Wednesday, 22 September 2010

What is 'proportional' anyway?

As I see it at the last general election the results panned out thus:

Party%age of Vote%age of Seats%age of governmental power
Conservative36%47%70%
Labour29%40%0%
LibDem23%9%30%

So while I support AV as a better way of selecting an MP than FPTP, I think talk of PR (proportional representation) based on seat numbers is currently entirely misguided, and has been for most (if not all) of its history.

Who cares how many seats you have if you have no power over government?

So lets get our MP selection sorted out (#YesToAV) and then there is a whole new discussion to be had over how our selected MPs go on to represent us in government.

2 comments:

  1. ...I think talk of PR (proportional representation) based on seat numbers is currently entirely misguided, and has been for most (if not all) of its history.

    It is because power over Government derives from the number of seats held in parliament that proportional representation (for seats) is important. There is no other way it can work.

    We are able to hold the Government to account, when we vote, with proportional voting, we would be better able to do that. Arguments against PR are arguments against Democracy, which is fine, but unless outright anarchy is being proposed as an alternative, PR is the best system.

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  2. @itscares, you say power derives from the number of seats held in parliament and that 'There is no other way it can work.'

    But how hard have you looked at this?

    The Jenkins report brushed over (for instance) weighted voting by MPs - but the objections appear to have been based on lack of imagination, enthusiasm and (maybe) limitations of the technology of the time.

    Caroline Lucas (Green MP) has raised the issue of electronic voting in parliament, and while I object to electronic voting in secret ballots, I have no objection in open ballots (where it is simple for individuals to check if votes are accurately recorded).

    Electronic voting would make weighted voting a trivial change.

    So it is possible (for instance) to change the power of individual MPs rather than changing the numbers/proportions of them.

    If this hadn't occurred to you, what else may not have? (I don't have an answer for that - just a call for people to keep their minds open!).

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