Proportional Representation

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Nehustan, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. Yes. I am a Labour Voter.

    0 vote(s)
  2. No. I am a Labour Voter.

  3. Yes. I am a Tory Voter.

  4. No. I am a Tory Voter.

  5. Yes. I am a Liberal Voter.

  6. No. I am a Liberal Voter.

  7. Yes. I vote for a party other than the main 3.

  8. No. I vote for a party other than the main 3.


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  1. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I was thinking in light of the glorious leader (i.e. Menzies Campbell not Bliar) statements about PR last week, how arrsers feel about the idea. I never thought that the idea would be attractive to Conservatives, but given the actually percentage of Conservative voters and their number of seats in Parliaments and Assembly across the UK, maybe the idea might even become attractive to them.

    I fully expect comments on the Weimar Republic, tho' I'm not sure they are completely relevant in the UK context i.e. with the security provided by the Crown, but definately worth a debate. Have thrown in a poll so we can get a feel.
  2. Is this a wah? You've set up a "first past the post" poll on proportional representation! Classic!
  3. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Well actually I will consider the results by percentage ;)
  4. I'm in favour. The current First-Past-The-Post, or simple majority, system is justified because it helps create Parliamentary majorities to aid 'effective' government. The argument against should be obvious!

    It creates the anomaly of 'wasted votes' whereby some votes do not turn into representation i.e. all those for second and third and other places in your constituency plus all those that give your constituency's MP a majority of more than one. Given our two-party system, with 'safe seats', votes in marginal constituencies have more effect in deciding the government and hereby the direction of national policy.

    A Weimar like situation can't even happen in Germany now, with their 5% minimum for national representation. The problem with Weimar is that a statistically 'perfect' system was given to a deeply polarised society unused to the compromises of electoral politics leading to paralysis of the centre and the growth of extremists. Using Weimar to argue against a fairer electoral system would be a bit unfair.

    I'd favour the Single Transferable Vote system of multi-member constituencies. This system means no votes are wasted given an equality of influence to all voters which, given present voting patterns, would stop a governing part having an unrepresentatively large majority in Parliament and the ability to run the country the way they want rather than more in keeping with the democratically expressed wishes of the public.
  5. Whatever system is used, this country will still end up with government driven by media and "ivory towers" think tanks. All PR does is throw more parties into the political pot. This gives minor parties a barginning power (for votes) far in excess of the propotion they represent, very democratic!

    A simple "none of the above" would ensure that voters get the representatives most suited for their areas. And get rid of "party line" politics.
  6. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    LankyPullThrough, I'm favour of it too, just to state the obvious. I really don't know all the possible variations tho'. Being a Liberal voter it does seem that we do not have a system (again stating the obvious) that represents the support for the party.
  7. Proportional Representation is active in Scotland and Northern Ireland folks and it works.It is the Westminster lot that are running scared from it as it means that the voters can put into office who THEY want and not be bound by PARTY loyalty. Say yes to PR folks.
  8. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Without wanting to sound like an intellectual snob, would that be something like a dinner party conversation, demographically made up of guests who were 90% Tabloid readers and 10% political scientists?
  9. Point to remember is that PR is not an electoral system in the same way that First Past the Post is.

    It's clearer to think of PR as an overarching heading with things like STV and List appearing under them.

    It's also worth noting that many who bang on about PR do not understand this nor do they understand how the actual processes work.

    Infact, I'm so sad that I've been known to ask Lib Dems how STV works and get a blank look in return.
  10. The worst thing for me about FPTP is that a party can get a Commons majority and form the government while another party gets more votes. It has happened but I'd have to look up when (...may have been one of the 1974 elections). So, a party can get more seats but scrape bare a bare majority in each. Another party can get less seats, but with massive majorities in each, getting more votes overall but losing the election....

    It seems to me that the FPTP system is an antiquated anachronism as the old rotten boroughs and giving people who went to Oxford or Cambridge another vote (which happened up until the 1940s I believe). I'd like to see the system modernised so it better reflects the democratically expressed wishes of the voters and thereby saves us the 'modernising' policies of Blair/Brown/Cameron.

    There are a range of PR options. A 'party list' like Weimar with a directly proportional % of seats for votes is a bit primitive, stops independents running and cuts ties between voter and MP. Single Tranferable Vote gives you the chance to express preferences so your vote is never 'wasted'. Taking into account second and third choices, as well as first, seems to me to the best chance of decent representation. IIRC the Irish Republic uses STV and (I'll stand corrected here...) it may even have been used in NI.
  11. When listening to some of the "conversations" currently presented by our representatives, I suspect that is already the case.
  12. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

  13. I am actually torn -- the problem with proportional representation is that it inevitably results in party lists, so MPs not toeing the party line will suddenly find themselves so far down the list that they never get in.

    I am coming to the conclusion that a regionalised PR system might actually be the way forward, it is thereby doing away with some of the major PR objections and some of the major first past the post objections.

    For the national elections in the Netherlands they have a pure PR system. On the voting machines you get a column of names under the party headings. Any name you press counts as a vote for that party, but the party leadership actually gets to decide who gets the seats. They can choose to totally ignore the distribution of votes if they wish.
  14. I really don't see where every one gets the idea that solid majorities give good goveernment, just look at the last 20 odd years, most of that time the ruling party has had an almost unassailable majority but can you say it was 'good government'. Certainly not in my opinion. Letting some power crazy polititian, and that means any one who rises to lead his/her party, have almost absolute power is crazy.

    In many respects minoity government has a lot to say for it as the government has to rule by consensus, something that over time is almost certainly going to be more effective.

    In my opinion, for what that is worth, the mutimember constituency with single transferable vote gives both the local link, the MP actuallly doe represent people, and also attacks the power of the party candidate selection committee as the voter can reflect his own shades of opinion by splitting his vote.

    In general once again in my opinion those who support our present system are fundamentaly anti democratic.

  15. NI?

    Specially designed to give minorities a disproportionally large representation and the system has no 'government' and no 'opposition.

    The NI First minister is probably the only head of government in the world who does not get to pick his own ministers and cannot sack the incompetent ones.

    I would hardly use that abortion as an example.