Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Weighted Members

Weighted members

 

Dear Sir,

There are strong arguments for some form of proportional representation in the house of commons, and some arguments against. If the house more nearly represented the country there would be more consensus behind acts of parliament, votes would count and democratic participation would (probably) increase. On the other hand, the greater stability would make it harder to change our institutions dramatically and whimsically, and this would doubtless appear as a disadvantage to some. (The complaint that centre parties would constantly be "in power" is utter nonsense and I shall not discuss it.)

 

However, there are a number of different systems by which a more proportional house could be achieved, and each of these inevitably involves changes of some sort, changes which will appear to some people to outweigh the advantages; larger constituencies, coalition governments, complicated ballot papers, etc.

 

My suggestion of "weighted members" is very simple and requires no change in the constituencies, nor voting arrangements in the country. (Indeed, it is dangerously simple because it does not even need the agreement of the two major parties which has hitherto blocked all attempts to introduce proportional representation.  A single maverick, acting alone could inaugurate a transparent and almost totally representative parliament.) It can easily be observed that, after the 2005 general election, each Labour member represented 26,860 votes, each Conservative member 44,306 votes, and each Lib Dem member 96, 482 votes, etc. Labour, as the party with the greatest number of total votes, would still have been asked to form the government. Each member would still have represented the same constituency that voted them in. But at each division of the House their voting weight would be augmented by the votes of those citizens who are dis-enfranchised by the present system.  Each Labour member passing into the 'Ayes' lobby would carry 26,860 votes, each Tory 44,306, etc.

 

(This simple system can even be applied retrospectively, and we can examine whether or not the Thatcher government had a mandate for the privatisation of our utilities and transport networks.)   

Yours sincerely,

 

7 April 2010

 

Ian West

12 Longhirst Village

MORPETH, NE61 3LT

(tel: 01670 791880; e-mail: ianwest001@tiscali.co.uk)

2005 General Election

 

 

 

 

 

Seats

% of

% of

Total vote

Votes per

 

 

Seats

Votes

seat

Labour

356

55.2

35.3

9,562,122

26,860

Conservative

198

30.7

32.3

8,772,598

44,306

Liberal Democrat

62

9.6

22.1

5,981,874

96,482

UKIP

0

0

2.2

603,298

 

SNP

6

0.9

1.5

412,267

68,711

Green

0

0

1

257,758

 

Democratic Unionist

9

1.4

0.9

241,856

26,873

BNP

0

0

0.7

192,746

 

Plaid Cymru

3

0.5

0.6

174,838

58,279

Sinn Féin

5

0.8

0.6

174,530

34,906

Ulster Unionist

1

0.2

0.5

127,414

127,414

SDLP

3

0.5

0.5

125,626

41,875

Independent

1

0.2

0.5

122,000

122,000

Respect

1

0.2

0.3

68,094

68,094

 

 

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