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What would it take to do away with the FPTP election system?
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:10:05 AM EST
The last Conservative Liberal coalition attempted it - at the insistence of the lib dems - but the effort was sabotaged by the Conservatives and opposed by Labour as it challenged their two party duopoly. I will leave it to Helen and others here closer to the action to comment on the campaigns, but to the outsider it just seemed like another successful attempt by the establishment to dupe the rubes...

The UK experience of running referenda really isn't that good... A lack of political awareness and education allied to the dominance of the Oligarch controlled media and a supine BBC doesn't help.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Largely like the brexit referendum, it was stupdly done for a stuid reason.

The LibDems were totally shafted by the tories during the coalition, t which they contributed 50 votes. Compare this with the vast cargoes of goodies the DUP seem to be able to extract almost at will for the grudging supply of 6 votes.

Camern deliberately chose the worst version of proportional representation, one that even the Libems found difficult to support and Labour were happy to reject. It was badly explained with the tory press gleefully supplying boilerplate condemnation of the very concept of PR. It never stood a chance and went down in flames.

I voted for it, not because I thought it was a good version of PR, but because it challenged the stasis inherent in the status quo. The biggest probem in the british electoral system is that most of the constituencies represent jobs for life. there is no chance, under FPTP, that they will ever change hands. Of 6oo+ constitencies, 50 changing hands is a landlside.

I still think Labour wre wrong to oppose it, but under the pathetic "leadership" of Ed Miliband I can't say I was surprised.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 09:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Step one is to agree on the replacement system. Unfortunately, with humans involved it is hard to come up with something satisfactory.
by asdf on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 03:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to say I love the Irish Single Transferable Vote multi-seat constituency system. It's quite complicated to understand completely but the level of voter understanding of its minor nuances is sometimes amazing and provides endless fascination for political and electoral nerds.

It's reasonably proportional although larger parties often do relatively better but minor parties and independents also have a fair chance of picking up seats. It encourages a more collaborative culture as more extremist candidates tend not to get a lot of transfers from other candidates.  

Some people criticise it for encouraging clientelism and overly rewarding candidates with strong local name recognition rather than more policy orientated national candidates, but for me it usually achieves a fine balance between keeping members of parliament connected with local people and issues while at the same time having to contribute to national debate.

List systems can be more directly proportionate but are very national party hierarchy orientated and don't encourage much engagement between candidates and local issues. Most people in Ireland will know at least one of their local Teachta Dála - members of parliament - and those I have known have often been fine people if limited in certain ways.

It's very unusual for any one party to get an overall majority, so coalitions are the norm, but that also forces people of different persuasions to work together. People used to FPTP and winner takes all systems say that almost as if its a bad thing - two much back-room wheeling and dealing but that for me is the essence of politics - finding negotiated settlements to conflicting interests.

In my view the system in Ireland has been instrumental in reducing the level of voter apathy and alienation from the political system so widespread in democratic societies world-wide. That and the fact that the people actually have a say in the make up of the Constitution, something which is less obvious in the case of the UK unwritten constitution.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 04:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it would be a far reach for the (still) UK to adopt an Irish voting system.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 05:44:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beneath it's dignity I would say, and far two complicated for the average English voter to understand. They do however seem to have gotten the hang of the simpler List system for European Parliament elections which even Brexit Party voters could understand - in rather large numbers, I might add.

Of Course the damned undemocratic EU won't be allowing the Brits to cast their votes in the EU Parliament elections any more after Brexit, or even allowing the UK Government to appoint a Commissioner. How will the EU possibly manage without their Brexit party MEPs to provide leadership, wisdom and guidance?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 06:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would suspect any real chance of electoral reform would require at least three successive badly hung Parliaments, with the larger parties losing hope of ever securing a parliamentary majority.

There have been times when the UK almost adopted STV/AV (1918), AV (1931) or AV (2011). Each time the moment was lost and the concrete of first past the post re-solidified.

by Gary J on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 06:58:56 PM EST
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