Electoral reform

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by whitecity, Apr 26, 2010.

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  1. There is a very good possibility that on May 7th Gordon Brown will be asked to form a new government as leader of the party with the largest representation in Parliament having received the 3rd largest share of the vote nationwide. A quirk of the dysfunctional electoral system currently in use in the UK where a constituency votes for a person to represent said constituency, but on securing victory he/she promptly switches representation to party.

    Under such circumstances, I would question New Labour's moral mandate to lead the country any longer.

    Throughout the three terms of government enjoyed by New Labour, they have been spouting as one of their key policies electoral and representational reform. But what have they actually achieved during this period other than diminish the influence of any body that may lay obstacles in their path? Look at the various 'reform' to the House of Lords.

    The reforms undertaken by New Labour are not responsible for the electoral hypocracy noted in my first paragraph, they merely demonstrate New Labour lack of genuine substance and selfish and corrupt political massaging around the fringes.

    However, if you could implement 'true' electoral reform, what would YOU go for? Discuss.
  2. Leave the system as it is PR would be worse.
  3. My biggest problem with proportional representation is that we will end up with a professional "class" of polatician. Any decent person should be able to stand for parliament and if successful should be able to attend Westminster. But this election is an example of what is to come - TV / Media coverage creating a presidential election. Like the US the biggest TV coverage will define the winner....
  4. Far, far worse!
  5. I favour some for of single transferable vote. This can be with one member constituencies, in which case it still gets an MP to represent each area and simply acts as automatic tactical voting. Or it can be for multi member constituencies, which gets a form of proportional representation but excludes the really fringe parties and still allows one to vote for a person rather than a party.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Two elected chambers, 200 members in each - one elected by PR, the other by FPTP, with the constituencies also defined to recognise their economic contribution to the UK economy and to stop hordes of chav wasters voting for a free lunch.

    Destruction of the link between national assembly members and ultra-local issues - that's a job for local representatives, such a ban would strengthen local democracy and, besides, you can't ponder the best way to fight the Taliban whilst fretting over potholes.

    The lifetime of each chamber to be set at four years on a strict timetable which can't be manipulated by the incumbent and the elections for each chamber to be two years apart.

    No-one to serve in either house under the age of thirty five (ish) and all MP's to be subject to the standard tax and expenses rules which apply to Joe Public.

    Re-assertion of the primacy of Parliament - no EU cr@p to be adopted unless we agree, any push back from Europe and we assert the status accorded to us by being one of the net contributors.

    All UK EU Parliament members to be civil servants appointed by the Government to vote en bloc for policies as directed by the UK Government. Introduction of legislation to ensure that no-one in receipt of an EU pension (with its concommitent requirement for the recipient to support the EU) is allowed a position of political power in the UK (bye bye Lord Mandelson) and any attempt to achieve such is a treasonable offence.

    All vote rigging/electoral fraud to be viewed as a major offence punishable with a ten year prison sentence and a life ban from public life.

    Time for a beer.
  7. Have they considered a FPTP system wit ha PR Top up? Much like the Scottish and Germans use? As far as I can see that provides the best of both worlds, with none of the disadvantages of the other.
  8. One of the main flaws in the current system is the vast range in sizes of the constituencies . Correct that and that will also correct the fact that with the first past the post system for the candidate there will be a greater chance of the party which has the most elected MP’s also having the most individual votes at constituency level .

    As I said on a similar thread earlier this year ….

    Changing to Alternative Voting will mean replacing a system where the most popular person wins a constituency with a system where the least unpopular person wins .

    Tactical voting will become the norm …. I have even heard Labour MP’s on the TV for this election advising voters to vote tactically to deny the chance of a Conservative member being elected when the Labour Candidate really has no chance .

