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President of the United Kingdom


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Hi,

I'm working on my first scenario for this game: a contest to become President of the United Kingdom.

My idea is that after the Queen dies, there will be a national debate regarding the future of the monarchy and whether it should be replaced. In the scenario, the debate has been won by the republicans, and it has been decided to introduce a President of the UK (it's been pointed out to me that it wouldn't strictly be the United Kingdom, as there would no longer be a monarch, but for simplicity I will continue with the current name). The player therefore contests the first ever UK Presidential election.

I'm currently setting the scenario up. Any ideas would be most welcome, most especially regarding candidates - who would stand? This is an extremely difficult question - I'm really struggling to come up with good ideas. This is my main problem at the moment, but any suggestions regarding any other aspects would also be welcome.

Thanks.

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This will be tough because at least one party and plenty of ctizens would reject the elections because of their love for the Queen and thus not run/vote in it. Also the chances of this happening are about 0.

I'm not sure that the chances of it happening are 0. The chances of the monarchy being abolished while the Queen is alive are, as you say, because of the great affection that the British public have for the Queen, very low. However, if the Queen died, I think that would start a debate. Prince Charles does not have anything like the level of popularity that the Queen has. While I accept that the chances of the monarchy being abolished on the Queen's death are low, I don't think that its completely absolutely outside the bounds of probability. Anyway, it's supposed to be an imaginary scenario - what would happen if the monarchy were to be abolished, rather than a prediction of what will happen.

I disagree that the Conservatives would not run. If the monarchy had been abolished, and the question was merely one of who would be the President, rather than whether we would have a President, I think that they would be pragmatic about it and run in the election. I'm not at all sure that they would just want to hand the office to Labour, especially if it was to have powers of significance. I'm also not sure they would like to see where their voters may go if they couldn't vote for them - eg. UKIP. If the abolition of the monarchy had been approved in a referendum, then they would not wish to be seen to be going against the will of the British people by refusing to take part. The Conservatives have run for the Mayor of London in each election since it's introduction despite not supporting the posts introduction, and have run in the Scottish and Welsh elections, despite very firmly opposing the introduction of the Parliament and Assembly. They have also come round to supporting a lot of the other constitutional changes introduced by Labour, despite fiercely opposing them originally. Although the issue of the Monarchy may be a little more emotive, I still think that, it having been abolished for certain, the Conservatives would accept this and contest the election.

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My main issue really is the candidates. As I said above, this scenario doesn't have to be massively realistic, but it would be best if it could be as realistic as possible. I'm struggling to come up with realistic candidates to stand for President. I'm aware that some of the ones I've come up with so far probably aren't very realistic, but they're the best I've got at the moment. Any other suggestions of who might stand, or any suggestions of which of these would be most popular and in what regions, would be appreciated.

Labour

----------

Tony Benn

Tony Blair

Ken Livingstone

Jack Straw

Peter Mandelson

Conservative

-----------------

William Hague

Boris Johnson

Michael Howard

Ken Clarke

Iain Duncan Smith

David Davis

Liberal Democrat

------------------------

Paddy Ashdown

Menzies Campbell

Charles Kennedy

Vince Cable

Brian Paddick

UK Independence

-------------------------

Nigel Farage

Gerard Batten

David Campbell-Bannerman

John Whittaker

Bob Spink

BNP

-------

Nick Griffin

Simon Darby

Richard Barnbrook

Green

---------

Caroline Lucas

Derek Wall

Jean Lambert

Siân Berry

RESPECT/Left List

---------------------

George Galloway

Lindsey German

Independent

------------------

?

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I'm thinking of setting it in the very near future - provisionally 2010. My backstory for it runs something like this:

"When the Queen died at the beginning of the year 2010, great sadness swept the nation. But when people had begun to come to terms with what had happened, a debate began about the future of the monarchy. With opinion polls showing the country to be deeply split, the future looked uncertain. Soon Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who had surprisingly been re-elected in 2009, was being accused once more of 'dithering' when it came to an important issue. As opinion polls fell to new lows, and talks of a leadership challenge became ever more frequent, Gordon Brown decided that decisive action was needed. He needed to make his mark on history and show that he was not afraid to make the biggest and most controversial of decision. So he announced the abolition of the monarchy.

