Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Voting Systems

Prompted by a tweet which, in response to another, read:
"@............. Voting system is just a part of the solution. AV will open the field up to more candidates who risk splitting the vote under FPTP."
I can but make three comments:

1. What is the point of AV when it is being foisted upon us by the political elite, when as I have posted previously here, there are other alternatives available, from which we should be the one's choosing.

2. What is the point of any voting system when the choice of candidates from which the electorate can choose is virtually controlled by the political party in question?

3. More importantly, what is the point changing to any alternative voting system whilst the majority of those we elect appear to come from the same unintelligent, venal pool of candidates who readily accept that their first responsibility is to their party and not to their constituents whose views they are supposed to represent; nor to their country to which they owe the duty of protection from outside influences?

Just asking, you understand............


English Pensioner said...

The only change worth having at the moment is to adjust the boundaries of all constituencies so that the size of the electorate of each differs by a maximum of 5%, (or preferably a maximum of 2%) between the largest and the smallest. We got rid of the "Rotten Boroughs" a couple of centuries ago, but they seem to have come back in disguise. Only when this has been done, is it worth trying to find better ways of selecting candidates.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

EP: this is all part of the "rethink" that needs to be made to our democracy.

Jacobite said...

Spot on with your analysis of the current system.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

J: Thank you kindly - your comment much appreciated.

Edward Spalton said...

English Pensioner's views are exactly those of the late Prince Bismarck, a man not noted for fondness for democracy. He once said "If you like laws and sausages, don't go to see them being made". Nonetheless he established the "equal vote right" in the old German Empire exactly along the lines suggested by EP.

It was one of the points raised by a German MP, Henry Nitzsche, in a passionate attack on the Lisbon treaty and EU generally - that it took so many more Germans than (for instance) Maltese to elect an MEP and that Germany ought to have more MEPs in proportion to its greater population.
If you Google, you can probably find the speech with English subtitles. Well worth a look, if you haven't seen it before - or even for a replay.

Edward Spalton said...

THERE ARE A GREAT MANY POSTINGS FOR HENRY NITZSCHE . The address to the one I recommended has a small spelling mistake and is
Youtube Nitsche schockt den Bundestag

(Not difficult to translate!)

James Higham said...

More importantly, what is the point changing to any alternative voting system whilst the majority of those we elect appear to come from the same unintelligent, venal pool of candidates.

There's the rub.

Voyager said...

You should review Francois Mitterand. as President he changed the French electoral system back and forth to get the majority he wanted.

The Referendum is on AV but the Bill is for changing Constituencies by size and therefore geography.

The story is only half-told. It is a bribe, a half-bribe to the LibDems for going on a journey to oblivion. The Voters are pawns in this game

WitteringsfromWitney said...

ES/Voyager/JH: you all, in your separate comments only serve to illustrate the many problems we have and that a complete re-build is necessary.

We need equal size constituencies, we need candidate selection decided by the people and we need 'decent' candidates. We also need to set in place a system whereby on matters of national importance MPs can show they have polled their constituents.

We also need to ensure that central govt only deals with subjects like foreign affairs, defense, immigration and that everything else is devolved to local authorities and local people.

And to do all that we need out of the EU!

The Gray Monk said...

In my view we actually need to rethink what "Democracy" actually means. For far to long we have suffered a rule by a ruling elite who only consult us for forms sake. Perhaps it is time to introduce a wieghted ballot and certainly one where each voter has to express a preference for the "manifesto" their party of choice wishes to impose. The final straw for me was the last government's continual parroting of "we don't need a referendum, it was in our manifesto." A document unread by 95% of their own voters and probably even fewer outside of it. Considering they were elected by less than 30% of the total electorate they could hardly claim to be representing a "majority."

Democracy as it was understood until the Politically Correct and the terminally incompetent entrenched themselves in Parliament and the Civil Service, was about the Rule of the Majority for the benefit of all, including the minority members of our society. They have turned that on its head so we are now ruled by Minority Interests and any suggestion that the Majority should be heard is immediately labelled as "oppression" or "Institutional ****-ism (of your choice)."

So, for my money, here are my suggestions -

1. Scrap First Past the Post and replace it with a double transferable vote. First Vote for a LOCAL candidate of choice, Second vote for a Party of Choice.
2. Include a Yes/No list of Manifesto "Desires" for each candidate and Party. Failure to indicate a preference for any item on these lists to be an automatic registration of NO to all.
3. Limit the term of office for both elected Members and Senior Civil Servants to a maximum of three terms (3) without exception and the term to be fixed at 5 years each. (Senior Civil Servant - all posts above Grade 7. Fixed Term contracts of maximum of 12 years and NO knighthoods, peerages or any other accolade unless there has been demonstrably outstanding performance while in office.)
4. Abolish the Whips. Every vote in the House to be secret and FREE.
5. Give us an elected Upper House, subject to the same rule of a maximum of Three Terms.
6. Give the Upper House the power to veto bad legislation and to oversee the promulgation of Regulations by "Ministers" - in reality the Mandarin using the Minister as a smokescreen...
7. Revise the Constituencies. 10,000 in Scotland = 1 MP in Westminster; 100,000 in England = 1 MP. While this is not uniform it illustrates the problem. Some Welsh and Scottish cnstiuencies return MPs on a disproportionately small electorate, yet have the same influence as the larger majority in England who are ignored. (Think Jack Straw = There's no such thing as an "English" identity...)
8. If Scotland can have a "Parliament" and Wales an "Assembly" both funded by English tax, why can't the English have their own Parliament? Why should Scottish and Welsh MPs have a say in the running of England?

The EU could be good for a Britain now reduced to a twentieth rank player by years of socialist handouts, Union destruction of commerce and industry and our economic base (Our shipping, the life blood of the nation, is now all foreign crewed, owned and flagged thanks to the RMT!) if we could just make up our minds about whether we want to be part of a major power or continue to pretend we can be a major power when the reality is that the Civil Service has reduced us to the status of a "developing nation" with its strangling bureaucracy and creative use of gilded directives.

Come to think of it, first step in restoring democracy - abolish the Civil Service!

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Wow TGM, what a comment! Let us see what others think about that......

Dave_G said...

Whilst Gray Monk makes some very perceptive observations I feel that the complication of the 'whole' would alienate voters still further.
All elected members should be 'independent' but still allowed to follow a party politik. This independence coupled with the removal of the Whip and free/secret voting in the Commons is all that is required.