Sunday, 9 May 2010

Post election thoughts 2 - Proportional representation

I have been asked if I support PR. The answer is a very firm no. And before it is said that first past the post has suited me in this election I would remind you that I had to suffer the dreadful Thatcher years because of this system but during that time I cannot ever recall arguing for a change in the voting system. We live in a democracy and we have to respect what the people have decided through the ballot box. I think this present result is an excellent indication of the mood of the people - a plague on all your houses and we do not really trust one single party to govern this country.

First past the post is clean and usually gives a clear result. What is happening now between Clegg, Cameron and perhaps Brown in due course is normal in Europe where PR is the norm - it can take up to a month to form a Government and there will be a lot of fudging of policies which the electorate may not have voted for.

I also believe that any voting system must be understandable to ordinary people. I invite readers of this blog to explain to me how the Euro election results were arrived at - and while you are at it please explain the Duckworth Lewis method of deciding a cricket matched affected by rain.

They say that PR will give the people better representation. Can I remind you that one of your Euro MPs is BNP leader Nick Griffin who was elected purely because of a totally incomprehensible PR system used in the Euro elections. There is not one poll I have seen since which has convinced me that his party has amassed enough votes to warrant a seat in Europe on any basis - it was only elected because of PR.

There is another system of PR which requires the winner to have 50% of the vote. On the ballot paper the voter will number the candidates in order of his/her preference. If the candidate with the most votes does not have 50% of the votes cast then the candidate who is last will drop out, his/her votes will be looked at again and the second preference will be allocated to the other candidates. This will be repeated until one candidate has 50% of the total vote. In this system who can tell whether I would have won or not because nobody can say which candidate the voters would have chosen as second.

The only qualification I will make to my stand on this issue is that if a referendum is held and the people support PR then naturally I will go along with their decision.

1 comment:

crossbencher said...

So we do agree on something!!PR will be a disaster. We now have the situation nationally of the smallest of the three main parties holding the whip hand. This after years of crying they are not getting, representation propotional to the popular vote. They are liable to get a far greater representation than the popular vote, something not quite right there methinks.
I now look forward to the six Ashton/Bryn councillors working together for the good of OUR TOWN.
As a supporter of the independent idea I must ask the question, I might add a true supporter, "Is the idea of an independent group an oxymoron?"