The Mitterrand gambit

by Chris Bertram on May 26, 2009

Both Alan “the Minister” Johnson [sorry, in-joke] and Ed Miliband “have raised the prospect of electoral reform in the UK”: . Ostensibly, this is all about restoring public confidence in the political class after duck/moat/flip-gate, but it also makes sense as a way of cooking the Tory goose. Under the present system, Cameron stands to win a landslide and Labour would be in opposition for a generation. But introduce a proportional representation system and the Tories couldn’t get a majority on their own. (And even if they were in government for a while, the Lib Dems would probably bring them down before long.) This move is reminiscent of Francois Mitterrand’s introduction of a party-list PR system for the 1986 French legislative elections. The right still won, but the Parti Socialiste and its allies maintained a healthier legislative presence than they otherwise would have done, and the right eventually tore themselves apart over the issue of dealings with the Front National. In the UK context, the analogy would be the Tories wrangling over relations with UKIP and the BNP. It could happen.


by Kieran Healy on May 26, 2009

I’ve only seen the headlines, but I expect all the clowns put on their clown suits this morning and are presently climbing out of their clown car at the studio. I’m thinking liberal, activist, Puerto Rico isn’t even a state and the Bronx isn’t either, law-into-her-own-hands, affirmative action, closeted lesbian, the guy in front of me at Dunkin D’s said she wasn’t too bright. On that last point, it’s well known amongst alums that whereas the Princeton Sam Alito graduated from in 1972 was a bastion of civilized learning, the Princeton Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from four or five years later was a hippie “learning cooperative” where minorities got a coupon book of “A” grades upon admission to use up as needed, were all given the Pyne Prize automatically, and the concept of truth was rigorously suppressed by the leftist faculty.