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Federalist fun

Tony Blair's special adviser on constitutional reform describes the messy success story

By Pat McFadden   May 2002

Before England thumped Germany 5-1 last year, Gary Lineker used to say that football was a simple game played with 22 players and a ball, and after 90 minutes the Germans won. Until the 1997 election, British politics seemed rather like that too. Every four or five years we had an election and the Conservatives won.

The longer Labour spent out of power, the crueller seemed the winner-takes-all system and the more its interest in checks and balances grew. The same process can be seen today in the Conservative attitude to Lords reform. For 18 years in government they were…

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