Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Proportional (non-) representation

House of Commons
Imagine living in a constituency where your parliamentary representative isn’t the person who received the most votes.

Imagine living in a constituency that voted for an independent candidate not allied to any of the major political parties, who is thus prevented from representing you because being independent they have no visibility at a national level. Conversely a party that has minority support across the country aggregates their national vote and is ‘allocated’ a place in parliament. Imagine that ‘allocation’ is your representative. Imagine they belong to the BNP.

Imagine a Member of Parliament having to vote on a bill that is unpopular with their local constituency. Elections are near, you have a narrow majority as it is but ‘the party’ can ‘guarantee’ support in the form of transferred votes; side with your constituency and you’re on your own. Imagine how this will affect the decision making process.

All of these scenarios are possible with proportional representation; a system that favours the political party whilst disenfranchising local electorates. What many people in the UK forget is that when we vote we are voting for an individual and not the party to which they might belong. As such our representatives are directly accountable to us. The appalling parliamentary ‘whip’ system  is an indicator of what will happen on a much wider scale with the introduction of PR - one purpose of this system is to ensure an MP votes "the way their party wants".

I’d rather have a system where our political representatives vote the way we want.

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