Should we have an Electoral Reform?

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Poll: Should we have Electoral Reform for General Elections in the UK?
No, Keep First Past the Post (5)
26.32%
Yes, Change to Proportional Representation (14)
73.68%
Yes, Change to AV (0)
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PetrosAC
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I believe we should have an electoral reform as we have a multi-party system rather than a two-party system, and Proportional Representation is a better system to use than First Past the Post.
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DJKL
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(Original post by PetrosAC)
I believe we should have an electoral reform as we have a multi-party system rather than a two-party system, and Proportional Representation is a better system to use than First Past the Post.
How many attempts do you want?
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PetrosAC
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I just think it's an interesting subject to debate, because our current system clearly isn't working.
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A1112787
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(Original post by PetrosAC)
I just think it's an interesting subject to debate, because our current system clearly isn't working.
I'd say keep FPTP for a few reasons, most importantly that the entire political system of the UK is built upon having decisive government. This Coalition has been a very successful one, but imagine a coalition of 4-5 or more parties - it would simply be impractical.

Personally, the key issue that needs to be rectified is that of constituency boundaries, as they give Labour an unfair advantage and are therefore undemocratic. Redraw the boundaries and allow this tide of unsatisfaction with the main parties to blow over (just like it came and went in the late '70s and early '80s).
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Jammy Duel
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One of the issues I have with the main alternatives is that it would lead to a horrible 5 years where the parties with the power will be the ones that have impractical, populist policies. Hopefully that would be long enough for people to learn not to vote for them, I also wouldn't be surprised if we started trending towards the [very] old days where you had two main parties with that vast majority of the votes and then we're basically back where we started, although admittedly still somewhat better in that we won't have the lib dems ****ing things up.
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Rakas21
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Previously I did support PR because I felt it was highly unfair for the third party to have so few seats.

Ukip's rise however has given me a new appreciation for FPTP as I see that it really makes parties have to work for multiple seats and is an excellent way of keeping extreme parties from getting a handful of unimportant seats.

So FPTP.
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Teaddict
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Previously I did support PR because I felt it was highly unfair for the third party to have so few seats.

Ukip's rise however has given me a new appreciation for FPTP as I see that it really makes parties have to work for multiple seats and is an excellent way of keeping extreme parties from getting a handful of unimportant seats.

So FPTP.
Single member plurality systems need not be the only systems that prevent extremist parties. Most European proportional systems either have a legal or effective electoral barrier to extremist parties. In Germany, for example, you need to get at least 5% of the votes to gain any representation at all. If you achieve over 5% of the vote, then one could surely argue you are big enough to deserve seats?

For comparison, the effective number in the UK is about 30%.
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JPBScotland
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Yeah, we should change it. There might be problems with other ones, but simply put, FPTP isn't fair. Smaller parties just don't get enough representation. It's ridiculous that UKIP could end up with a solid 15% of the vote, but get only a very small number of seats from that.
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RF_PineMarten
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Yes we should have a proportional system.

PR does not keep "extremists" out, it keeps protest parties out even if that party has the support of a significant minority of the population. FPTP makes it nearly impossible for protest voting to have an effect - and surely the whole point of voting is to protest? PR would make protest voting more viable and force the major parties to be more accountable to the public because it is much easier for them to lose seats.

If a protest party gains enough seats in a PR system to form a coalition, then surely that is overwhelmingly the fault of the main parties for ignoring the concerns of voters? Surely it is their fault for ignoring this protest vote and encouraging it to grow by not acting on those concerns, rather than the fault of the voting system through which that protest was expressed?
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Teaddict)
Single member plurality systems need not be the only systems that prevent extremist parties. Most European proportional systems either have a legal or effective electoral barrier to extremist parties. In Germany, for example, you need to get at least 5% of the votes to gain any representation at all. If you achieve over 5% of the vote, then one could surely argue you are big enough to deserve seats?

For comparison, the effective number in the UK is about 30%.
I think i'm rather happy with our 30% number.

While Ukip's manifesto was not extremist in the BNP sense (and as a conservative there were certainly things i liked) it was at the fringe of the current consensus on the right and indeed health insurance and death penalty support were mentioned in the last few years from the Ukip leadership. Now had we have had the 5% wall in Germany, it's very possible that Ukip could have been elected on that platform (rightly or wrongly). However, if we look at 2014 what we've seen is a marked moderation from Ukip, their pre-manifesto is pretty much just a tad right of the Tories and they've dropped the aforementioned policies. They have in essence moved towards the current consensus in order to find more votes and get over the FPTP line and indeed while i can't say it's correlated, they did get 39% in Heywood.

