For all the usual association of independence movements with violence and "separatism," the fact is that secessionist movements in liberal democracies usually pursue their aims peacefully, through the democratic process, and central governments resolve not to use military force to prevent secession authorized by a democratic vote (imagine that!). Such is the case in Scotland, … Continue reading Could a Scottish Secession Referendum Bring About Salutary Decentralization?
Scotland's upcoming independence referendum has been in the news in Britain. The Scottish government wants to hold the referendum in 2014, but UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Westminster holds ultimate control over the wording and timing of any legally binding referendum and wants to hold the referendum sooner. Another point of contention … Continue reading How to Solve the Scottish Referendum Question Controversy
In a few hours, polls open in the United Kingdom for local and devolved elections and for a referendum on moving to a new electoral system, Instant Runoff Voting, which Brits and Aussies insist on calling, undescriptively, "alternative vote" (AV). This referendum came about as a demand of the Liberal Democrats, who held the balance … Continue reading Is There Such a Thing as a “Libertarian” Electoral System?
The coalition government in Great Britain is offering an object lesson in how to build political support for deep, wide-ranging cuts in government spending. Spending cuts need not be politically toxic. If you frame the debate as one of responsibility versus madness, voters will choose the former.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has opened up a public website on which British citizens can give their ideas for curbing government and restoring freedom. Given the social democratic tilt of the Lib Dems since the 1980s, this initiative seems promising. Here's a sample of what Brits are saying about … Continue reading Nick Clegg Wants to Restore Brits’ Freedom
The NY Times is reporting that British Prime Minister David Cameron is forecasting "decades of austerity" because of the swelling deficit in the UK. What caught my eye about this story is the location of his speech, a town called Milton Keynes. Does some scheduler in the new Tory government have a sense of humor … Continue reading More (intentional?) British humor
Like the UK, Germany is planning to "set an example" by virtually eliminating their deficit by 2014. Couple these efforts with those of Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, and the U.S. is really starting to look out of step.
Britain is barely out of recession, and the new government plans to trim the fat. We'll check back with them in a few months and see if all hell has broken loose.
All indications are that the Lib Dems have broken off negotiations with Labour and are ready to vote on a pact with the Conservatives, which would involve a referendum on a new electoral system, "alternative vote," better known in the U.S. as instant runoff voting, a system also used by Australia's lower house. Yesterday's selloff … Continue reading Britain Set for Coalition Government
Britain's general election is today, and recent polls show the Conservatives edging upward, close to the numbers they might need for a majority, assuming that the more complex seat calculators are right. Betting markets still give more than a 50% chance of a hung parliament, however. What I don't understand is how a Labour Party … Continue reading Britain Votes