Should we change our electoral system?

  Monument 17:27 21 Feb 2007

There have been a fair number of posting on the subject of our political system of late.

It is a fact that the current government polled only 35.2% of the popular vote, equating to approximately 22% of the electorate based on the estimated turnout of 61.3%. click here

Can it therefore be said that we have a representative government?

How could the current system be improved so that either more of the electorate actually vote or that we have a more representative government.

This is not a political party issue or a comment on the current government, this is a question of how could we improve the current system.

  anskyber 17:46 21 Feb 2007

It's a call we always hear from those who do not see their favourite political party in power. There tends to be silence from those who "support" the Government of the day, whoever it might be.

Changing the electoral system is nearly always a euphemism for proportion representation, which in turn has not
been seen in a convincing example of such government that I know about. The obvious European example is Italy. Scarcely a model of effective and strong governance.

  Forum Editor 18:02 21 Feb 2007

well said.

I have been hearing about proportional representation ever since I was old enough to understand the words, yet we still haven't adopted the system. In the past we've had long and convoluted discussions on the subject, and if I've learnt anything it's that there are almost as many variations on the theme as there are electors.

  Mr Mistoffelees 18:07 21 Feb 2007

"equating to approximately 22% of the electorate based on the estimated turnout of 61.3%."

Well in my opinion the other 38.7% who were too lazy, or apathetic, to vote do not count. I think what we really need is compulsory voting.

  Kate B 18:10 21 Feb 2007

I'm not sure I agree with compulsory voting, though I do think that it's a pathetic shame that people don't vote when there are other people all over the world who are either denied a say in the decision on their government or who have fought long and hard for the right to do so.

Proportional representation is a deeply flawed system. First past the post is a long way from perfect but it's as good as we're going to get and I can't see any reason to change.

  WhiteTruckMan 19:43 21 Feb 2007

some people bleat on about us living in a democracy. At best you get a chance to have an insignificant say every few years about who you hope will make a go at running the country. After that-zip. Government(s) no longer trust the electorate to vote properly-in the governments opinion- about large scale issues that affect the very fabric of this nation-like surrendering powers and currency to brussels- in the form of a referendum. Another non democracy example is the fact that most people seem to accept the fact that when Tony steps down then thanks to a nod and a wink in the right place good old boy Gordon is going to step up to the crease. In true democracies its the custom to announce the election results AFTER the election!


  Jim Thing 19:47 21 Feb 2007

... a second column on the ballot paper in which anyone who felt strongly enough could vote AGAINST a candidate with whose policies they profoundly disagree? Admittedly each count would be prolonged because of the need to subtract 'against' votes from 'for' votes, but wouldn't the result be more representative?

...or how about providing a place on the form where the really disenchanted could cast their vote for 'none of the above'?

  Kate B 19:57 21 Feb 2007

WTM, you are not living on the same planet as the rest of us. Go to many other countries - Zimbabwe and Burma immediately spring to mind - and there is no semblance of a vote or democracy. I think we're profoundly lucky to live in the UK where we have democratic elections and a chance to influence the society we live in, from local council elections right up to parliamentary elections.

If you want to vote in the succession of leader in the Labour party, then join the Labour party.

  anskyber 20:03 21 Feb 2007

The whole point about Governments with a five year term is it gives them a chance to make some of the difficult decisions which do need to be made but which may not necessarily be popular.

Government is difficult and requires some strong and thoughtful individuals to carry it out. Without a mandate we will end up with soft and weak governance.

  DrScott 21:21 21 Feb 2007

that the next prime minister is not decided by a national vote, but rather as a party leader it is up to the party to decide. But I suppose that is what makes us have a prime minister rather than a president.

Would it be better for us to have a new prime minister every 4 or 8 years, in a similar vein to America? I don't know. However, it seems for every political party that stays in power longer than two terms, a great deal of corruption starts to seep in.

  anskyber 21:32 21 Feb 2007

The last Prime minister was not selected by a national vote and never has been. In our world where things are personalised and trivialised I hope we never see the American system here. After all, looking at some of the results of the US system it hardly shines as a beacon of democratic perfection.

Yes we look at leaders but it is the fixation with the cult of personality which lets our system down. Leaders can fall ill or die so it's the platform the parties stand on which is the important point, not a beauty contest US style. We elect an the basis of a given mandate to govern, whoever happens to lead or deliver the mandate.

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