Friday, 14 May 2010

A thought on PR

I was reading this flaccid hissy fit, which contained the immortal lines:

A month ago we loudly bemoaned the presence of a Labour Prime Minister whose party had 35% of the vote. Today, we have a Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister with 23% of the vote.


What aspect of PR is going to make it more likely that any Prime Minister will have more of a mandate than Brown ever did?

7 comments:

Morlock said...

"What aspect of PR is going to make it more likely that any Prime Minister will have more of a mandate than Brown ever did?"

Nothing.

But that's the damn point. It's highly unlikely that any party would ever get a true majority (>50% vote share), so why why should we allow minority dictatorships?

BTW, as a libertarian, I'm sure that you recognise that there will always be a minority whose electoral wishes do not get represented in any government, so less government is actually the only desirable outcome. But, as that isn't likely (politicians only go into their business in order to exercise power, not give it away), one of the joys of coalitions is that of acting as a brake upon the wilder excesses of the left/right (delete as appropriate). This is undoubtedly a good thing.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Those are all valid points, but my concern - as a libertarian - is that we need a massive swing away from the big state before we put the brakes on wild swings. Otherwise we'll be entrenching a massive burden on ourselves.

bayard said...

"politicians only go into their business in order to exercise power, not give it away"

That's the real problem; no parliamentarians, just power-seekers. We need a better class of MP first. Before we start monkeying around with the election process, we should really have a look at the selection process.

Ronnie Soak said...

@bayard are you talking about American style primaries?

Vladimir said...

"Those are all valid points, but my concern - as a libertarian - is that we need a massive swing away from the big state before we put the brakes on wild swings. Otherwise we'll be entrenching a massive burden on ourselves."

Obo, I share this concern. PR sounds like a great way to give minor parties a voice. It sounds like it's a fairer system. But really it's even worse than what we already have. If you have PR and a parliament full of social democrats, then you are stuck with both, because the social democrats no longer need to win local support within each constituency. They just need the broad support of the population, and with their iron control of mass media this is never hard to arrange. What is the use of, say, 20 UKIP MPs, if Condem or Liblab have a majority of hundreds?

On electoral reform we need to be "careful what we wish for".

stimarco said...

"What is the use of, say, 20 UKIP MPs, if Condem or Liblab have a majority of hundreds?"

If a majority of people want Tory, Labour or LibDems in charge, (or some combination of same), why the hell aren't they allowed to have them?

Assuming your UKIP MPs are sitting in a House of Commons containing 650 seats, why *should* they have more than 20 / 650ths of the power?

The concept of a minority isn't limited to colour, creed or sexual orientation. Deal with it.

Nations are constantly trying to attract more people (i.e. taxpayers) to their shores, so stop saluting flags and start acting like what you are: a *customer*. If you don't like Tesco's, you'll go do your shopping elsewhere. The same concept applies to nations too.

(And yes, I am practicing what I preach: I've never liked New Labour, so I've lived in five countries over the years. It's not *that* hard to do.)

Anonymous said...

Assuming your UKIP MPs are sitting in a House of Commons containing 650 seats, why *should* they have more than 20 / 650ths of the power?

If one party depends on their 20 votes to pass laws, then they have much more than 2/65ths of the power. Why should the views of 10000 people who are spread out over the country be condensed into the vote of one MP? Why should that MP vote according to what some other MP says?

If a majority of people want Tory, Labour or LibDems in charge, (or some combination of same)

We can only vote for one party, not for "some combination" (yet). The only people who want any party in charge are the members of that party. A majority of people may have views similar to those of a certain party. What I'm trying to say is that having people vote on each law is the only true democracy. You can't just choose a representative from a group of people who only represent half of your views.