Thursday, March 19, 2009

No To Proportional Representation!

4 Comments:

Blogger David Lindsay said...

But First Past The Post simply has to go.

Let the country be divided into one hundred constituencies, with as near as possible to equally sized electorates, and with their boundaries straddling the United Kingdom’s internal borders wherever possible. Each constituency would elect six MPs, with each voter voting for one candidate by means of an X, and with the six highest-scoring candidates declared elected at the end. The deposit would be replaced with a requirement of nomination by five per cent of registered voters, also applicable to other elections. The House of Commons would have a fixed term of four years.

In the course of each Parliament, each party would submit a shortlist of the two candidates nominated by the most branches (including those of affiliated organisations where applicable) to a binding ballot of the whole electorate at constituency level for the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, and at national level for the Leader. All the ballots for Prospective Parliamentary Candidate would be held on the same day, and all the ballots for Leader would be held on the same day. Each of these ballots would be held at public expense at the request of five per cent or more of registered voters in the constituency or the country, as appropriate.

Each candidate in each of these ballots would have a tax-free campaigning allowance out of public funds, conditional upon matching funding by resolution of a membership organisation. The name of that organisation would appear on the ballot paper after that of the candidate. There would be a ban on all other campaign funding, and on all campaign spending above twice that allowance.

In the course of each Parliament, each party would submit to a binding ballot of the whole electorate the ten policies proposed by the most branches (including those of affiliated organisations where applicable), with voters entitled to vote for up to two, and with the highest-scoring seven guaranteed inclusion in the next General Election Manifesto. All of these ballots would be held on the same day, and each of them to be held at public expense at the request of five per cent or more of registered voters in the country. The official campaign for each policy would have a tax-free campaign allowance, conditional upon matching funding by resolution of a membership organisation. The name of that organisation would appear on the ballot paper after that of the policy. And there would be a ban on all other campaign funding, and on all campaign spending above twice that allowance.

Each MP would have an annual tax-free allowance transferable to the political party or other campaigning organisation of his or her choice, conditional upon matching funding by resolution of a membership organisation. The name of that organisation would appear on the ballot paper in brackets after the party or other designation. There would be a ban on all other party funding, and on all party spending per year above 2400 times that allowance.

There would be a system of party caucuses, and also of other caucuses, such as that of Independents, or that of more than one party banded together for the purpose. Caucuses would be made up of MPs and members of the second chamber, and no one could be a member of more than one caucus simultaneously. Each caucus including one sixth or more of the House of Commons would be entitled to a number of Ministers at each level proportionate to its numerical strength (among qualifying caucuses) in that House. The caucus would elect annually its nominees for office at each level, with each member entitled to vote for up to one third of the requisite number.

The Prime Minister (though still formally appointed by the monarch) would be elected by the caucus having the most members in the House of Commons, or, where two or more caucuses have equally the largest number of MPs, by the caucus whose members in the House of Commons received the highest number of votes at the preceding General Election. Portfolios would be allocated by the Prime Minister to those thus elected. No caucus would have more than one Minister in any one Department. Any sufficiently large caucus which refused to participate would be replaced with the next largest in terms of numerical strength in the House of Commons.

In each House separately, every caucus would elect a number of members to each Select Committee proportionate to its strength in that House. Select Committee Chairmen would be elected by secret ballot of the whole House. Select Committees would have power to propose amendments to legislation, and to introduce legislation of their own, within their respective policy areas.

The situation would be restored whereby any Bill would be lost of it ran out of time in either House at the end of a parliamentary session. The supremacy of British over EU law would also be restored. And no EU law would have effect in the United Kingdom unless passed through both Houses exactly as if it had originated in one or other of them.

That would be a start, anyway.

19 March, 2009 15:52  
Blogger Martin said...

David,

It's not first past the posts that has to go - it's parties that have to go.

19 March, 2009 21:12  
Blogger Wayne Smith said...

A competitive political party system is a fundamental ingredient of democracy. Even a cursory glance around the world will reveal that where there is not a healthy political party system, there is no democracy.

The problem is that our voting system is much older than the modern political party and does not give us an effective tool to hold parties and politicians accountable. On the contrary, winner-take-all voting typically gives one political party unlimited power, even though most people voted against them.

That's why we need proportional representation.

The system described by David Lindsay, known as the Limited Vote, is a semi-proportional voting system. While it is delightfully simple, and would certainly be an improvement over first-past-the-post, we can do better. the Single Transferable Vote maximizes voter choice and gives highly proportional results.

20 March, 2009 14:50  
Blogger Martin said...

Wayne,

No parties, local candidates, local issues.

What could be more democratic than that?

20 March, 2009 21:00  

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