Tuesday, 4 October 2016

It's the wrong system, Mr Howlett

Congratulations to Ben Howlett, Conservative MP for Bath, for standing out against his party's policy on electoral reform. He has agreed publicly with Tim Farron that "the Government’s boundary review will still leave an 'in-built problem' in Britain’s voting system that can only be fixed by introducing proportional representation".

However, he has not advocated the system of PR which puts most power in the hands of the voters. Instead, he has opted for the AMS of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments and of the London Assembly which he says is "working well". He is mistaken. Although it improves proportionality between parties, any list system puts power in the hands of the party managers to give preference to candidates and works against independent candidates. If the calculations are mishandled, they potentiate the dominant party, as is the case with Labour in Wales. Also, an ambitious list member can thwart the intentions of both his party and electorate by switching allegiances post-election. No, STV is the way to go.

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