Election fever and misguided calls for PR.

I hear a lot these days about “A vote for Lib Dems is a vote for electoral reform”. I have to say that the Lib Dems’ desire for Porportional representation always annoys me. POR is a system that allowed too many undesireables into governemt in other countries (would you really want to guarentee BNP seats in government?).

Let’s look at it sensibly. Any party that wants a particular type of electoral reform, usually wants it because the advantage to them are far more than to anyone else. Certainly the system within the UK at the moment is suspect to say the least. How is it that in theory Labour could still have more seats than any other party despite coming third with number of votes polled? That certainly smacks of reform being desperately needed. I saw that the Conservatives need something like 7% more votes just to theoretically get the same number of seats as Labour. For the Lib Dems the figures are far worse – no wonder they keep talking about electoral reform.

PR isn’t the answer; not by a long way. Talking about PR is a red herring. It let in Hitler, and it allowed decades of Mafia corruption in Italy. A fairer system would be to keep First Past the Post (which stops extremeists getting influence in government off a small share of the vote) but change the constituencies so that they all cover roughly the same population. That way this would remove the descrepency of Labour seeming to have an unfair advantage and Lib Dems being at a massive disadvantage. Constituencies in dense urban areas would become quite small, whilst those in the wilds of Scotland would be huge. However, it would be argued that as each MP represents the same number of people, they should have the same workload.

Low turnout is also an issue. I say to anyone who does not bother to vote when they are entitled to: Shut the hell up. Keep your whinging to yourself, because you had your chance to vote for what mattered to you, and you blew it. Even spoiling your ballot is making a statement more than being too lazy to turn up. I don’t want to hear your jaw flapping about anything political between now and the next election; it’s as simple as that.

Of course many people feel that MPs are all as bad as each other. With expenses scandals, cash for honours and an illegal war in Iraq based on lies and bullshit, who wouldn’t feel agrieved. I’ve heard mutterings from time to time about compulsary voting. I really hate that idea if applied as-is to the present system. If all the candidates are equally as stoogey, why should I be forced to chose one of them? Far better to have a ‘None of the above’ box if voting is made mandatory. If you don’t like any of the candidates, vote none of the above. And if none of the above wins, the election in that constituency in re-run with all original candidates who were beaten by none of the above being barred from standing during that parliamentary term.

There may be issues with none of the above repeatedly winning, so maybe a second round without none of the above running, but voting no longer mandatory? That would certainly throw a spanner in the works for career politicians thinking they had a safe seat. It’s a good thought.

In summery, PR is evil. Those blindly shouting for it haven’t thought the implications through. First past the post stops extremists, but it certainly needs overhaul to be more representative. The points I’ve outlined above would be a simple way to do just that.

2 thoughts on “Election fever and misguided calls for PR.

  • 6 May 2010 at 13:41
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    PR would be the end of strong government. It is silly to interfere with a voting system that has clearly worked better than anywhere else in the world until recent times. The excesses of the lower house have always been moderated by the common sense of the upper house – until the current government interfered with the Lords!

    If voting reform is in order, why not require voters to pass a qualification in order to be able to vote? Why stick to one person one vote? Why should the opinion of someone who knows not what they are talking about count the same as someone knowledgable? Why not give high scorers two votes?

    Constituencies should reflect the full spectrum of the electorate. Unfortunately there have been a lot of boundary changes recently to concentrate constituencies in rural areas and create new seats in urban areas – no doubt to try and gain some Labour MPs in areas where Labour typically come fourth or fifth. At least we are seeing a few more constituencies in England to offset the disproportionately large number in Scotland.

    Suzie x

  • 6 May 2010 at 14:31
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    I think you are completely right. PR is dangerous – which is why the Italians favoured changing to it from PR to try and stamp out corruption and influence by the Mafia.

    Qualifications for voting (or at least a test that checks for a basic understanding of Britain) is an intereting idea and one that I would, in principal, support.

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