Saturday, 9 May 2015

An old idea revisited - every voter accurately represented in every vote in parliament.

Long ago I wrote a piece about an alternative idea for how the UK House of Commons could operate - so long ago I don't know where it is(!). It was pre-broadband, maybe even pre-uk-internet so could have been on CIX, an early bulletin board/conferencing system, anyhow here are the basics again.

Now I think it would be called a version of 'liquid democracy', but limited by the tech available at the time!

The aim was for every voter in the UK to be accurately represented in every vote in parliament.

Why do MP's have geographic constituencies? Why do all MP's have one vote in parliament? What if this changed?

How about, instead of you voting for an MP and ending up with an MP that your *neighbours* chose over yours - you could choose any MP and gave them your proxy vote? So your 'vote' (and so mandate) was always used in parliament and was always used as you wanted?

This would mean, in parliament, that each MP's vote would be weighted by the number of proxies they were wielding so not a simple division/head count - but not that complex... especially now with high tech to do a rapid count, but verifiable manually/transparently too.

So each MP could be representing different numbers of people, and voting with the power of their votes.

But what if your chosen proxy didn't accurately represent you on some particular issue? Well how about letting you change your proxy for any particular vote? High tech could make this very easy! Have an MP for 90% of issues you agree with them on - but switch where you disagree.

There would need to be some safe guards to stop 'block voting' which so often seems to deliver unrepresentative results - so maybe limit the maximum number of proxies an MP could hold - so the most powerful MP had no more than (say) 5 times the power of the least powerful? And at the other end, if an MP has too few proxies they would effectively have been 'sacked' as an MP! And their 'supporters' would have to choose from the remaining MP's or get more backing for their (wo)man.

This was the broad idea - I republish it now, cos  think electoral reform is coming and still think the principle of every voter being accurately represented in every vote is the gold standard for votes in any parliament.

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