Now what i've said could be a bad thing if you want radical policies and indeed some would argue that forcing the main parties into one consensus is a bad thing (though post war we saw similar and there's nothing stopping Labour trying to be an actual socialist party) but i rather like the stability that i think FPTP has helped to generate and i'm somewhat consoled by the notion that FPTP has given Ukip an incentive to moderate if they do get elected as opposed to acting like the Tea Party.

Now of course we could have PR just with a massive barrier like that (would probably have to be about 20% actually to generate 3 party politics which i consider healthier than two proportional or not) but i'm inclined to let my more conservative side win out here and support the preservation of the status-quo in terms of electoral systems.
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James Milibanter
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#11
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(Original post by A1112787)
I'd say keep FPTP for a few reasons, most importantly that the entire political system of the UK is built upon having decisive government. This Coalition has been a very successful one, but imagine a coalition of 4-5 or more parties - it would simply be impractical.

Personally, the key issue that needs to be rectified is that of constituency boundaries, as they give Labour an unfair advantage and are therefore undemocratic. Redraw the boundaries and allow this tide of unsatisfaction with the main parties to blow over (just like it came and went in the late '70s and early '80s).
I would say *******s to that. In 2010, despite gaining a large number of votes the Liberal Democrats lost 7 seats. They require 111,000 votes to gain a seat in parliament compared to around 20,000-25,000 for the Labour Party and the Conservatives. The FPTP system is unbelievably undemocratic and with the rise of UKIP, Green and the several nationalist parties it is clear that "the strong government" argument is flying out the window.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by James Milibanter)
I would say *******s to that. In 2010, despite gaining a large number of votes the Liberal Democrats lost 7 seats. They require 111,000 votes to gain a seat in parliament compared to around 20,000-25,000 for the Labour Party and the Conservatives.
How exactly are these figures derived, because they sound like they're of the "plucked out of the air" variety, I assume that's the average number of votes per seat, I wonder how much that 110k is going to crash next year, 50%? Then again, that's very different to what it takes for them to win a seat, the number of votes needed for all parties to win a seat is technically identical, that is more votes than anybody else, and no more than 50%+1 of the constituency.

And then only way you can truly declare it to be democratic or otherwise would be with ~100% turn out, for all you know, enough of the non-voters may support the tories that they would have an absolute majority in terms of the whole population, or more than enough support to justify the seat allocation; a third of the electorate didn't vote, therefore you do not know the opinions of that third.

The FPTP system is unbelievably undemocratic and with the rise of UKIP, Green and the several nationalist parties it is clear that "the strong government" argument is flying out the window.
The rise of UKIP, Green and others? You mean the migration of LD to others, the combined support of the Conservatives and Labour haven't actually dropped that much, it's mainly been a drop on the part of the Lib Dems, you also have to ask the question of are the gains long term or just blips? The UKIP support will likely die down before the end of the decade, especially if there is resumed Tory governance, Greens may stay on their elevated pirch, but I also imagine a steady migration back to LD, and they're still hardly a force to be reckoned with, sitting at ~5%
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gladders
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I caution against such claims as 'it's undemocratic'. It may not be your vision of democracy, but it is democratic in an absolute sense. On a constituency level it's a pretty good system. But the dysfunctions manifest themselves on grander scales if left unchecked.

There's plenty of validity in the claim that it's more democratic to have a single-party government of the largest minority than a coalition hacked together of several smaller ones.
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James Milibanter
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
How exactly are these figures derived, because they sound like they're of the "plucked out of the air" variety, I assume that's the average number of votes per seat, I wonder how much that 110k is going to crash next year, 50%? Then again, that's very different to what it takes for them to win a seat, the number of votes needed for all parties to win a seat is technically identical, that is more votes than anybody else, and no more than 50%+1 of the constituency.

And then only way you can truly declare it to be democratic or otherwise would be with ~100% turn out, for all you know, enough of the non-voters may support the tories that they would have an absolute majority in terms of the whole population, or more than enough support to justify the seat allocation; a third of the electorate didn't vote, therefore you do not know the opinions of that third.


The rise of UKIP, Green and others? You mean the migration of LD to others, the combined support of the Conservatives and Labour haven't actually dropped that much, it's mainly been a drop on the part of the Lib Dems, you also have to ask the question of are the gains long term or just blips? The UKIP support will likely die down before the end of the decade, especially if there is resumed Tory governance, Greens may stay on their elevated pirch, but I also imagine a steady migration back to LD, and they're still hardly a force to be reckoned with, sitting at ~5%
if you divide the number of votes gained by the number of seats won then you will see that these figures are legitimate. Also, the Green and UKIP vote has not just been from LD, the results of both the Rochester-and-Strood and Clacton-on-sea by-elections prove that the UKIP vote has in fact been highly torn from the Tory party.
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A1112787
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(Original post by James Milibanter)
I would say *******s to that. In 2010, despite gaining a large number of votes the Liberal Democrats lost 7 seats. They require 111,000 votes to gain a seat in parliament compared to around 20,000-25,000 for the Labour Party and the Conservatives. The FPTP system is unbelievably undemocratic and with the rise of UKIP, Green and the several nationalist parties it is clear that "the strong government" argument is flying out the window.
You make a good point about the Lib Dems (though the actual figure for the Conservatives and Labour is around 37,000), which cannot be rebutted. However, regarding your point about the risk of Ukip, the Greens and primarily the SNP, I would say that the success of such parties at the moment is nothing more than popular angst being voiced against the established parties. Ukip have done tremedouly well to capitalise on the intial success they gained from taking a firm stance on Europe, but have largely benefited from disaffected voters seeking to have a pop at the government (hence why you see Labour supporters 'switchng' to Ukip). Current polls have Ukip on around 15%, though at least 8% of that will return to the Tories (who will also likely regain Clacton and Rochester) in May.

