I talked before about the stupidity of pushing for Proportional Representation. I standby those comments. Seen as electoral reform is on the cards (and no-one ever said it wasn’t) I thought I would take this opportunity to postulate on a few things. Electoral reform in some degree is certainly needed; I said that before. There needs to be, at the very least, a system whereby Labour cannot poll third nationally yet get more seats. 13 years is a long time to fiddle election boundaries, and that certainly needs changing.
How to stop the boundaries being changed to just benefit a different party? Well, as outlined before, equal population figures for each constituency is a start. Doing this would certainly benefit the Liberal Democrats who are at a huge disadvantage thanks to meddling of constituency boundries. It would also, to a much lesser extent, help the Conservatives. The only losers would actually be Labour. Given a Con-Lib pact looks the most likely, this is certainly one thing that I would hope was on the table for electoral reform.
Britain’s voting system is pretty archaic. Not FPTP; instead why do we still have paper ballots in this electronic age? Why can I check my emails easily from anywhere from Antarctica to Zaïre, yet cannot vote anywhere other than the church hall up the road from my house? Voting online opens too many options for fraud – a fraud which has raised its ugly head this time with the postal voting system being abused. However, if the voting at the pollint station was done electronically, that would speed up the vote counting, be more accurate (there is an issue when a recount can swing the votes back and forth over a margin of 100 or more – Bolton West was won with a majority of only 92). Also, then why can’t I vote in any polling station, with my vote automatically being counted to my home constituency?
The postal vote has become totally abused. In parts of London around 50 (mostly Labour) activists were arrested for registering imaginary people or foreign nationals to vote. Elsewhere I’ve heard rumours of people’s votes being stolen to be used via postal voting to give a person plural voting. This has got to stop. Why should a postal vote be so easy to get? Surely it should only be available to those who really do need it hand have no other option – armed forces personnel serving overseas, those in hospital or who are housebound because of illness or frailty. There should be an onus to proove that you do really need one to get one.
What of FPTP? It keeps out exrtremists and prevents them getting a disproportionate influence in government. One option that Zoë suggested to me earlier today was a sytem whereby a person votes for both their first and second preferences. They give two votes for their first preference and one for their second. The election is decided then not on single votes, but on this system of points. Coupled with equalising the population of constituencies, this could be something else on the cardfs? We have to be careful because – and I’ll type this slowly for the benefit of the Lib-Dem clique who have been blindly demanding PR over everything else – most people did not vote for PR. We don’t want it, because we’ve thought about the implications of it. We don’t want perminant weak government and an easy route for Hitler Mk II to come to power. If we had wanted PR, we would have voted Lib-Dem and they would have been in poweer now. There is no mandate for PR, and the people baying for this nonsense should realise that it isn’t on the cards and won’t be until Lib-Dems win an overal majority.
So what’s the likely outcome of the negotiations? Well, the Lib-Dems would be stupid to get into bed with Labour. That would merely associate them with the failures of the last Labour government. It would also not be enough, requiring a further coilition with most other minor parties. That would lead to failure, and another general election and more decreases in the Lib-Dem vote. Their only option is to form an alliance with the Conservatives. To all those who keep bleating about “Lib-Dems should never get into bed with the Conservatives” just who are you expecting them to work with? If they behave in such a way that no-one works with them, then the Tories – being 19 short of a majority, and historically able to work with the DUP (8 seats in NI) – will form a minority government and will work as such until such time as another general election can be called. Wake up and smell the coffee.