Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Electoral reform in 2011?

This yesterday from Nick Robinson:
Senior ministers agreed today to propose an amendment to the Constitutional Renewal Bill to offer voters a referendum by the autumn of 2011 on scrapping Britain's "first past the post" system and replacing it with the "alternative vote" (AV) system. The cabinet is to be asked to approve the plan tomorrow, allowing Gordon Brown to unveil the idea in a speech he is delivering on political reform at lunchtime.
I'll post updates later today.

Initial thoughts:
  • The first past the post system condemns us to alternation between centrist, statist governments; I don't want to vote Conservative, but I feel I must in order to get rid of Labour. AV would be a step in the right direction; it would allow the strength of true alternatives to be felt.
  • True proportional representation is desirable at some level, probably for an elected upper house.
  • The Parliament Act remains problematic
  • On the other hand, the supremacy of the House of Commons is probably the only route to radical reduction in the size of government.
  • Currently, freedom-minded people can only get into this position of supreme power by deceiving the electorate (pretending to be more centrist than they are).
  • Any kind of democracy can degrade into tyranny of the subservient; if we ever achieve small government, we'll need to ensure it can't be swept away by a simple majority, lured by the pork barrel.
There are lots of alternative voting systems, of course, and they all have pros and cons. It'll be interesting to see what the blogosphere and the mainstream media make of this proposal.

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