The Green Party has somehow managed to maintain the boost it received from the European Elections last May, but I imagine most of their support will float back to the Liberals.

Finally, the SNP are perhaps the most legitimate, so to speak, of the parties you put forward. The campaign for indepence has morphed into an anti-Labour alliance in Scotland, meaning the SNP will likely tear Labour to shreds in May, potentially hold the balance of power (though, personally, I think the Tories will win an outright majority).

Therefore, while FPTP is definitely unfair on the Lib Dems, none of the other parties are genuinely affected as they are either not looking to become a major party, or are benefiting from the anti-establishment zeitgeist.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by James Milibanter)
if you divide the number of votes gained by the number of seats won then you will see that these figures are legitimate. Also, the Green and UKIP vote has not just been from LD, the results of both the Rochester-and-Strood and Clacton-on-sea by-elections prove that the UKIP vote has in fact been highly torn from the Tory party.
You sound like a kipper now. They demonstrate that if a Tory defects to UKIP at this point in time that they may well keep their seat, that's not the same as the Torys being split, a large proportion of the UKIP voters will have probably been voting for the incumbent, not UKIP. The challenge is for UKIP to hold the seats and win others in 6 months, not to win them now.

I suggest you take a look at the graphical summary on this page.
So, immediately after the elction the LDs lost ~15%, most of this going to Labour, and in the early days the Tories, but not enough to account for it all, the rest goes to "others", both after the general election and at the end of 2010 the three "main" parites are sat on a combined 90%. A trend that continues through 2011.
In May '12 we see a ~6% dip in Con, split about half and half between Lab and UKIP. Then for a year a steady drop in both Con and Lab support in favour of UKIP.
Second half of '13, dip in UKIP and corresponding rise in Con, since then, the majority of UKIP's gains have been from Lab, with Con being fairly stable, fluctuating by a point or two.

What you also have to remember in both by-elections is that there was already a fairly strong extreme right presence in the form of the BNP (4.6%) in Clacton and the English Democrats (4.5%) in Rochester&Strood, in both cases not actually turning up.

And what of Heywood and Middleton, given that Lab barely held onto that surely that's also "proof" that Lab is being torn apart too?


But again, coming back to the graph, over the last 49 months the Tories have lost ~5% and Lab gained ~5%, the net shifts have mostly been in the irrelevant parties, mostly from LD to UKIP and Green.
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Teaddict
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(Original post by gladders)
I caution against such claims as 'it's undemocratic'. It may not be your vision of democracy, but it is democratic in an absolute sense. On a constituency level it's a pretty good system. But the dysfunctions manifest themselves on grander scales if left unchecked.

There's plenty of validity in the claim that it's more democratic to have a single-party government of the largest minority than a coalition hacked together of several smaller ones.
There's only so many times I can rep you Gladders.
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Hopple
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I liked the AV system proposed when we had the referendum. You still have your local MP, but there's also room for the 'real' (i.e. the party closest to the voter's opinion) vote - provided they publicise each round of votes you could see if a minority party had support rather than what currently happens with Labour/Tories saying that a vote for any other party is a vote for the Tories/Labour. They get more votes simply because they already have more votes and hence are the best shot at avoiding the other party.

Given that it's simpler than X Factor voting, despite being more complicated than "Pick a name and be done with it" (although again, you might think about tactical voting if you can't list your preferences), it wouldn't be as difficult as some people were making out.
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zippity.doodah
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FPTP = two party system, or at least in each constituency you only get two parties
AV = two party system that at least is majoritarian to some extent
PR = fairness, although some PR systems are fairer than others; I find STV less fair, for example, than regional open list
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missfats
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Previously I did support PR because I felt it was highly unfair for the third party to have so few seats.

Ukip's rise however has given me a new appreciation for FPTP as I see that it really makes parties have to work for multiple seats and is an excellent way of keeping extreme parties from getting a handful of unimportant seats.

So FPTP.
Nay.

This is repression of democracy at its peak.
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