Personal Freedom and General Elections

Is it time for a new electoral voting system?

  • Should elections be declared void when fewer than a given percentage do not vote?

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  • Do we make voting compulsory?

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  • Do we demand the right to 'cherry pick' manifesto's?

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  • Should major legislation require a mandatory referendum?

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  • Total voters
This series is presently running on the Electronic Telegraph. The point is made that, whomsoever you vote for, the result is the same. The current political parties offer very little choice; you could barely slip a cigarrette paper between their manifestos.
The way the 'Party Political System' works in this country means that the politico's are the only ones who get to party, once the rest of us have cast our votes; the ones who bother, that is.
The question has to be asked; Is it time for an entirely new voting system and an end to the Party System?
The next question is; With what do we replace it? Marx & Engels need not reply; we've all read that script!

A free country
By Charles Moore
(Filed: 16/07/2001)

'IT'S a free country" is an old expression, but is it true? You won't find a democratic politician who says straight out that he is against freedom, but it is almost equally hard to find one who actually stands up for it in practice.

Click here to view the full series
Whichever party is in power itches to make new laws that curtail our liberties. The Left will be keener to control, say, guns, the Right to control, say, drugs, but all parties share the desire to control.

It is time to take a stand against this desire. The Daily Telegraph does not support the doctrinaire libertarian argument which states that freedom is the only good. Clearly, all states have a need for order, and the price of one person's freedom can be too high for somebody else. But we do believe that there should always be a presumption in favour of freedom.

The burden should not be on people to prove why they should be allowed to do something, but on the authorities to prove why they shouldn't. Thus, why shouldn't people be free to hunt, or smoke cannabis, or build an extension to their house, or travel without an identity card, or read pornography on the internet, or adopt children? There may be reasons to prevent any or all of these things, but the restrictors should be the ones who have to make their case.

Earlier this week, Parliament solemnly debated whether there should be a law to prevent people having messy gardens: no one said that it was none of their business. There should also be a presumption that the authorities should stop taking more power over people and should start handing power back. Why should trial by jury be curtailed, or the assets of people suspected of profiting from crime be seized, or the Customs and Excise have the power to enter your house? Why should the police be able to subject drivers to random breath tests, or to spy on the public through CCTV, or the Government keep information on you that it shares across departments, or tell you whom to employ, or intercept your electronic communications?

The cant phrase always used to justify the restriction of freedom is "The innocent have nothing to fear". It is almost always untrue. The innocent suffer unfairly from every intrusion and restriction; indeed, their innocence is no longer presumed.

Today, The Daily Telegraph starts its "A Free Country" campaign. Week by week, and in major individual investigations, we shall examine how freedom is being taken away, whether by Westminster or Whitehall or Brussels or any other authority. We shall try to annoy the control freaks, whether they are Right, Left or Centre, and we shall welcome allies for freedom from all quarters. The Conservative leadership contestants hardly breathe a word about freedom. The Labour Government's Queen's Speech is a shopping list of attacks on our liberties. There's plenty to do. Libertad o muerte
A good choice I voted for referendum for major changes and could have equaly have voted for voting to be compulsory.

This first past the post system I feel is past its sell by date, PR is a far more accurate account of the voters intent, seems to work ok In NI, though Iknow there is different models of it, in operation worldwide.

A government in power with 130 seat majority is still not representive of the whole population and it has certainily lost touch with the country.

I am not Jobe, but if the Pollies cannot agree, it will not change and demoracy will be the loser.

The next question is where are the quality politicians, they are like hen's teeth.

A personal view. :)
It's everyones duty to vote but they should'nt make it compulsory unless they add to the ballot paper 'I do not think any of the above are good enough to represent my views'
I think just once the politico's should see how much people really care of them and everyone keep away from the voting booths. I mean, we all know somebody will get elected as everyone will have their 'hard core' supporters and party members will vote for their own candidates.

