We need credible electoral systems

BobXX_0CcAALH_pThere is no such thing as a perfect electoral system. Our various elected representatives are currently elected under three different mechanisms. The dominant first past the post arrangement in use in local government and British Parliamentary elections, is at variance from the systems used to elect British MEPs and different again is the system used to elect Police and Crime Commissioners. In Scotland, Welsh or Irish Assembly elections other systems may also apply. No doubt there are examples of a poor outcome in various places under each of these systems. The table above clearly shows a dreadful outcome in Hackney under first past the post for their Council. Under all systems the Labour Party would be the strongest party running the Council, but it cannot be credible for the Greens with over 20% of the vote to have no seats, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democratic Parties have just 20% between them, yet share 7 of the 57 seats.

Along with the need for a change to the system by which people are elected to represent us, other changes are also needed. We have seen the abject failure by our current Government to reshape and reduce the size and cost of Parliament and the burgeoning second Chamber which continues to be an obscenity in the face of an economy that has led to nearly a Million people relying on foodbanks to get them through the year. A major change is needed yet our MPs and the ermine clad Lords and Ladies continue to show a resistance to any change to their own comfort and self importance. On top of the desperate need for reform of our national Government, there needs to be a review of local Government and its effectiveness, and even on the subject that all parties agree such as the reform of the European Parliament, it is the Political Parties alone that will be left to squabble over the sort of reform that they believe is needed.

The understanding that Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas (even UKIP MEP Turkeys) means that we need to find a new way of addressing these failures. At least in terms of a public debate that is able to press the Politicians to avoid telling us that because they once offered us a version of electoral reform that suited the outcome of their horsetrading, that nothing else can be considered for a generation. It is to be expected that the results in places like Hackney might always favour parties that have been here a long time, but all of the parties need to show that their commitment to the Borough extends to the 36,250 Green voters who have been entirely disenfranchised in this weeks contest.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We need credible electoral systems

  1. Valerie Paynter says:

    PR means voters only get to choose a party, as things stand. NOT TRULY DEMOCRATIC!

    It should be possible to make that choice, supplemented by a specific vote for a candidate which may not be that party’s preferred candidate.

    It is important to have a vote for individuals to try to keep some kind of ‘quality control’ in the hands of the voters and not delegated to the bosses of party political clubs.

    I was unwilling to delegate my vote to any party’s bosses, so spoilt my ballot for the first time ever.

    • ianchisnall says:

      I am certain that not all PR systems depend on the list system, which of course was chosen for us by a Political Party. My view is that we need some sort of Citizens Jury or similar to set the parameters under which we fight future elections and on what basis our representatives are remunerated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s