June 30, 2005

Fixing our democracy

Posted in Democratising Britain at 6:44 pm by David Gould

Let’s first agree how our political system falls short of democracy:

1 Our FPTP system leaves us with a choice between the Opposition Leader and the PM whose 2 inner circle make all the decisions except the few which need to be approved by Parliament when 3 90% of MPs vote along party lines rather than for their constituents and 4 The makeup of the Commons isn’t proportional to the electorate’s voting nevermind 5 the electorate’s wishes.

Most commentators agree this is closer to an elected dictatorship than a democracy.

I’ve mentioned previously that the AV+ & STV electoral systems can fix 4, 5 and to some degree, 1.

3 is the trickiest to fix. Secret ballots would be infinitely better than what we have now but I think that ultimately the public should be able to find out how their MPs voted. I would approve secret ballots to be revealed when the election is announced after which the new MPs should vote on whether to return to open ballots.

That leaves 1 & 2 for which I also have a solution: get MPs to elect the Prime Minister and inner circle after the election. In the absence of the Blair & Howard show, elections would become much more focussed on issues and local candidates. The PM & inner circle would be elected on merit rather than loyalty to a party or leader. This system could prevent deals being made.

In other words, we get a choice (and with STV a wide choice) of candidates who WE trust to a) represent us locally as well as b) elect the leaders.

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