Growth in Independent and minority party support

An amazingly encouraging piece of research has just been published:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/files/research/in-the-round/IFG_making%20minority%20government_final%20proof%2020%20nov%2009.pdf

There’s no need to read more than the Executive Summary unless you’re really keen but do look at the graph of the growth of support for Independents and minority parties on page 14.

In 1951 the support was about 3% and in 2005 it was about 33%.

Bottom line: Independents are the future of democracy in the UK.

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One Response to “Growth in Independent and minority party support”

  1. stephen johnson Says:

    Can I draw your attention to a system of voting which would deliver PR, has the simplicity of FPTP, maintains the single member constituency, would make it much easier for Independent Candidates to get elected and doesn’t require a huge change from the existing voting system?

    Direct Party and Representative Voting

    Despite the recent vote in the House of Commons and consequential public debate, the chances of a move to Proportional Representation for Westminster elections are remote.
    Those in favour of PR cannot build a coalition. The different forms of PR vary in their ability to deliver PR, are often complex and difficult to understand, and may not be compatible with the single member constituency.

    An underlying problem with the existing system is that the voter is faced with the potential dilemma of voting for the party or for the candidate. This works very heavily against independent candidates. These voting issues should be separated as follows.

    To meet the demand for political renewal, we need

    1 One vote for a party to form the government.

    2 One vote for the Constituency MP. This could be by the FPTP system.

    and all on one ballot paper – that is the only change we need in the public voting system.

    A further change would be needed in Parliament where one MP one vote is ditched, and a fractional voting system introduced. The elected Government’s strength in Parliament would be determined by the first vote. In parliament each MP would exercise a fractional vote. If a party got 40% support in the ‘Government’ vote but 50% of the MPs, each of their MPs would have a vote value 0.8 Independents would have a vote value of one.
    Non government bills (Free Votes) could be determined by one vote per MP.
    Swipe card voting should make it foolproof and simple.
    The Government would then have very precise proportional support, not in MPs but in votes. Why should it have more or less?

    This system, Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR), would have the key advantages of a PR system and single member constituencies.

    • No longer would people be disenfranchised. Every vote would count.
    • It would be easy to vote, and easy to count, and the outcomes would be quick and easy to understand.
    • There need no longer be a conflict between voting for an individual or a party. You could vote for your party but not necessarily for the particular local representative.
    • Yes, it would be difficult for new parties to get started – but arguably less so than at present
    • It would make it easier for exceptional individuals or independents to get elected.

    This system would not satisfy the ‘Strong Government’ lobby – those who want the system to throw up a big majority for the ‘winning’ party regardless of their actual democratic support. But at least the battle lines and arguments would be simplified.

    Not only would this system lead to more independent MPs, it would give all MPs a measure of independence since they will have been elected as individuals rather than just party representatives.

    DPR is a voting system that delivers PR, has the simplicity of FPTP, maintains the single member constituency, would make it much easier for Independent Candidates to get elected and doesn’t require a huge change from the existing voting system. It’s easy to understand, simple to implement, has no serious disadvantages.

    It would make an enormous contribution to the radical reforms we need to our political system

    I would appreciate your comments.

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