WorstFearsFromProportionalRepresentation

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  • #29993
    Alan E. Dunne
    Participant

    I am hoping to start a series of people posting their worst fears about how a reformed, more proportional, electoral system might turn out. By this we can learn not only the arguments our opponents ought to be making but what may be qualms keeping back potential supporters, or making supporters less than whole-hearted. Here in the relative shelter of our forum we can work out arguments.

    #29994
    Alan E. Dunne
    Participant

    Worst Fear #1: Liberation of the Legislature

    The worst consequence I fear as a likely result of a more proportional electoral system is:

    That any more proportional Parliament or legislature will weaken the executive’s control of the legislature and thereby unleash on us the floods of petty, venal, legislation, the permanent incumbency, and the (still more? more blatantly?) money politics and corruption of the United States and Italy.

    The loss I fear is not of party cohesion or party discipline -the Italian First Republic had plenty of those- but of specific control of the legislature by the executive.

    The revival of the idea of a representative assembly of hundreds after the French and American Revolutions may have been a mistake, or even if it worked in the nineteenth century may be outdated in times of mass, meaning mostly national, media, when constituents have little oversight of their particular representative.

    Everyone wants to cut wasteful government spending but each person, or at least each five or ten percent of poll respondents, has a different idea of which government spending is wasteful. Everyone wants to close tax loopholes, except for their loophole. Everyone is against corporate welfare, except for the corporation they hope will rain a golden shower on their town, union or c.. These conflicts between the general and the particular may be better dealt with by arbitration by one or a few, who are watched by the general population at least a little than by bargaining among hundreds, though I have read quoted a contemporary account of the French Revolution that argued the opposite. Of course the point of such an assembly is that the rights and opinions of no large group be ignored but in fact those seem to be less expressed or defended than their (or subgroups or individuals among them’s) parasitic, dexter, interests.

    There are of course better ways to elect a Leader than using a vestige of Parliament as an electoral college

    Or perhaps we should elect a Council of Ten, using the whole country (or each of two halves) as an STV riding.

    #30090
    George
    Keymaster

    My worst fear is a closed-list MMP system. I find closed list undemocratic in that some MP’s will not have to publicly campaign and they won’t see public scrutiny. They won’t be voted on by public and so they have no accountability to the public, only the party. While as a minority myself, I appreciate that it can result in greater diversity of candidates, however, I do not trust parties in list selection. I share the worry of permanent incumbency with a closed-list system. If we want diversity in our parliament we should support diversities better so that they feel welcome and invited to participation in primary party politics. We shouldn’t shoo in people behind closed doors.

    If we adopt an MMP system my top preference is for the biggest losers to be selected to regional seats

    I am definitely not alone with these concerns. John Horgan was forced to come out and say that the MMP proposed in the referendum was an open list. Sadly he did this really late and only after mounting criticism. To me, that was suspicious and definitely makes me feel like the NDP are untrustworthy for implementing a PR that would be best for democracy rather than their own interests. If MMP is to be proposed, it needs to be extremely detailed and blatantly clear that closed list is not an option. Otherwise, there will be public animosity as demonstrated previously in BC.

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