"However, as with so many spur of the moment policy announcements, no plans had been made for what was to happen next. A constitutional crisis ensued when Prince Charles, who had been acting as Head of State on an interim basis while decisions about the future were made, stepped down from the role, saying that Brown's decision had made his continuation in the role impossible. With nobody to give Royal Assent to bills passing through Parliament, the potential for a massive crisis loomed large. Again wanting to look brave and decisive, Gordon Brown decided that urgent action was necessary. With no time to design his own system to elect the President, he decided to 'borrow' the American system, primaries, electoral college and all.

"Now for the first time in British history there is to be an election for the President of the United Kingdom. Who will go down in history as the first?"

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My campaign currently runs 1st April 2010 - 4th Nov 2010, with the General Election campaign beginning 9th Sep. I've used many of the issues from the 2005 Prime Minister forever game, modified where necessary to reflect developments since then, plus some new issues, including post offices, prisons and top-up fees.

I've based my map on the one in the 2005 game (which had the European Parliament regions) but have redrawn the boundaries to make more regions. Thus there are three Welsh regions and three Scottish regions. In the south, the regions represent the traditional counties, with between 1 and 3 in each region. In the North of England, the regions are still largely the European Parliament ones, as I found it harder to find logical places to draw new boundaries, and also as I wanted some larger regions as well as smaller ones. Electoral college seats are based on population, plus 2 extra electoral college seats for each region, to mirror the way seats are allocated in the US.

I've removed radio and TV ads, which are not allowed in the UK, and have newspaper, poster, mass mailing and internet ads instead.

In terms of parties, I've got Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, BNP, Greens and RESPECT/Left List. Each party will have primaries (I've drawn up a primaries calendar, complete with a "Super Thursday"). The Conventions will take place in the last few weeks before the start of the General Election campaigns, with the three main parties having week long conventions, and the other parties having their conventions at the weekends. The Conventions are being held in the places that the parties have in reality held their conferences in recent years (mainly Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth).

Labour and the Conservatives are having closed primaries, while the Lib Dems are having open primaries (I thought that if any party were going to do open primaries, it would probably be the Lib Dems). All the other parties are having caucuses, on the basis that given their membership size, funds and nature, I think this is probably the most likely route they would go down.

The Conservatives, UKIP and the BNP are having all their seats allocated by FPTP. The Lib Dems, Greens and RESPECT are having all their seats allocated by PR (on the grounds that the Lib Dems, RESPECT, and I think the Greens support PR). Labour are using FPTP except in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London, where they have introduced PR systems in real life. I've also allocated the delegates for each region in different ways for each party (although all are still basically proportional to the population size). These differences should make it interesting to replay the scenario as each of the different parties.

I'm currently doing the starting percentages for each party in each region. I'm basing these on the electoral results in the 2005 General Election, but transferring a few percent from Labour to the Conservatives and Lib Dems to represent the change since the last election.

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Just a question why no David Cameron for the Conservatives? wouldnt as current leader of the party he be a contender for the conservative nomination? also what about gordon brown wouldnt he be a contender for Labour?

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LAB

Gordon Brown (Centre – Brownite)

David Milliband (Centre Left – Blairite)

John McDonnell (Hard Left – Socialist Campaign Group)

Wendy Alexander (Labour Leader – Scotland)

Rhodri Morgan (Labour Leader – Wales)

Jon Cruddas (Left – Unions/Compass)

Ed Balls (Centre Left – Brownite)

Hazel Blears (Centrist – Blairite)

CON

David Cameron (Centrist/New Wave)

David Davis (Centre Right/One Nation Tory)

Alan Duncan (Libertarian)

Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Right/Old Guard/Thatcherite)

Liam Fox (Right/New Wave/Thatcherite)

John Redwood (Right/Old Guard)

Annabel Goldie (Conservative Leader – Scotland)

Nick Bourne (Conservative Group Leader – Wales Assembly)

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)

LIB

Nick Clegg (Liberal Centre Left)

Chris Huhne (Libertarian)

Simon Hughes (Liberal Left)

Lembit Opik (Liberal Centre-Left)

Mike German (Liberal Democrat Leader Wales)

Nicol Stephen (Liberal Democrat Leader Scotland)

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Thanks for those suggestions - there are quite a few there I will probably use.

