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First Past The Post or Proportional Representation? watch

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    (Original post by Silly Goose)
    But it still doesn't change the fact that the actual formation of Coalitions is completely out of the hands of the electorate. Had the Lib Dems gotten enough seats so that it would have been possible to make a (non-rainbow) Coalition with Labour, chances are that they would have done so despite the distinct rejection of Labour from the electorate. I strongly dislike the idea of the Lib Dems being the perpetual king-makers.

    FPTP doesn't tackle this problem either, but it does make it occur much less often. I just personally think that the above problem is a worse betrayal to democracy than the "tyranny of democracy" as you call it, though I openly admit that this is a matter of opinion.
    So have a 2-stage election, one where the parties are elected to Parliament, and another where formal coalition proposals made in a fortnight or month long period period are voted upon. The election of government could be done through AV.

    There - the ability to kick out government easily, proportionality, local links, transparency (if local primaries were incorporated and recall is instituted) . . . what more do you want? :dontknow:

    Also, as is demonstrated in EU elections, which are are classically proportional using the D'Hondt method, people do not vote in proportional elections as they do in FPTP elections. The Greens, BNP and UKIP have seats.
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    I think FPTP is the best system, although it is flawed.

    I don't think STV is a good system. Why should one voter's second preference possibly have equal value to another's first?

    Also, say the quota for a constituency was 50,000 and Labour got 75,000 votes. 25,000 votes have to be redistributed according to second preference... so how do you choose which ones to redistribute? It's a lottery - with one selection of 25,000 the Tories could win a seat, with another the Lib Dems could.

    AV is even worse (and isn't even a system of PR) and I REALLY hope it doesn't get passed.
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    (Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
    So have a 2-stage election, one where the parties are elected to Parliament, and another where formal coalition proposals made in a fortnight or month long period period are voted upon. The election of government could be done through AV.

    There - the ability to kick out government easily, proportionality, local links, transparency (if local primaries were incorporated and recall is instituted) . . . what more do you want? :dontknow:
    Excellent. A bit complicated and time consuming, but easily better than the other alternatives.
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    (Original post by xStaceyy)
    Hello folks.
    I've been thinking recently about the voting system currently and have been hearing the opinions of my peers and those in my politics lectures about it.
    I just want to know which system you think is the best for the UK.
    Personally, I believe that we would benefit more from a PR system to be honest rather than the current FPTP. Surely the country would be more democratic if the votes cast reflected the number of seats gained?
    I want to hear you opinions and disagreements.
    Quote me with your answer or I might forget
    PR has a lot of issues - the top of the lists for the major parties will be completely unremoveable (as long as the Lib Dems for example got just enough seats to get one MP, Nick Clegg would be completely unaccountable). You've also not explained why becoming more democratic is necessarily a good thing. I mean yes, democracy is the least crap system that's been tried, but that doesn't mean that becoming more democratic is automatically a good thing for this country.
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    (Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
    So have a 2-stage election, one where the parties are elected to Parliament, and another where formal coalition proposals made in a fortnight or month long period period are voted upon. The election of government could be done through AV.

    There - the ability to kick out government easily, proportionality, local links, transparency (if local primaries were incorporated and recall is instituted) . . . what more do you want? :dontknow:

    Also, as is demonstrated in EU elections, which are are classically proportional using the D'Hondt method, people do not vote in proportional elections as they do in FPTP elections. The Greens, BNP and UKIP have seats.
    Hmm...well one problem is that it would then become morally questionable in the eyes of many for the Commons to later on pass a vote of no-confidence on the ministry. The ministry could turn to the 'approval' vote (so to speak) and claim that Parliament is defying the will of the people by seeking to dismiss the government.

    Also, what if the public reject the coalition deal presented? For example, if they were sufficiently horrified by a Lib/Con alliance but the Lib Dems and Labour just couldn't come to an agreement, preventing the endorsement of any majority coalition?
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    (Original post by milkytea)
    I don't think STV is a good system. Why should one voter's second preference possibly have equal value to another's first?
    Because the first voter's first choice has zero value if their preferred candidate is eliminated.

    (Original post by milkytea)
    Also, say the quota for a constituency was 50,000 and Labour got 75,000 votes. 25,000 votes have to be redistributed according to second preference... so how do you choose which ones to redistribute? It's a lottery - with one selection of 25,000 the Tories could win a seat, with another the Lib Dems could.
    As far as I understand it, most systems dictate that in that situation all of the 75,000 second preference votes are redistributed but given a weighting to reflect the amount of "extra" votes. The higher number of "extra" votes, the higher the weighting. If there was only one "extra" vote, the weightings would be so low as to be effectively zero. Fair enough for you?
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    Just think about how Germany coped with PR, and then think again. There are just too many flaws with the system.
    I agree in THEORY, but there would have to be some kind of limit to the amount of control that each party would have.
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    (Original post by majikthise)
    Because the first voter's first choice has zero value if their preferred candidate is eliminated.


