Post by islington on Jun 2, 2018 14:37:48 GMT
There's a lively discussion about electoral systems going on in a thread that's supposed to be about whether the 2018 review will actually happen.
I can't resist weighing in, but it needs its own thread.
I'll nail my flag to the mast as a fan of FPTP, but only in part for the reasons that have been argued in the other thread.
When electoral systems are discussed, there's a lot of discussion about the merits of single-party government as opposed to coalitions. This tends to overlook the fact that political parties are themselves coalitions. But the key difference is that a political party is a coalition that is assembled in advance of the election rather than after it. This means that electors can see, before the election, who will lead the Government if the party wins and what its political priorities are likely to be. Of course I acknowledge that electors may not be able to rely totally on what they see, because the leader may change during the Parliamentary term and political parties sometimes change their priorities once in power. But there are practical political constraints against changing leaders too often or for inadequate reasons, or the too-blatant jettisoning of election pledges; so it still makes sense for voters to take account of the way a party presents itself and its policies at election time.
The alternative, with coalitions that form only after the election, means that voters have no idea what they will be getting and what they are really voting for or against. Once the voting is done, they are helpless spectators as the coalition-building process contrives an outcome that was never on the ballot paper, for which no one really voted.
So I prefer an electoral system that tends to result in single-party government, which means in practice one that favours large parties at the expense of small ones. FPTP is well-recognized as having this effect, and this is the principal reason (not the only one) that I hope we shall retain it.
(A further important reason for keeping FPTP is that all the alternatives exhibit very serious drawbacks; but although this is obviously a legitimate way of making a case, it is essentially negative and I wanted to kick off with a positive argument.)