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Dołączył: 18 Cze 2013
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PostWysłany: Czw 20:40, 01 Sie 2013 Powrót do góry

Posts from April 2012
Question: The French, US, Bradford West, London Mayor and UK - what do all these elections have in common? Answer: A breakdown of two-party politics. In all five cases, more voters are shifting away from the obvious two frontrunner parties, and opting for alternatives.
This trend is striking: it injecting some much-needed novelty into mainstream politics, and also raising serious questions about the viability of traditional political parties.
In the United States, the Tea Party movement has challenged the comfortable tradition of voting Republican, and will give presumptive nominee Mitt Romney a headache this autumn.
In Bradford West,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], George Galloway transformed a Labour majority of over 5,000 into a 10,000 majority for the Respect party.
In the London Mayoral election,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], Jenny Jones (Green) is taking part in all the televised debates, and Siobhan Benita has emerged from nowhere as the Independent candidate.
And in the UK as a whole, support for Labour Conservatives combined has shrunk from 97% in 1951 to 65% in 2010.
Wherever you look, support for traditional two-party politics is declining. Instead, voters are increasingly opting for an alternative - whether that the far right, unreconstructed left, or independent. I wouldn be surprised if Le Pen continued to gain momentum in France, if the Respect Party popped up again in another disenchanted Northern enclave, or if an Independent won a mayoral election outside London.
This fragmentation is becoming one of the defining features of modern politics. Why is it happening? The global recession is a big reason, combined with the inability of traditional political leaders to explain what happening, and the rise of issue-based rather than party-political engagement.
Rising unemployment, increased competition from emerging economies, more fluid labour mobility and migration - these aspects of globalisation are difficult for many people, and not easy for politicians to explain. Meanwhile, the staple diet of two-party politics is being opened up by a wider menu of issues that are more immediately engaging for voters.
The challenge for the mainstream is how to respond. Four years ago, all the talk was about Obama grassroots engagement strategy, and his ability to capture the popular imagination through the power of his charisma and the internet. This year, his re-election campaign will struggle to revive the excitement of - even with the help of George Clooney. Elsewhere, more voters seem to be saying "a plague on both your houses" and are opting for an alternative - almost half of French voters last weekend didn vote for the two main candidates.
The typical reaction of career politicans is to say "we need to communicate better" - see David Cameron, yesterday. And there always some truth in that. But the problem goes wider, and requires a more fundamental response. If traditional political parties are to maintain their pole position in this very different climate, they will need to get better at engaging more directly with voters. Holding babies is no longer enough.
Until a few days ago, Birmingham and nine other cities were quietly drifting towards a little-noticed vote on whether they should have a directly-elected mayor. Initial expectations were that most cities would say "no".
But with less than five weeks to go until the vote on 3 May, it now looks like quite a lot of those ten cities could say "yes" - which would trigger a series of mayoral elections on 15 November,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], and possibly a bunch of Parliamentary by-elections after that.
Last month, a Populus poll for BBC West Midlands showed that 59% of Birmingham voters were unaware of the imminent referendum. But, weirdly, just over half thought Birmingham should have an elected mayor. The picture was similar across Yorkshire, where Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Wakefield are all voting: 62% of Yorkshire voters did not know about the referendum, but 53% said they would vote "yes". So, without really knowing anything about it, most people intuitively support the idea of an elected mayor.
This is something of a shock. For years, the main parties have been telling us that voters don want an elected mayor. Despite the success of the London mayoralty, cities like Manchester and Leeds have not been that interested. High-profile fans like Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis have been banging the pro-mayoral drum for ages, but apparently to little effect.
Now, it looks like quite a few cities are up for a mayor:
Birmingham was always the most likely to vote "yes" - that now even more likely, following Liam Byrne announcement last week that he will stand (on a joint ticket with former leader Albert Bore). Former Labour MP Sion Simon has been the frontrunner until now. Gisela Stuart is also in the running. Whoever wins the Labour nomination will probably become mayor.
Liverpool will have its own mayor in May, after a Council "yes" vote earlier this year. Labour leader Joe Anderson is in pole position, unless Phil Redmond throws his hat in at the last minute. Salford is also due to pick its mayor in May. And Leicester has already got one.
Bradford was an unlikely contender until now - but George Galloway surprise win could change that. MP Galloway said yesterday he was "fully behind" the plan for more elected mayors, and his Respect party would put up "high-profile" candidates in Bradford and other cities.
Technically, the likelihood of a "yes" vote is pretty strong, because the wording of the referendum question is I think pitched in favour:
"How would you like [your city] to be run? By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now. OR By a mayor who is elected by voters,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych]. This would be change from how the council is run now."
Politically, the chances of a "yes" vote are quite high too. Either because well-known MPs are now putting themselves forward, lending credibility to the mayoral model. Or because voters are so fed up of the mainstream Westminster parties that they want to elect their own maverick leader.
Every MP that is elected mayor (or police commissioner) will trigger a by-election this autumn/winter. Labour stands the best chance of winning these mayoral elections, but after the Bradford West result, Ed MIliband and co will be nervous about a flurry of by-elections.

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