I read the TUC’s 19-point document to the power holders. It is a reasonable, plausible and credible submission. But its omissions make it appear either suspect or hastily pasted together. Obviously, the TUC would have consulted far and wide.
But in the end either those who submitted the final document or those who had the major input into it were smoking bush weed or conga pump.
Here are some omissions that remind you of a scene in the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No.” Bond’s enemies put a pink-toed tarantula in his bed to sting him. The omissions in the TUC document bite even hotter than Bond’s pinky enemy. The TUC wants the constitution to be amended so that a vote of no-confidence cannot be carried by one vote.
What the TUC forgot to mention is that on December 21, 2018 a no-confidence motion was passed by one vote to bring down a parliament whose shape was determined by one ballot. Yes, you are reading right – one ballot paper with an X on it. The APNU+AFC got a seat in parliament to make their standing 33 against 32 for the PPP because the parliamentary seat of Region Eight was won by one vote.
Now if you are going to recommend that the constitution be amended so that a government cannot fall by a no-confidence motion of one vote then it is not wise to devise some mechanism that a political party cannot win a majority of parliamentary seats by one vote?
Here is my contention. If it is wrong for one member, just one member of the House to cause a ruling party to have its mandate curtailed and have to call fresh elections then, it is not morally questionable for a parliament to be passing budgets and enacting legislations and it came into being by just one ballot paper?
Since I am asking the question it is obligatory for me to answer. I see nothing wrong with a political party winning an election by one vote. If that is the way the science of voting made it happen, then that is science. There is an electoral system commonly referred to in journalism and political commentary as First Past The Post (FPTP).
The real name is constituency system. This is an electoral arrangement whereby seats in parliament are decided by the winner in the constituency. Our local government election has a section in which you vote in a constituency. The present Mayor of Georgetown won his council seat in his constituency.
If you Google FPTP, you will see that based on how it works absolutely nothing was wrong with Al Gore winning more votes than George Bush yet Bush won the presidency. Clinton got more than three million votes than Trump but Trump is president. How does FPTP work?
A political party can contest 20 constituencies lose in all and end up with no seats. But when you tally its votes overall in the entire country, it has substantial support. The Lib-Dem party in the UK was a perpetual victim of FPTP. So it decided in a referendum to ask the British people to change from FPTP to Proportional Representation. The UK stuck with FPTP. In Trinidad which has FPTP, a political party named COP won the third highest votes in the 2007 election but didn’t get a seat.
As to the TUC’s insistence that a vote by one parliamentarian should not be allowed to topple a government, I do not see any fundamental unfairness in that. I see nothing undemocratic if a motion or bill is defeated by the vote of one parliamentarian. I think such a system allows for the manifestation of conscience which nations need to deepen the moral fabric of society.
The most egregious omission in the TUC document whose irony bites you hotter than the pink tarantula is the complete avoidance by the TUC of a colonial stupidity that this country needs to push into the Atlantic Ocean ASAP.
No country should have a Labour Department that investigates industrial, labour, racial and sexual exploitation of employees and it is staffed by public servants whose boss is in turn a public servant and whose boss is in turn is the minister.
A long time ago, the Labour Department should have been scrapped and made into a constitutional body that is independent of central power and whose researchers can be insulated from the temptation of big money by big money-holders.
The Labour Department as presently constituted in former British colonies is one of the world’s biggest stupidities. Only people who smoke conga pump would see nothing wrong with its present shape.
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