Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Voting Reform

Gordon Brown has said that he will hold a referendum in the next Parliament on whether to change the voting system.

If Labour are still in Government.

So it's a manifesto commitment.

Well, good. I would personally welcome electoral reform - I think our current system, 'First Past the Post', is outdated and unfair. There's a few of reasons for this opinion:

  1. Our voting system does not extend to the House of Lords, which is effectively appointed by the Prime Minister. We're in the 21st Century - it's time this was sorted;
  2. In 'First Past the Post', a candidate only requires a simple majority, i.e. more than the others, to win. To me, democracy should operate on the basis of absolute majority, i.e. more than 50%;
  3. Our constituencies are odd. Some more densely populated areas have the same number of MPs as lower populated areas, so some votes are worth more than others. I don't like rotten boroughs.

My personal preference would be for:
  1. Alternative Vote (AV) system in the House of Commons - this maintains the constituency link, but requires a candidate to have an absolute majority to win;
  2. An immediate redrawing of the constituency boundaries to account for population shifts, and provision for them to be redrawn for every election if necessary. Every vote should be worth the same;
  3. Proportional Representation (PR) in the House of Lords, with provision to ensure that the Government does not have an overall majority in the House.

 I wonder whether the Conservatives and/or Lib Dems will match this particular commitment by Labour?

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