Sunday, 5 June 2011

Non-Party Elections

I believe in universal suffrage, one person, one vote.

The advantage of universal suffrage is the wisdom of crowds which can produce a smarter answer than the smartest members of the crowds. In theory, by including roadsweepers and picker-packers (although ,f course, obs are not a foolproof indication of intelligence), a better House of Commons would be elected than if only picked by PPE graduates, lawyers, doctors and rocket scientists.

In practice elections are marred by the tribal politics of political parties. People don't necessarily vote  acording to their values and beliefs but because they dislike a particular party. In addition, people's opinions don't necessarily fit perfectly into the policy pigeonholes of parties.  It is quite possible for someone to be interventionist on foreign affairs and conservative on tax. Finally, political parties can promise one thing in their election manifestos but are under no obligation to fulfill their promise in power.

Instead, I propose that voters do not vote for candidates or parties at elections but express their opinions on a test paper like this one, for example. The actual questions would be prepared after consultation by the Eectoral Cmmission. Candidates, who could belong to political parties would take the same text.

The test paper ballot forms could be read electronical like multiple choice exam papers, probably with the same equipment for economy. The winning candidates would be those whose orientation most closely matched the overall orientations of their constituencies. This would encourage prospective parliamentary candidates to really get to know their constituents and tailor their message to them. Say constituency A  favours policy X: a candidate for party 1 would have to amend their party's policy Y to increase their chance of winning the seat. Other candidates for other seats might  find policy Z was the most popular. They could sit in the House of Commons according to their parties, but of course they would have to take into account their electors' opinions if they wanted to be re-elected. The pernicious power of the Party Whips would be weakened.

1 comment:

Senior said...

The best way to solve the problem of tribal party politics, is for people to vote for independent candidates who instead of putting political parties first, will put their constituents first.