But, and this is the important thing, whoever does win with a couple of hundred votes will know that they have no support with the population and really have to think why so many can't be bothered. Of course they'll say that they got the most votes, it's the peoples right NOT to vote and even that the people who didn't vote have no real grounds to complain about things if they didn't bother to cast their vote. But they'll be scared.
If every choice is just as bad as the others, then there is no choice and a mass 'no vote' is a massive vote of 'No Confidence'.
Mushroom; that's exactly what I was waiting for! Yes, to your qualification; along with restrictions on the ability of the 'winners' to push contentious legislation through, should their vote fail to reach a given percentage of the electorate.


Kit Reviewer
Yep, I'll go for the option

"All these candidates are tw@s, jail 'em"

Polyglory, on your quality politicians question, only one I can think of that isn't a compulsive liar , Ian Douglas Smith. Shame he's retired.
Nom d'un chien (Mandelson)'
This is the way of Public Relations. And the United States presidential election race, of course.

Politics isn't stationary, and neither is public opinion or the public's perception of the least oppressive means of governmental rule.

The essential point is that; "Whichever party is in power itches to make new laws that curtail our liberties."

Hell's Teeth! The truth of that's blindingly obvious. Even the fools who'd want to do it would open their eyes if they saw it.

Or maybe that's what Stalin thought.
The problem nowadays is all these johnnies going straight from University to jobs as political researchers and thence into Parliament. Professional politicians with no sense of the real world. When casting their vote the electorate really should vote for the man (used non gender) and not for the party.

Give me someone who's seen a bit of real life rather than the Westminster Village.
Its been said that the fact someone wants to be a politician is basis enough to ban them from ever being one!

Is it stupid to suggest that one of the factors that causes political problems is the adversarial party system? One party wants something the other oppose just because they're the other party! Surely whats best for the country is whats best for the country!!

Probably naive as well as stupid!!! :oops:
I've never been a fan of PR because what happens is everyone you DON'T vote for wins because 2nd and 3rd choices also count. It is consistently less fair than the tradiotional "straight past the post" system. The only people PR would suit would be the Lib Dems, and do we really want those wolly-minded tree huggers in power?

The other issue with PR is that of hung parliaments with no clear mandate. At its worts in Italy they went through something like 45 Prime Ministers/cabinets in 52 years because the only way to form a government is through coalitions and they split every time an issue came up one party to the coalition didn't like. That's no way to run a country!

I would prefer to see a system like they have in the US where every major issue has to be proposed and you get the chance to vote on it on your ballot paper. Each ballot comes with a booklet stating what each proposition is, what it is for, what it aims to do, and what it will cost. Can you imagine a Blairite march towards Euro Federalism if people had the chance to block it in the ballot no matter who they voted for? It would also end the nonesense of single-issue politics and allow MPs to stand for what they believe in rather than a party whip because you could vote for a Labour candidate but still vote against a prop taking us into Europe or vice versa.
a yeah but it doesnt matter how they get voted in if theyre t#ssers at the start theyll be t#ssers at the end
I agree with much that has been said - yes to compulsory voting with a non of the above option, yes to referendums on all major legislation, (you know it won't happen, as it will increase the populations influence in the political arean - they will have to start listening to us or look really stupid! Never happen!!), no to PR (I agree with Woopert that it leads to too much confusion and weak government).

I agree that most politicians today (especially in Lab and Lib Dem parties) are people with no real experience of life. Shouldn't there be a law banning people from leaving university, going to a political job and then becoming an MP? I think we should legislate that everyone who wishes to become an MP has to have real experience (years, not months for starters) in a non political realm of life before being allowed to become an MP. Thoughts anyone?
El_Gringo said:
Shouldn't there be a law banning people from leaving university, going to a political job and then becoming an MP? I think we should legislate that everyone who wishes to become an MP has to have real experience (years, not months for starters) in a non political realm of life before being allowed to become an MP. Thoughts anyone?
Its our fault for voting for them. Next time you see an election communication check on the candidiates bona fides. If they haven't had a real job, vote for some one else.

in belgium it illegal to not vote, but then do we want to be like the Belgians. I also agree to no to PR for NATIONAL elections, however i think it works well for city councils etc, where everyone having a voice is important, however a strong central government is a must!

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