31 comments on “She would, wouldn’t she?

  1. Political scientists also argue for its merits in highly balkanised polities.

    As a smutty point of slight amusement, they refer to the fractures in these polities as ‘cleavages’.

    The deliberate elite-driven balkanisation of the Western world obviously has as one of its motives driving the state/elites to act as arbiter between warring factions. But I wonder if they foresaw also that PR would become viable or even necessary in a formerly majoritarian country such as this, and therefore that they foresaw those lovely endless revolving doors of the same parliamentarians populating a different cabinet every 10 months for the next 40 years.

  2. Exunctly…

    And it makes oi larf incredibly when pro-PR people say such mind-garglingly stupid things like “PR means there’s no such thing as tactical voting any more”. Hmmmm, funny. I lived in pure-PR NL for quite a while, and there were all manner of articles in magazines around election time on how to tactically vote to try to bring about the coalition you want to see…

  3. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. PR, AV, FPTP, all these mainstream electoral models are all equally good/bad compromises. And all have different advantages and disadvantages.

    And the people who like to push PR do so out of pure party interest – they expect to be the hinge party and hence the power broker in coalitions, able to wield power out of all proportion to the number of seats they have since they can bring the coalition down in a heartbeat. For them, what’s not to like?

  4. The UK held a referendum on PR and voted no. Amber Rudd seems to think that it is always a good idea to overturn the result of a referendum.

    Do I think that Amber Rudd should be hounded from public life and placed under house areest in an unsavoury bedsit in an insalubrious neighbourhood?

    Absolutely not.

  5. Another referendum result the venal political class wants to ignore.

    Though I’m not sure if there’s a PV system in existence which would still let Amber Rudd in.

  6. Tim is right. In my view, the only way in which a PR system works well is the Australian system which combines constituency based representation with a single transferable vote. In this way, the number of successful parties is limited. Australia essentially has a two party system, while retaining the benefits of constituency MPs.

  7. For those not aware of it, Arrow’s impossibility theorem is a result in applied mathematics demonstrating that a perfect voting system is impossible. The big problem with PR is that it rarely delivers a clear majority, so governments are decided by coalitions formed in secret discussions, with policies horse-traded while deals are done (we’ve now had a couple of recent examples of this in the UK, but with FPTP it’s much rarer than under PR systems).

    In the most recent German elections, the electorate moved decisively to the right, with the AfD the biggest winners, but the resulting coalition doesn’t reflect that.

  8. I like choice and I think it is good for me. A true PR system (not AV) would make it easier to chose between different parties without thinking if I vote x then y will win instead of z.
    In Germany new political parties can make a lot more progress than in the UK. We think this is good for supermarkets – why not for parties.
    Personally I don’t think she will like the result but it would be a good thing either way to have more choice.

  9. PR does not *always* result in a centrist coalition. In Israel it led to the extremist Shas Party having a stranglehold on the Likud minority government pushing it further and further to the “right” (an inappropriate term for a group that encouraged Jewish immigrants to steal land from Arabs in defiance of the curse in the Torah: “wrong” would be better).

  10. Amber let’s see how FPTP deals with this situation shall we before more constitutional tinkerbuggering?

    The 2 major parties both had a manifesto commitment to Brexit in 2017. I’m sure most thought that traumatic as the leave remain thng was, it was settled as a big question. We’re going to leave anyway, they’ve promised it, so let’s have a look at what else they want. Result: minority government.
    But what’s this? 2 years later. oh Brexit didn’t happen. Rumble Rumble, the techtonic plates start moving. Suddenly Brexit party erupts and its Ronseal approach gets 30% (thanks to PR).
    It was then a question of who blinks first? The Tories do and it becomes suddenly the Brexit do or die party.
    Emily “the art of the deal” Thornberry bumbles into the latest labour very EUesque policy of deal or no no deal, no 1st referendum but yes 2nd referendum.
    So, by a circuitous route no doubt, FPTP has actually set it up so that we have a real choice at the next election. The parties face extinction under the current system, so they change their approach. The next step is to have an election.

    Incidentally the Fixed term parliament act does need to be repealed. I say give that power back to a PM. We’re not saying that britain was not a democracy when he had that power. It was an advantage for the sitting government, but it doesn’t guarantee anything and we can now see that removing that safety valve makes constitutional crises even more likely and legal-y and convention breaking.

  11. My electorate is staunchly Labor. As you’ve guessed, I always vote LNP. The Labor party once decided to flaunt its liberal democratic pretensions, and made the requirement to add a preference to the ballot paper optional.

    So I strolled down to the polling place on the day, ignoring the numerous Labor and Green how-to-vote cards offered, until I finally found the sole LNP bloke. I looked at the card. ‘You don’t have to put a preference for everyone anymore, eh?’ ‘That’s right’, he said. ‘Oh, well. I hate them both anyway’ says I as I went off to vote.

    The Labor party actually lost some seats, because we rusted on, or should I say welded on LNP voters didn’t have to put Labor ahead of the Greens. It usually takes forever to get anything through the state parliament, but the bill to make preferential voting compulsory not optional passed with lightning speed.

