02 August 2005

Why PR is not enough!

Those of you who know how passionate I am about electoral reform might be very surprised with this headline. I will explain myself.

First, just need to clear up a few points that Antonia mentions.

There are an infinite number of variations of electoral systems, I could make a totally new one up on this post, but when I say AMS, I should really qualify that by saying that I would like 'open list' AMS with 50:50 representation and a 5% threshold. Not quite as snappy I know.

This answers Antonia's question of how someone can fail to get elected in the constituency but make it on the party list. This is because they have a 'closed list' system where the party decides the order. This is one of the few criticisms I would make of the New Zealand, Scottish and Welsh systems that has not surprisingly been one of the minor irritations for voters of generally a good system. Antonia said she could support AV+ suggested by the Jenkin's report, which is a type of AMS with regional lists, not very proportional, but as I have said before I would support virtually any change in preference to the present ridiculous FPTP system we have!

The 50:50 part of AMS that I like, also explains why I kept saying to trees for labour that AMS was un-gerrymanderable (like it?). Technically I suppose he is correct if the AMS is a semi-PR version and not PR like the one I suggest.

To complicate matters further, there is in fact a system I like better called cellular constituencies (invented by the 'who should you vote for' website team) but I mention AMS because it is a system in use in Germany and New Zealand and well known.

Anyway to the title of my post. The point I would like to make is that PR only reflects the electorate's views more accurately, but if they are fed biased information by the press, this might not be enough. Hence I would like to see the current mandatory guidelines that ensures an unbiased broadcast media, extended to the press. This would at least mean the most overt biased stories would have to print a counter argument to balance the editorial. It seems to work quite well for the broadcast media so I don't see why it wouldn't work for the press. What do you lot think?

Finally just want to mention the urban renaissance institute, which is an excellent resource site.

1997 Election result under different election systems.

Vote-Method Lab Con LD Na Oth Lab maj

SV-------------- 436 110 084 10 19 +213
AV-------------- 436 110 084 10 19 +213
FPTP---------- 419 165 046 10 19 +179
AMS (90:10) 378 181 070 11 19 +097
STV------------ 342 144 131 24 08 +035
AMS (83:17) 354 190 082 14 08 +060
AMS (75:25) 330 196 098 16 19 +001
AMS (67:33) 305 206 112 18 08 -039
AMS (57:43) 296 207 117 21 08 -057
AMS (50:50) 296 206 118 21 08 -057
PURE PR---- 285 202 110 16 36 -079

From this its easy to see why the Lib Dems favour STV and Labour are leaning towards AV or SV. From this its not quite so easy to see the Tories liking for FPTP, but that is to do with the gerrymandering potential of changing boundaries. Oh these party loyalties are so predictable. It's about time the people came first not the parties.


  1. Sorry mate - meant AV not AV+

  2. Even I get confused sometimes, and I'm a PR anorak, so no need to apologise.