Hello Vino

Tiberius Gracchus has linked me to a mutual friend's new blog, so hello to the aptly-named Vino's Political Blog.

One of his posts is on PR. He does seem to be leaning towards a majoritarian, FPTP system. I understand the argument, but I disagree with it. He critcises PR for not giving a strong government, but ends it with
STV has the same problems and, additionally, since many voters do not preference
more than 3 or 4 candidates, it is very difficult to operate in constituencies
much larger than 3, 4 or 5 seats [hence the Irish parliament, elected by STV,
does not use constituencies larger than 5]. Such small constituency sizes also
damage proportionality since, effectively, there is a very high threshold before
parties than gain representation.

This is no bad thing. I do often say that process is, a priori, important, but I allow a posteriori concerns when it keeps out the BNP. Equally, it means that a party could be effectively as strong as one now, but dependent on a minority partner for its position. The minority partner has an interest (to put it in those terms) in keeping its core vote and, as the Lib Dems tend to caucus on these issues with the Tories, it would likely be, say, the SDLP. This would stop some of the more egregious Labour policies of late, notably the Iraq war and certain foreign policy positions more generally.

Equally, a 5-member constituency allows for proportionality without succumbing to the problems of the Weimar republic. It would track votes more closely while still representing constituency interests and not breaking, as would be the case in a single-constituency/national party list system, the constituency link or handing excess power to the party. It also has the advantage of encouraging local participation. At the moment, a long-serving or well-regarded local MP has very little risk of de-selection, effectively knocking that seat out of contention for candidates within that party. The system suggested would allow people to stand in their own seat with a decent chance of winning, meaning that there would be less parachuting.

I am aware that it could be a nationalist party. I am not sure of my opinions on nationalism, but Plaid Cymru or potentially Mebyon Kernow would be less objectionable than the SNP.

Anyway - welcome, Vino, to the blogosphere.


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