    As far as I understand it, most systems dictate that in that situation all of the 75,000 second preference votes are redistributed but given a weighting to reflect the amount of "extra" votes. The higher number of "extra" votes, the higher the weighting. If there was only one "extra" vote, the weightings would be so low as to be effectively zero. Fair enough for you?
    OK, fair enough.. and then we have the problem of multi-member constituencies (what if they are unwilling to co-operate to make decisions that affected their constituents?) and does the representative who gained a large excess of first preference of the votes have an equal status to the representative who scraped in with second or third preferences?

    Coalition governments (which are far more probable under PR) also cause difficulties, as others have pointed out.
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    (Original post by Silly Goose)
    Could you explain the bolded again? I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say.
    Ha, I thought to myself when I posted it I had worded it quite poorly.

    What I mean is, my vote effectively is not worth as much as someone who lives in a minority seat. Whoever I vote for is neither going to affect the constituent MP or affect the overall result, as is the same in all safe seats around the UK.

    However, someone who lives in an area where 2 MP's are very closely matched - their vote could make a difference and could therefore affect the final result.

    Don't get me wrong - I can take the Tory MP being the local MP as that is what the area wants and I've got to respect that. What I don't like is the fact that because my vote doesn't matter in this - it doesn't matter at all. That, to me, is not democracy - as only half the country actually get a say.
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    (Original post by Gemma :)!)
    Just think about how Germany coped with PR, and then think again. There are just too many flaws with the system.
    I agree in THEORY, but there would have to be some kind of limit to the amount of control that each party would have.
    Germany has PR (well, a form of it) today and does fine. In fact they've had fewer changes in ministry post-war than the UK.
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    It's gotta be single member and it's gotta be one person one vote. My reasons are that MPs should be individually accountable and easily removable - under PR that is much more difficult. And I find this "top up member" system that's used in Wales and Scotland utterly bizarre and undemocratic. How can someone who was elected by a constitutency sit alongside and on the same terms with someone who mopped up leftover party votes?

    Only two systems support those demands: FPTP and AV.

    AV elects the least disliked (the most worthless votes for the most worthless candidates, said Churchill) whereas FPTP elects the most liked. Out of those choices I prefer FPTP.
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    (Original post by Craiky1506)
    Ha, I thought to myself when I posted it I had worded it quite poorly.

    What I mean is, my vote effectively is not worth as much as someone who lives in a minority seat. Whoever I vote for is neither going to affect the constituent MP or affect the overall result, as is the same in all safe seats around the UK.

    However, someone who lives in an area where 2 MP's are very closely matched - their vote could make a difference and could therefore affect the final result.

    Don't get me wrong - I can take the Tory MP being the local MP as that is what the area wants and I've got to respect that. What I don't like is the fact that because my vote doesn't matter in this - it doesn't matter at all. That, to me, is not democracy - as only half the country actually get a say.
    To be honest, even if you are in a minority seat, your vote doesn't really 'matter' unless the party you voted for wins by a single vote. Your vote isn't really going to 'matter' much more in another electoral system, anyway. All it would do is make people feel like it matters (which is a good thing for getting people to vote, but not really a massive advantage overall).
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    (Original post by Silly Goose)
    To be honest, even if you are in a minority seat, your vote doesn't really 'matter' unless the party you voted for wins by a single vote. Your vote isn't really going to 'matter' much more in another electoral system, anyway. All it would do is make people feel like it matters (which is a good thing for getting people to vote, but not really a massive advantage overall).
    So the true answer is there is no such thing as democracy.
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    (Original post by milkytea)
    OK, fair enough.. and then we have the problem of multi-member constituencies (what if they are unwilling to co-operate to make decisions that affected their constituents?) and does the representative who gained a large excess of first preference of the votes have an equal status to the representative who scraped in with second or third preferences?

    Coalition governments (which are far more probable under PR) also cause difficulties, as others have pointed out.
    Interesting concerns, you're right in that it's currently unclear exactly how well constituencies would manage a switch to multi-member. Is it too optimistic to hope that under PR, cooperation and consensus as a whole would play a bigger part in government and this would be reflected at the local level? Perhaps, but you never know. As for coalition governments causing difficulties, I'll simply echo what others have said about "look at Europe!".

    I'm curious as to your misgivings re: AV, though? As previously admitted, your arguments (and others) against various forms of PR make sense (even though I personally believe they are outweighed by the benefits), but I still don't see any against AV beyond "it's not proportional enough!".

    edit: ah, just saw the "least disliked" argument a few posts up. I counter that if two thirds of the electorate despise candidate A and are perfectly happy with either of three broadly similar candidates B, C and D, and the remaining third all vote for A, is it fair that A should win? If the policies of B, C and D are similar, then we basically have two thirds of the electorate voting for the set of policies that loses.
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    (Original post by majikthise)
    Interesting concerns, you're right in that it's currently unclear exactly how well constituencies would manage a switch to multi-member. Is it too optimistic to hope that under PR, cooperation and consensus as a whole would play a bigger part in government and this would be reflected at the local level? Perhaps, but you never know. As for coalition governments causing difficulties, I'll simply echo what others have said about "look at Europe!".

