Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First Past the Post

Electoral Reform

Key: FPPTP = First Past the Post; AMS = Additional Member System; SYV = Single Transferable Vote; JAV+ = Jenkins Alternate Vote Plus; PLS = Party List System; CC = Cellular Constituencies. For explanations of these systems, please read the electoral reform FAQ. For more information about electoral reform in general, visit the Electoral Reform Society or Make My Vote Count.

FPPTP 6
AMS 5
STV 5
JAV+ 3
PLS -21
CC -14


You should support: First Past the Post (FPTP). This is the system currently in place in the UK by which a single MP is elected from each constituency by simply getting the most votes. This system is simple to understand, familiar to the electorate and maintains a direct link between MPs and their constituencies. It also tends to deliver an overall majority to a single party. It is very poorly representative in terms of how the number of MPs a party receives relates to their share of the vote.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

(HT: NWW)

It doesn't really surprise me; I don't care much at all about the precise way the vote is determined, as long as it is stable and not changed lightly. I despise the Party List System, however, and any other mechanism in which parties are given an inflated importance, and fiercely dislike anyone who thinks that a vote actually counted can genuinely be wasted, as well as anyone who thinks that a system of election should be reformed merely because another system would have given them more power. They get my hackles up. At least, my passions are as intense on this matter as they ever are on politics; which is to say, my dislikings are always subject to my most intense passion about politics: bored impatience. I'm a little surprised that First Past the Post is quite so close to the others, though. I think it is a bad idea to talk about legislative representation as if the main thing were representation of votes at election time rather than representation of people all the time, so I think that people who fuss about the failure of a system to represent votes precisely (or, at least, precisely in the way they think they should be represented) are a little dangerous -- they haven't even figured out the first principle of legislative representation, yet want to go about tampering with things.

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