Sunday, May 07, 2006

Power to the People - Cameron reforms (redux)

In an ideal world (ie one where I wasn't skint), I'd have been in London yesterday for the Power Commission conference. Fortunately, Davide has written an excellent report from which I warm (a little) to Dave (again):
Mr Cameron is strongly opposed to compulsory voting. “Voting, to me, is a right, and not voting should never be a crime. The state is our servant and not our master and to me compulsory voting ranks along compulsory identity cards as being a danger...” The rest of that was drowned out by applause.
Blogzilla has a better analysis of Dave's speech; overall, Dave seems to have got the point. Overall. He's still stuck on defending our archaic and failed electoral system though:
Proportional representation is not the answer to giving voters more meaningful choice, because it breaks the one-to-one link between MPs and their constituencies. Instead the Conservatives are experimenting with primaries, including for the selection of their candidate for the next London mayoral elections. Where proportional systems are used, they must not be closed list systems (which give the choice of candidates to parties).
Dave? We've gone through this before, the single member constituency link is a fallacy that creates safe seats, rotten boroughs and disillusioned voters. Multi-member STV strengthens the constituency link as it forces the MP to pay attention to the electorate as they know they are always under threat at the next election. Given that most councils have multi-member wards (using FPTP) and that split ballots seem common, switching to STV for local elections would significantly help. LEt's face it, under FPTP, the BNP are the official opposition in Barking and Dagenham now, yet they came third in vote share, the Tories in second place got one seat

Dave, seriously, is a system that allows the BNP to get 11 seats on less votes than your party managed a sensible electoral system? How do you think those who now face living in a ward where their representatives on the council are all BNP feel?

I've very much in favour of reforming our constitution. I do, genuinely, believe that many of the problems in Britain today come from a systemic failure. Sort the system out, then we get a more responsive & representative Govt that can deal with issues effectively, rather than by simplistic, headline grabbing initiatives.

Dave? Your lot need a minor miracle to simply break even at the next election, the system is stacked against you. Even though there is evidence in the results that:
Significant anti-Labour tactical voting has emerged for the first time, with electors choosing the party best placed to beat Labour in their area
You're still not likely to actually win. You say you want an end to "punch and judy" politics. OK, then try to understand.

First Past the Post creates Punch and Judy politics

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