    I'm curious as to your misgivings re: AV, though? As previously admitted, your arguments (and others) against various forms of PR make sense (even though I personally believe they are outweighed by the benefits), but I still don't see any against AV beyond "it's not proportional enough!".
    Obviously there are advantages to PR, yeah, I just think that all of these problems make it slightly unfeasible, when you look at it realistically. However, I do think that the Lib Dems have a right to be angry that they only got 2million less votes than Labour, yet got 200 less seats. No system is going to be perfect, though.

    AV? Well, here is my problem with it: it places far too much importance on the 50% figure. Why is 50% important or significant, except for in a two-party system?

    Consider scenario: Conservative candidate receives 48% of the vote in his constituency. Labour receives 30%, Lib Dem gets 20%. The Conservative did not reach the required level of votes, so eventually the Lib Dem second preferences are counted. The majority of Lib Dem's second preference is Labour... so the Labour candidate wins. Is that fair? No, it is far more disproportionate than FPTP. In my eyes, 48% is easily enough to justify a mandate to govern, in a system with many parties.
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    PR, its more democratic as it more closely reflects how the public voted
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    (Original post by milkytea)
    AV? Well, here is my problem with it: it places far too much importance on the 50% figure. Why is 50% important or significant, except for in a two-party system?

    Consider scenario: Conservative candidate receives 48% of the vote in his constituency. Labour receives 30%, Lib Dem gets 20%. The Conservative did not reach the required level of votes, so eventually the Lib Dem second preferences are counted. The majority of Lib Dem's second preference is Labour... so the Labour candidate wins. Is that fair? No, it is far more disproportionate than FPTP. In my eyes, 48% is easily enough to justify a mandate to govern, in a system with many parties.
    That scenario would never ever deliver a Labour victory in reality. Of the remaining 22% of the electorate that didn't vote Tory or Labour, only 1 out of 10 would have to had put Conservative as their second preference to tip them over the edge. Whilst the majority of those votes may indeed go to Labour, it wouldn't be anywhere near as much as the number required.

    The 50% figure is important because there is no method for redistribution that can always return a winner without involving the number 50% somewhere. Can you think of one?

    edit: fumbled the numbers, fix'd.
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    Ams > Stv > Fptp > Av
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    (Original post by majikthise)
    That scenario would never ever deliver a Labour victory in reality. Of the remaining 22% of the electorate that didn't vote Tory or Labour, only 1 out of 10 would have to had put Conservative as their second preference to tip them over the edge. Whilst the majority of those votes may indeed go to Labour, it wouldn't be anywhere near as much as the number required.

    The 50% figure is important because there is no method for redistribution that can always return a winner without involving the number 50% somewhere. Can you think of one?

    edit: fumbled the numbers, fix'd.
    It is unlikely, true, but the fact remains that there is an outside chance for extremely disproportionate results with AV. Again, there is the problem that one voter's second preference can end up being as powerful as another voter's first preference, which is unfair.

    I don't see the importance of the 50% figure. If a candidate receives 40% of the vote, for example, and other parties only get around 20%, then if the person who got 40% is controversial he may not have many second preference votes, and therefore loses out. Yet they received twice the amount of first preference votes than the others.

    This might also lead politicians to tone down all their policies even further, so they can try to at least win second or third preferences. Which would lead to backwardness.
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    (Original post by milkytea)
    It is unlikely, true, but the fact remains that there is an outside chance for extremely disproportionate results with AV. Again, there is the problem that one voter's second preference can end up being as powerful as another voter's first preference, which is unfair.

    I don't see the importance of the 50% figure. If a candidate receives 40% of the vote, for example, and other parties only get around 20%, then if the person who got 40% is controversial he may not have many second preference votes, and therefore loses out. Yet they received twice the amount of first preference votes than the others.

    This might also lead politicians to tone down all their policies even further, so they can try to at least win second or third preferences. Which would lead to backwardness.
    I'd argue that if no second preference votes whatsoever went to the Tories in that scenario, then that is enough evidence for there being a wide enough difference between the two camps for it to be treated as "Tories vs. Everyone Else". In that case if the "Everyone Else" crowd clinches it 52 to 48, then the best candidate from the "Everyone Else" crowd should be elected (i.e. Labour).

    Perhaps there is some toning down mechanic at work where candidates don't want to offend those outside of their base, but contrary to this there is also the effect of more radical/progressive views getting first preference votes from people who otherwise may have voted for a pedestrian, lesser-of-two evils type candidate.

    Either way, I find analysing voting systems to be a bloody interesting and complex set of problems- or am I just a nerd?
 
 
 
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