldn't care less what happens to it. Hence they'd happily trash the peace process. It's the Brits (Remainers) it matters too, not the English.

      Mundell, Davidson, Foote, Connolly...are understanding this variably and reacting accordingly. While Foot and Connolly start to give up their unionism just as the Engish are, 'no surrender' Mundell and Davidson are shitting it as they can do nothing to stop he English nationalism that's running the Tories down south now. As they see the English Tory cabinet selling out the unionists in N. Ireland, they get that sick feeling in the stomach that they'll be next.

      This of course doesn't mean Scots indy supporters should ease the foot off the peddle and just watch. Nope, we must keep on campaigning as hard as ever. However, we are not unwinding the british state ourselves; the English are now starting to be fully engaged in that too. The brits could just about keep a lid on Scottish nationalism; English nationalism is too big to control. EVEL was a pathetic attempt at this.


      SNP must throw every legal spanner they can into the brexit works. Anything that interferes with England's brexit in even the smallest manner.

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    2. That's a really good analysis and I take your point about not being too harsh on former Britnats who have converted. Funny to see low fliers like Mundell & Davidson caught on the wrong side of history. Encouraging to see the break up of UK although I feel sorry for my English relatives' future in that not so green and pretty unpleasant land.

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  13. I see Gibraltar is now considering leaving the UK customs union and joining the EU customs union instead post-brexit.

    Further British disintegration driven by English nationalism.

    GWC needs to get on the English forums quicksmart and try to head off their independence movement before it breaks up what's left of the empire.

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    Replies
    1. Yes,pretty sure the "secret" deal done for Gibraltar by Westminster will leave it in the CU and single market.
      Something like that will have to be agreed for NI as well.
      That just leaves Scotland who along with Gibraltar and NI voted to remain in the EU.
      The Tories will no doubt continue with their time honoured practice of ignoring the wishes of the Scottish population.
      Act like sheep and expect to be treated as such.

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  14. Wee Dermot fae the CaltonOctober 23, 2018 at 1:20 AM

    I voted to leave the EU because I like Vladimuir Jock McPutten, Gorgeous George and Kim Yung Eck.

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    1. Wee Dermot fae the Calton AKA GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries spent much of last night on the budget rocket fuel, then.
      So sad.
      So funny.

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  15. EU reject Italian budget! Who runs Italy?

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    Replies
    1. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its booze-fuelled willingness to share entirely too much of its inner life and bizarre fixations.
      Its self-created Esperanto / Polari fusion is occasionally amusing.

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    2. JOCK Nat sis have negated on Independence and clearly think they are unable to run Scotland without the EU Mafia.

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    3. See You Jimmy AKA GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  16. TOMMY Robinson Great British PatriotOctober 24, 2018 at 8:20 PM

    The Jock and Taff grovelling EU remainers are in sheer desperation. They raised brexit in a child's care home question in the Commons today. Cross breeding Irish Jock kelts, must dae ra brain in.

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    1. TOMMY Robinson Great British Patriot AKA GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its love of ranting fascist demagogues.
      Always knew it was a fascist.

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    2. It is fascists that do not accept the results of referenda. Look in your mirror and observe an English hater and someone who wants to be part of the Greater Germany, a real fascist.

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    3. Quite so. In a non-fascist universe, the 62-38 vote to Remain would be respected.

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    4. Tommy Robinson's gone downhill since his "Glad To Be Gay" hit. I prefer Christopher Yaxley-Lennon's remix of "I'm A Pink Teapot".

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    5. Glesga2 AKA GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its fully paid up membership of the Fascist Yaxley-Lennon fan club

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