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The PIT

Electoral Reform

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Once again this has come back to the fore where parties despite getting a huge vote gaining very little in way of representation in Parliament.

 

We've got Scotland that has clearly gone it's own way but is depending on infighting within the Tory party to have any real say in things. Cameron has made promises but how this will go depends on how strong the feeling on keeping the union intact is within the rest of the party.

 

You've got UKIP who came third but need 100% more votes to gain an MP than the Tories. Labour actually increased the voting share slightly but lost seats.

 

So we had Alternate Vote which rightly got chucked out so we're left with Proportional representation. Looking at this page http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-parliament-proportional-representation/20893 things look a lot fairer.

 

The downside of PR is that it's much easier for extremist parties to get a say then against that it's easier to get rid of them I suppose.

 

What you look think.

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I'd prefer Single Transferable Vote because it puts more power in the hands of voters, compared to closed list systems like D'hondt method used in the Euro's in Scotland, England and Wales. In STV you still vote for individual candidates rather than a party, but there is an argument that STV can give smaller parties more representation as a result of larger parties being scared to stand more than one candidate in a multi-member constituency. STV does raise the problem that very rural constituencies would either need to be huge or restricted to 1 member and thus effectively be AV single member seats. Scottish council wards are typically 3 or 4 seats each under Single Transferable Vote.

 

Perhaps the additional member FPTP system used for the Scottish Parliament would be the best option for the UK simply because it retains that familiar single member FPTP constituency, though they would obviously have to substantially increase in size (not quite double) in order to provide for the multi-member regional constituencies that provide the top-up allocation that pulls the total MP count back towards proportionality. 

 

No system is perfect, but both Single Transferable Vote and the Additional Member system are in use in Scotland, both produce far more proportional outcomes than pure FPTP, greatly reducing 'wasted votes' and in the case of STV removes safe seats and brought a wind of change to local government in much of Scotland. 

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Well this system certainly provided a bum deal for 2 out of 3 voters, and 4.5 million votes in exchange for 1 seat cannot be right. Any form of PR would have returned a fairer and more reflective result. The problem we have is that the 2 main parties are opposed to any form of PR because it doesn't help them, and of course any electoral reform needs them to vote for it which they are not going to do.

 

The public set out on Thursday to get a true multi party state but got a one party state, and of course the same is now true of Scotland, thats not democracy. What concerns me is the way forward?        

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Well this system certainly provided a bum deal for 2 out of 3 voters, and 4.5 million votes in exchange for 1 seat cannot be right. Any form of PR would have returned a fairer and more reflective result. The problem we have is that the 2 main parties are opposed to any form of PR because it doesn't help them, and of course any electoral reform needs them to vote for it which they are not going to do.

 

The public set out on Thursday to get a true multi party state but got a one party state, and of course the same is now true of Scotland, thats not democracy. What concerns me is the way forward?        

Exactly the FPTP system favours the big 2 and keeps the status quo of there either being a labour/conservative in power party virtually all the time..also as both parties are now so close together in terms of being centre left or centre right you end up with no real choice at all which makes it even more like a one party state.

 

So in reality neither the cons or lab are ever going to vote for a system that will effectively remove them both from power no matter how democratic it is.

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I think the Scottish system is decent, as you get both a constituency MSP and proportional representtive from the regional list. Not perfect, but far more democratic.

 

In addition to electoral reform, the UK also needs a small fully elected upper house with the Lords disbanded.

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Apparently the Scottish system wouldn't work for the UK as a whole as the number of MPs needed to replicate it would be far larger? Unsure if that's true.

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It's absolutely true that no system is perfect; but it's hard to find one less representative than FPTP. Putinesque 'democracy' excluded.

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Apparently the Scottish system wouldn't work for the UK as a whole as the number of MPs needed to replicate it would be far larger? Unsure if that's true.

 

I can't see why you couldn't replicate the Holyrood system across the UK whilst retaining a similar number of MPs. You'd have to increase the size of the constituencies to reduce the number of MPs elected from the constituency vote, leaving room for the MPs from the list vote. In Scotland currently...

 

73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies elected by the plurality ("first past the post") system, while a further 56 are returned from eight additional member regions, each electing seven MSPs.

 

Quite how you'd scale that across the whole of the UK I don't know.  The constituencies would need to be quite big, but then again  theoretically I have 8 MSPs currently representing me so shouldn't be short of somebody to pester if I ever need to.

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