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Charles Harrison (British politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Harrison
Charles Harrison

Charles Harrison (1 August 1835 – 24 December 1897) was a British Liberal Party politician.

Harrison was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex, and was the third son of Frederick Harrison, a stockbroker, and his wife, Jane Brice. He was educated at King's College School and King's College London. In 1858 he entered business as a solicitor at the firm of his uncle, also named Charles Harrison. He acquired a large practice in his own right, with major clients being the London Chatham and Dover Railway and the Law Fire Insurance Society. He became an advocate of the rights of tenants to purchase their properties and of the provision of housing for the working classes. In this he was in agreement with the policies of the Radical wing of the Liberal Party. In 1886, he married Lady Harriet Barlow.

His active involvement with politics came with the creation of the London County Council in 1889. He was elected as one of the council's first members, representing Bethnal Green South West as a member of the Liberal-backed Progressive Party. He was a leading member of the council, and vice-chairman from 1892 – 1895. His interests in the government of the capital led him to call for the municipalisation of the London docks and the unification of the City of London with the county.

On two occasions Harrison stood for election to the United Kingdom House of Commons on behalf of the Liberals. In 1892 he failed to be elected at Plymouth. He stood again at the ensuing general election in 1895, and became one of the town's two members of parliament, while continuing to hold his seat on the London County Council.

Harrison became suddenly ill with inflammation of the throat at the funeral of Sir Frank Lockwood on 23 December 1897 and died at his London home on the following day from heart failure.

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  • Why the UK Election Results are the Worst in History.
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Hello Internet The UK had an election we need to talk about because after the debates finished, the people voted and the ballots tallied the results were this: But parliament ended up looking like this: Which isn't, exactly, representative. And by not exactly, I mean at all. Red earned 30% of the vote and 36% of the seats, which is sort of close, but the rest is madness: Orange earned 8% of the vote but got one eighth of that while Yellow's 5% just about doubled, and purple earned 13% and got squat. Meanwhile blue's 37% of the people booted to 51% of the seats in parliament. The blue boost is even bigger when you consider that 51% of the seats gives basically 100% the control. How'd this happen? In the UK -- national elections aren't really national, they're a bunch of local elections. The UK is divided into constituencies, each of which elects one member of parliament (M.P.) to represent them. This local / national divide is where the trouble begins. Imagine a parliament with just three constituencies, and it's easy to see how it wouldn't always align with citizens. Some people think this sort of result is fine -- “it's all *about* winning local elections,” they’ll say. “Each M.P. represents their constituency.” And while the imbalance in this example is dumb, but it's the same problem in the real election and this same argument is given, but there are two more problems with it in reality land. 1) Few citizens have any idea who their MP is, they just know what party they voted for -- what party they want to represent their views on the national level. And pretending like it's a local election is a bit disingenuous. -- in practice it's an election for now the nation will run -- not really for who is going to represent a tiny part of it. and even if it were 2) The individual constituencies are worse at representing their citizens than parliament. Indulge this spreadsheet-loving nerd for a moment, will you? The difference between what a party earned at the polls and what they got in parliament is the amount of misrepresentation error. If we calculate all the errors for all the parties and add them up we can say the Parliament as a whole has 47% percentage points of misrepresentation error. That sounds bad looks like a utopian rainbow of diversity compared to any local election because the local elections have *one* winner. Out of the 650 constituencies 647 have a higher representation error than parliament. These are the only three that don't and they're really unusual for having so many of a single kind of voter in one place. Most places look the The Wrekin which is dead in the middle a mere one-hundred and one points off. Note that the winning candidate didn't reach a majority here. Which means more than half of constituencies elected their MP with a minority of voters. The worst is Belfast South at the bottom of the list. Hilariously unrepresentative. Less than a quarter of the voters get to speak for the entire place in parliament. This is the the lowest percentage an M.P. has ever been elected by. So when people argue that the UK election is a bunch of local elections 1) people don't act like it, and 2) It's even more of an argument that the elections are broken because they're worse on this level. These local elections are unrepresentative because of the terrible 'First Past the Post' voting system -- which I have complained mightily about and won't repeat everything here -- go watch the video -- but TL;DR it only 'works' when citizens are limited to two choices. Voting for any party except the biggest makes it more likely the biggest will win by a minority -- which is exactly what happened. That citizens keep voting for smaller parties despite knowing the result is against their strategic interests demonstrates the citizenry wants diverse representation -- but that successes is the very thing that's made this the most unrepresentative parliament in the history of the UK. People happy with the results argue the system is working fine -- of course they do. Their team won. Government isn't a sport where a singular 'winner' must be determined. It's a system to make rules that everyone follows and so, we need a system where everyone can agree the process is fair even if the results don't go in their favor. If you support a system that disenfranchises people you don't like and turbo-franchises people you do -- then it doesn't look like you sport representative democracy, it looks like you support a kind of dictatorship light. Where a small group of people (including you) makes the rules for everyone. But as it is now, on election day the more people express what they want the worse the system looks which makes them disengaged at best or angry at worst and GEE I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY. This is fixable, there are many, many better ways the UK could vote -- here are two that even keep local representatives. And fixing voting really matters, because this is a kind of government illegitimacy score -- and it's been going up and may continue to do so unless this fundamentally broken voting system is changed.


  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs  
  • Martha S Vogeler (2004). "Harrison, Charles (1835–1897)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 December 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Obituary: Mr. Charles Harrison, M.P., The Times, 27 December 1897, p. 7

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Edward Clarke and
Sir William Pearce
Member of Parliament for Plymouth
With: Sir Edward Clarke
Succeeded by
Sigismund Mendl and
Sir Edward Clarke
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Stuart
Leader of the Progressive Party
Succeeded by
McKinnon Wood

This page was last edited on 28 April 2020, at 17:58
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