Saturday, 8 May 2010

Moral Panic #101: Deficit Leaves No Time For Electoral Reform

Having limped in first over the electoral finishing line, and needing support to govern, the Tories have been understandably meek in setting an agenda for this Parliament. And after decades of dodging the issue, they are truly appalled at the thought of electoral reform as the price for Liberal Democrat support.

But commit to it they must: it's a travesty that 23% of the national vote could produce only 9% of the MPs. And it is small consolation to the people who comprise that 23% (not to mention the 29% who voted Labour and the 11.9% dismissed as voting 'other') - that 'their' 57 MPs hold the 'balance of power'.

The general election would have been more engaging and vastly more inclusive if the 63.9% of voters who did not receive their first choice could have nominated the candidate they'd have preferred to win instead. That's what Proportional Representation is all about.

Despite moral panic designed to dodge the issue yet again, electoral reform will not 'distract' anyone from cutting the £163bn public deficit. All are agreed that economic reform will be business as usual for this government. In fact, as a result, it should be 'less busy than usual'. So there'll be plenty of time to work out the move to one style or other of Proportional Representation.

Commitment to electoral reform might even lead the unlucky 63.9% to work much more willingly with the lucky 36.1% to cut the budget deficit.

Image from VoterPower
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