Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


Let electoral law reflect what people think

In the UK, opinion polls tend to report percentages (such as Cons. 40%, Lab 28%, LibDem 22%, etc.), with an implicit understanding that these percentages will be reflected in the next parliament, and that the leader of the largest party will become prime minister.

However, the electoral system does not reflect this, given that it’s first-part-the-post, and the parties that have a chance to win any given constituency might not be the biggest national parties.

To see how broken the current system is, just have a look at the recent decision to exclude the SNP from televised party debates.

So perhaps it’s time to change the electoral system to better reflect what people expect?

For instance, introduce proper proportional representation for Westminster, so that 40% of the votes leads to close to 40% of the seats, and at the same time introduce a separate election for prime minister, perhaps along French lines, so that there is a run-off between the two strongest candidates from the first round.

I think people would very quickly get used to this – they might even after a few years start to think the new system had always been in place!

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