Proportional Representation, Yawn?

A friendly natter about big minority politics.

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Paul
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Proportional Representation, Yawn?

Post by Paul » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:03 pm

In 2011 the UK held a referendum on adopting a PR voting system for general elections. About a third voted in favour. Yet studies show that more than a third, experts and electorate, feel the current system doesn't work. In principle there is indeed popular support for some form of proportional representation. But not for the form of PR proposed. Even its supporters had doubts and their campaign seemed badly managed.

The referendum proposed a type of "transferable vote" system. This and party lists are the two main types of PR system implemented in various contexts in the UK and around the world.

I am a supporter of PR in principle. But party lists seem undemocratic, and a bad choice for MPs who are also representing an area. Transferable votes seem a complicated fudge, both for the voter and for those who oversee and manage such a system. And arguably it leads to voters choosing between parties rather than people when listing preferences.

There have been many articles on the likely changes to election results if there were a PR system. A BBC article reported that UKIP supporters are twice as likely to put Conservative as their second choice compared to Labour. And this kind of point crops up all the time, over and over, like its the only way it could be done so lets beat the idea to death.

I strongly disagree with UKIP policy. Nevertheless, UKIP should have a fair number of MPs and their supporters shouldn't need to settle for second or third best. And anyway what's the difference? For the supporter of a smaller party, FPTP will return an MP they didn't want and didn't vote for, whilst transferable votes will return an MP they didn't want but had to vote for.

A more proportionate representation of opinion is surely a must. I do not believe that such a system is necessarily unstable, or encourages extreme policies. On the contrary. And extreme policies are arguably more likely when groups of people are effectively disenfranchised.

The greatest strength of FPTP is its simplicity. This is where I would start when considering the type of PR we need. A single vote for a single candidate who might serve as an MP in the area. And any candidate with a large number of votes (whatever "large" might mean) should surely always be elected as an MP. Simple yes?

So here we invite Ms Smith (advocate) and Mr Jones (critic) to argue the issue over a pint or three at the local.

J:
Simple? Not simple at all. Who gets elected?

S:
Any that get more than the threshold.

J:
Eh? So you could have more than one MP for an area?

S:
Yes you could. Voters would have more choice over who to contact on local issues. And more likely a voter will have a clear representative in parliament.

J:
That's not realistic, we will have thousands of MPs...

S:
Yes, boundaries would need changing, but there are existing models for this and it won't be so difficult to avoid silly numbers of MPs.

J:
Okay, suppose that is workable, there is still a serious problem. Some MPs will have lots of support, other's maybe much less, but they all have one vote. That's a recipe for extremism.

S:
Ah, I was coming to that, and the main difference between this type of PR and other types.

Instead of the backroom deals of party lists, or complicated ways to choose our MPs, we change the way MPs vote in parliament. MPs are smart enough, this is their expertise, they can deal with a bit of extra complexity....

J:
...hang on, what are you waffling on about? How can we change the way MPs vote?...

S:
...each MP gets not one vote, but exactly the number of votes they received in the election...

J:
...wtf!...

S:
...yes :-). So, any candidate getting more than the threshold, gets elected and their vote carries the weight of all those who voted for them. Also, if the combined vote of those who didn't get elected exceeds the threshold, then those candidates choose an additional MP from between them, using exactly the same system where each candidate's vote carries the weight of their supporters.

J:
...sounds like a lefty idea, must have been tried and failed already...

S:
In a way yes, but I'm totally rat-faced now...must get home for dinner, see you later.


Mr Jones and Ms Smith will return....



byronred
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Proportional Representation Yawn

Post by byronred » Sat May 04, 2019 12:56 am

Which province do you live in again?

Anyway, I think Proportional Representation makes sense if youre going to have party-based politics which seems to be inevitable. Gives voices to minor parties who otherwise would be shut out.
https://thefreehreportonpsu.com/male-extra-review/

byronred
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Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Norway
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Post approved Proportional Representation Yawn Sat May 04 2019 2 47 pm

Post by byronred » Sun May 12, 2019 11:40 pm

cracks knuckles

Looks like its time for me to post some new topics, huh. Im looking forward to this.
https://thefreehreportonpsu.com/male-extra-review/

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