Nick Clegg has been banging on about reforming the UK elctoral system now that it looks as if the LibDems will have a bit of clout in a hung parliament. Most of the systems being talked about sound a bit complicated to me — single transferable votes, party lists, additional member systems etc.
We have enough trouble getting people bothered enough to put a simple X against one name, let alone perming any three from six.
It set me thinking though and I’ve come up with a half-formed (or half-baked) idea that might just work. It goes something like this:
Instead of the first past the post system, let’s have say a third of the number of constituencies each electing three MPs. Each elector would still get one vote, but will have the choice of three or more candidates from each party. The three candidates with most votes get elected. The advantages as I see it are:
- Larger constituencies will be more representative of the wider electorate, ie fewer safe seats.
- The parties would have to make a judgment call as to how many candidates to put forward to make the most of the local vote — bid for all three or concentrate you support on one candidate?
- Even in a safe seat area, the chances are that you won’t be disenfranchised — if there is only one candidate for your chosen party then your X will be worth XXX.
- If you do have a choice of three candidates then you’re more likely to vote for someone you know and respect and not some party apparatchik.
- Given the above, the parties would have to choose their candidates well and forget about parachuting in someone no-one has heard of or risk the balance of votes tipping towards the candidate who actually does a good job.
- The Commons would be more representative without all the Daily Mail hysterics about us slipping into hung-parliament anarchy.
- And since most constituencies would be represented by MPs from different parties, there is just a chance that they might learn to work together for the commonwealth and not just score party political points when grandstanding at PMQs.
I wonder if I can copyright this idea before the Electoral Reform Society plagiarises it?