  12. To be fair the previous voting system referendum was AV not PR.

    Still think it would be a disastrous change though as the rest of our system isn’t designed around it. Last few years shows just how badly it copes with hung parliaments, and that’s what we would be getting more of. Moreover the traditional minority government escape hatch – roll the dice on an election, see if we can get a majority this time – wouldn’t work so well as the new parliamentary arithmetic is likely to be going too.

  13. Before PR is even considered there are other things worth addressing first.

    Apply the reformed constituency boundaries to better equalise constituency sizes, cease postal voting on demand, move elections to weekends, term limits for politicians, a recall mechanism in the hands of constituents not Westminster, etc, etc.

  14. Term limits mean you slog your guts away for 18 years trying to kick the basterds out, and just as you finally manage it, term limits say “fuck off”.
    No.

  15. The perfect electoral system is the one which delivers the most seats for your political party. That’s the motivation. Politicians will lie and dress it up in guff about ‘fairness’ and other balls, but that is basically it.

  16. …”new parliamentary arithmetic is likely to be HUNG too”, sorry, autopredict.

    If we did bring in PR then I think the FTPA would have to go, among other things.

  17. @jgh

    OK already but AV schmavee. The referendum opted to retain FPTP and not to change for another system that would favour Nick Clegg’s horrible LibDems.

    + what Gareth said about a boundary review (which was the quid pro quo for Cameron agreeing to the -OK- AV referendum but which Clegg reneged on like the principled man he is), abolishing postal voting on demand and reforming/replacing the Electoral Commission.

  18. @Hallowed Be
    The FTPA can’t be repealed. That would be the end of elections because there’d be no way of calling for one. There was no statute about elections in the UK. It was all custom & practice. The FTPA drove a coach & horses through that so there’s no going back. You’d never get this or possibly any other parliament to legislate for what was. And after the recent bout of lawfare shows, any attempt by a PM to exercise previous rights would likely end up in the courts.
    Parliamentary democracy in the UK is truly fvcked for all time.

  19. I do wonder whether the UK might move over to something closer to the US system. Forming a government out of representative MPs isn’t a particularly good system. You end up with a whole parcel of MPs in the government’s pocket for career advantage. Ditto the front bench of the opposition. They don’t represent the interests of their constituents.
    I’d go for an elected government, a HoC to oversee it & possibly scrap the HoL altogether. A fixed four year cycle might be better too. But half the HoC standing for re-election every tow. If a government truly goes rogue, the HoC can put a crimp on it for the next two years.

  20. BiS-
    “You’d never get this or possibly any other parliament to legislate for what was.”

    Definitely not this Parliament. But if you repeal it you should be left with what went before. Its absurd that the government can be defeated several times on manifesto commitments and not have recourse to the peoples verdict via a general election. but even absurder to plunge the queen and the courts into all of this merde for the want of a , short notice maybe, but otherwise vanilla election which (thanks to FTTP) should sort it out.

    but you’re right… constitutional tinkerfingering tends not to get rolled back whatever the unforeseen consequences .

  21. The Australian system is no better than the UK system. There are still safe and marginal seats. If you’re in a safe seat your vote counts for nothing, if you’re in a marginal the party leaders will fly in promising all sorts of taxpayer funded sweeteners to buy your vote. The situation is made worse by compulsory voting which means that those who really don’t give a stuff will vote for whoever offers the biggest bribe.

    There have been senators elected with just a few tens of first preference votes, but who have got over the line because of tactical preference voting whereby the major parties try and ensure that the main opposition doesn’t get in.

    I don’t actually vote as I haven’t sold my birthright and become an Aussie bastard.

  22. I`m surprised and UKIP and presumably Brexit Party supporter likes the current system
    Seats for Farrage on 13%- NIL
    SNP on 2/3%- 51

    ?

  23. @Hallowed Be

    I have a dimly recollected feeling that if a piece of legislation removes a part of the royal prerogative but then gets repealed, that the previous prerogative powers do not get restored. But you could “simply” codify what the previous practice/convention was. Slightly tricky job that actually, there wasn’t even a hard rule in modern times for how long a government could go without an election for example (though I think most people would settle for five years, WW2 was deemed enough of an emergency to drag things out).

  24. Newms, given the assertiveness of your commentary, there’s an awful lot of things you don’t understand which, given your commentary, you ought.

    To put it another way, and assuming you’re right about the dire consequences you predict, you nevertheless do not understand what happened in 2016.

  25. Newmania,
    The SNP run in Scotland only, which does have something of an affect.

    The problem with Remainers is that they’re just too educated to understand anything.

  26. @Newmainia- Farage was on the yes side in the AV ref, but was ignored by the official campaign as they didn’t want anything to do with him.

  27. @ Newmania
    Part of that is due to Blair’s gerrymandering of constituency boundaries by fixing the terms of reference for the “independent” Boundary Commission to favour Labour-voting areas (including Scotland which was, at the time, overwhelmingly returning Labour MPs).

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