The reason why I haven't listed Gordon Brown is that he would be Prime Minister at the time (in my scenario he gets re-elected in 2009) and I'm not sure that he would give that up to become President (I'm thinking that the President would probably have less power than the Prime Minister, although to avoid complicating things too much, I'm trying to avoid deciding exactly how much). It's the same with David Cameron: he's in the running for the bigger prize: Prime Minister. The same goes for many of the Cabinet and potential Cabinet - would they risk running for a largely ceremonial post when they could have real power? The reason I think that the post would be mainly ceremonial is based on the fact that this is the current role of te Head of State (the monarch), and I'm not sure that there would be such a major constitutional upheaval to change that significantly. Also, according to my backstory to the scenario, Gordon Brown creates the new role - would he create it in such a way as to strip him of most of his own power? I accept that this rests on how much power the President would have - if he would have significant powers then yes, perhaps Gordon Brown and David Cameron might run (although, still, given Gordon Brown's indecisive and risk-adverse personality, I'm still not sure he'd risk it).

I'm also thinking that there is a certain type of person who runs to be President of a country. Generally the person running is an older person, an experienced politician (especially, but not only, if it were to be a largely ceremonial role). I think that David Cameron is still rather young and inexperienced to run for the role of President (although you could argue that if Boris can run for and win as Mayor of London then David Cameron could run for President). I suppose, though, that you could put all these candidates in the race and then leave it to the electorate to decide which they preferred. It oculd be very interesting to have David Cameron running against some of the elder statesmen - but then again, would he risk it? If he wasn't pretty sure of winning, or at least doing well, would he really take the gamble when he seems to be in with a really good chance of becoming the next Prime Minister?

I do think that you are right, though, that maybe I need to cast the net a little wider - I was probably focussing too narrowly on too specific a type of person. Throwing in some younger and/or less experienced candidates will add some good variety to it. That's a very good and varied list you've given me, and I think that's really important for there to be a genuine choice for the voters. The idea of having the Scottish and/or Welsh leaders also provides the interesting element that they would give the party a boost in that particular country.

I'll have to look in to the particular positions of these candidates on the election issues I've chosen once I finish doing the party percentages for each region. I may well come back for some help on those I find difficult to pin down.

I'll keep you updated on the development of this scenario. Thanks again for your help.

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OK, I'm trying to work out now which candidates would be most popular. I've got quite a long list combining my thoughts with those of zion. What do you think to the order below (the one at the top of the list would be the leader at the beginning of the campaign, with the one at the bottom in last place with only a small proportion of the support - I would try to ensure that at least the top four or five had real chances of winning)? Obviously, the levels of support will vary throughout the country depending on political position and origin of the candidates/region represented, but I need a general idea of who's likely to be in the running and who's likely to be also-rans.

Remember that we're electing a President here rather than a Prime Minister, so we may be looking for a different sort of person to who we look for to lead a party. I've omitted certain names (Brown, Cameron, Osborne for the reasons given above).

Labour

--------

Jack Straw

David Milliband

Ken Livingstone

Tony Blair

Hazel Blears

Peter Mandelson

Tony Benn

Dennis Skinner

Wendy Alexander

Jon Cruddas

Conservative

----------------

William Hague

Boris Johnson

David Davis

Michael Howard

Ken Clarke

Alan Duncan

Iain Duncan Smith

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Liam Fox

John Redwood

Liberal Democrat

--------------------

Paddy Ashdown

Charles Kennedy

Menzies Campbell

Lembit Opik

Brian Paddick

Vince Cable

Chris Huhne

Simon Hughes

Nicol Stephen

Mike German

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I'm currently setting up the candidates and I'm wondering about the issue of a candidate's home region. Should this be set to the region that the candidate is an MP in, do you think (where relevant)? I should imagine that that is where they would most likely get any kind of home region boost. What about those that aren't MPs? Where should I set their home region?

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