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Saturday, February 19, 2011

A first step reforms the electoral system needs

Nick Clegg launched the 'Yes to AV' campaign yesterday arguing that the referendum on 5th May provides a "once in a generation" opportunity to change politics for good.

He said: "People want more choice. People aren't engaged enough in politics and they don't feel they are in charge enough. The alternative vote system crucially preserves the constituency links, but, absolutely vitally, it makes politicians work harder for your vote and forces them to reach out to the voters, not just a narrow number of people in their own communities."

"Change in the way we do our politics come along once in a generation, whether it's the emancipation of women or giving the vote to millions of working people in this country - and they are always resisted, people always make very apocalyptic claims about what would happen.

"But over time people look back on these evolutionary changes and see it makes sense to upgrade our democracy from time to time."

The Alternative Vote does not go as far as I want it to go in terms of delivering a fully proportional voting system, but it is an important step forward. It will produce fairer outcomes than first past the post and, more importantly, it will mean that MPs will need to work harder and will be more accountable, because they will need to secure 50% of the vote to get elected. That is why it is important that we secure a 'yes' vote in May.
"... but, absolutely vitally, it makes politicians work harder for your vote and forces them to reach out to the voters..."

So the House of Lords politicians will be subject to voters wishes then?

It is outrageous that members of the House of Lords don't have to do anything to stay in the House of Lords and yet the populate the "upper chamber", the Senate if you will and they are not voted in by the people.
Yes I agree which is why the Government plan to bring in an elected second chamber.
about time... it is anti-democratic to have an upper chamber ('second chamber') where members are never voted directly in by the people. I often hear Brits claim this, that and the other thing about how the House and Senate works in Washington, DC, but they forget that all members of the Senate ('second chamber') have to face their constituents, with one third of Senators up for election every two years. For example, next year (2012) one third are up for election along with every member of the House (of Representatives).
"We will establish a committee to bring forward PROPOSALS for a wholly OR MAINLY elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation."

The Government's plan is in fact to ask for proposals and that's it.

Nick Clegg wants to change politics to embrace what he called a "miserable little compromise".

What do you mean by "fairer outcome"? AV does not necessarily give a more proportional result as Rallings and Thrasher have shown
I think that in this case the proposal on the House of Lords amounts to more than the sum of the words in it. There is a clear commitment to make significant progress on reform.

Rallings and Thrasher's analysis is based on a peculiar set of circumstances where, if voters only use their first preference then it is no different to FPTP. I think that is taking it to an extreme. Clearly, many voters will use other preferences as is evidenced where AV (and STV) is in use elsewhere.

I think you are misrepresenting them when you say that their claim is that AV does not necessarily give a more proportional result. All the scenarios I have seen are clear that the result is more proportional though it will not in itself be proportional.

That is good enbough for me to be able to claim that AV is a significant step forward.
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