Andrew Adonis reviewed Vernon Bogdanor‘s latest book, “The Coalition and the Constitution” in the New Statesman last month. Adonis believes that Bogdanor argues that the fact of Coalition is a more significant change than the proposed reforms, which he summarises as Alternative Vote, so-called Fixed Term Parliaments and House of Lords reform. I’ve not read the book, so am not sure if focusing on Clegg’s quote, “the biggest shake-up of our democracy since 1832” is from Bogdanor, or Adonis, but neither think the plans meet this hype.
They suggest that A.V. & Fixed term parliaments are not major game changes, and Bogdanor also looks at the reform of the House of Commons, the reduction in MPs and the equalisation of constituency sizes. He argues that these latter reforms, while hyped as anti-Labour will particularly disadvantage the Liberal Democrats. The Government plans for House of Lords reform have now been published, so their impact can be estimated, and we now know that the next elections will be held under First Past the Post electoral system.
Adonis departs from a review of Bogdanor’s ideas by looking at the extension of the idea of executive mayors. He argues that this, “has great democratic potential”. I don’t really see it myself.