Tag Archive for Democracy

AV or not AV? That is the question.

The answer is “Yes”. And a kick in my shins for such a ter­ri­ble joke.

Let’s digress for a minute. In truth, I am a sup­porter of the Sin­gle Trans­ferrable Vote. My ideal vot­ing sys­tem is one that is pro­por­tional (i.e., a party with 20% of the vote should get 20% of the seats) and rep­re­sen­ta­tive (each leg­is­la­tor is answer­able to a dis­tinct group of peo­ple, hope­fully a local com­mu­nity). But more on that in a few posts time; this is about AV.

AV is not my desired sys­tem, but it’s a good one nonethe­less. It’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and does mean that half the vot­ers of a con­stituency will def­i­nitely pre­fer him over another can­di­date. True, it’s not pro­por­tional, but it makes it eas­ier to change to a pro­por­tional sys­tem: for STV, by merg­ing five con­stituen­cies into one five-MP con­stituency; for AMS, the top-up sys­tem works in tan­dem. And one of the big rea­sons I want a change in the sys­tem is where par­ties other than the Tories and Labour became more pop­u­lar, but lost seats (or didn’t get any). Such a sit­u­a­tion should be untenable.

Let’s go through No2AV’s argu­ments, shall we? » Read more..

e-Petitions: bad for democracy?

So, the Coali­tion have announced the return of the e-Petitions sys­tem pre­vi­ously in effect under Blair and Brown, with one clear change: peti­tions will be more read­ily be debated by Par­lia­ment. This is touted as a wel­come change, where very few, if any, peti­tions under Labour actu­ally changed gov­ern­ment pol­icy. The most notable one that did was a 2-million strong peti­tion against the pro­posed sys­tem of road pric­ing in 2007, where Blair changed from “we sup­port this” to “we still sup­port it but we admit we’re not going to enforce it”. But with any sort of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion like this, it often falls by the way­side because of peo­ple being just unin­formed on issues, such as a 250,000-strong peti­tion to oppose a sup­posed “mega-mosque” in the Lon­don Bor­ough of Newham that hadn’t even been pro­posed. And then there are the silly ones, like a 50,000-strong peti­tion to make Top Gear host Jeremy Clark­son the Prime Min­is­ter. Under the pro­posed rules, Par­lia­ment would prob­a­bly have been forced to debate the lat­ter two with a hard and fast rule of 100,000-supporters-means-debate-in-Parliament, wast­ing time that should’ve been spent pass­ing actual laws. » Read more..

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