    There is no ideal system ... they all have there flaws but it really is odd that the whole subject of reform has been raised in the dying days of a Government which has been in power for 13 years .
  9. Single transferable vote with single member constituencies gets similar results without having to hold 2 ballots.
  10. Do away with representative democracy altogether. The electorate will still have the same proportions of shit-thick and ignorant no-nothings but what they won't have under a direct democracy system is the ability to shirk responsibility by piling all the blame onto politicians.

    The added benefits of doing away with party politics, patronage and nepotism; and drastically cutting the scope for corruption at the policy-making level of government would be worth the inevitable decade of disaster until the populace got their heads out of their collective arrse.
  11. (sic)

    So what exactly do we have at the moment?
  12. If the PR top up is significant, then it still gives the PR problems of fringe parties getting in and nobody having an overall majority.

    If the top up is small, then it fails to give the proportionality that PR gives.
  13. Houses of Parliament.

    This is a much bigger question than it first appears. First of all, some of my post's make it clear what my political affilliations are but I want to leave that outside of this thread and look at the electoral process. What I do like about the electoral process most of all is that we have one. I certainly bat for the political party that I have supported for many years now when an election comes along. Elections being elections, sometimes they win and sometimes the other lot win. While it's not necessarily something I may smile about if the other lot win, it is the will of the electorate and on the basis that the people have made a decision, I get on with my life, go to work, pay my mortgage, be a dad to my kids and enjoy myself. You are only here once you know.

    The British national election currently is usually termed as a "first past the post" system. This system means that within each constituency, the candidate with the most votes wins the seat. Therefore, when all the seats are declared, the party with the most seats will form the Government. It's simple, it's been shown to produce clear majorities which means the majority party can go forward unhindered and there is a mandate born from the will of the people. I also think that electing an MP on a constituency basis means that people from that constituency will relate to that MP better because he/she will be very much a locally elected candidate regardless of their actual Parliamentary party affilliation. That MP will concentrate more and work harder in the constituency seat they actually represent. This means the voter get's a better and more personal service from their MP. I must confess that unless someone comes up with a compelling reason to radically change it so that those changes benefit the running of the Country for the better, it's the system I prefer.

    The alternative is to go for proportional representation. This system takes into account the actual number of votes cast for each candidate in the election and then the seats are allocated according to a formulae set out in an electoral college. This system means votes are counted on a national or regional level rather than a constituency basis. Many argue that this is a more democratic and inclusive way of electing candidates that better represent the wishes of the electorate. My view is that PR is much more likely to guarantee hung Parliaments and minority Governments. This has the danger of debilitating a Government because it does not have a clear majority in Parliament and, must be propped up by support from minority parties who could withdraw their support at any time, thus resulting in a constitutional crises. Some people call it "tail wagging the dog politics". Italy comes to mind where I think they have had almost as many Governments as there have been years since the last world war. The other issue is that because MP's are more likely to come to Parliament through a regional or even national process through PR, they are less likely to have a "local" affilliation to a constituency that they may represent. That could lead to a less personal service for their constituents.

    So, first post the post or PR for the Parliamentary elections? As I said, I still prefer the first past the post system but this a matter of more than sufficient importance that, if we are proposing to change it, I would like to see a referendum on new proposals and let the electorate decide after they have seen the new proposals and what they actually mean.

    House of Lords.

    I have less to say about the Lords but that doesn't diminish the importance of them to the process. I do believe it should be a wholly elected house. I think there is more of an argument for elections based on PR for the lords than for Parliament itself because it has a different role. The Lords scrutinise legislative proposals and provide checks and balances over and above those already happening in Parliament through the party system. That is a process which should benefit from a stamp of approval from the electorate through elections.

    I still think there is a role for Lords who have not been elected because people do come along who are very valuable to the country and we should be able to employ their qualities in the service of the country. All the political parties have people with talent who can contribute and there are many others who have no party political affilliation who can make very valuable contributions to the service of the country, but those unelected Lords should be clearly seen to have different roles to elected Lords and they should clearly not have voting powers.