Opinion: Proportional voting

I propose a method of voting in the House of Commons which has the effect of proportional representation without any of the complexity.

There are two possible sacred principles in British democracy:

1) A Member of Parliament has one vote;
2) A party’s voting strength in the house should match its share of the countrywide vote.

Each principle has its adherents. Principle (1) seems to be assumed by everyone but never mentioned.

These principles are in fact contradictory, leading to much complexity, so I propose to abandon principle (1) above, leaving us with principle (2).

The mechanism is simple: take the number of votes cast at a general election for any political party and share those votes equally among the MPs of that party. That means that any party’s voting strength in the House of Commons will be exactly the same as the votes cast for that party in a general election.

An example will show how easy this is:

Party: Lab Dem Con Green
Seats: 258 57 306 1
Votes: 29.0 23.0 36.1 0.96 (percentages of those voting)

These figures should be familiar to everyone.

If you follow principle (1) above, the strengths of the parties will match the first row of figures. If you follow principle (2), the strengths will match the second row. One simply divides the number of votes by the number of MPs, leaving the following number of votes per MP:

Party: Lab Dem Con Green
Votes per MP: 0.112 0.404 0.118 0.963

To make round numbers, and to avoid scaring people who panic when they see decimal points, we will multiply by one thousand, giving the following:

Party: Lab Dem Con Green
Votes per MP: 112 404 118 963

That’s it. No more proceedures are involved. This has now created a proportional voting system which may be used the next time the House of Commons votes.

The point of the above is that the total voting strength of a party now exactly matches their share of the countrywide vote. Let’s look at what happens if all Liberal Democrat MPs vote together. Each of them has 404 votes, so the total number of Liberal Democrat votes is 23,028. If we look at all parties’ voting strengths, we get the following:

Party: Lab Dem Con Green
Total votes: 28,896 23,028 36,108 963

Notice that the total number of votes available to each party now almost exactly matches the share of the national vote.

When the Commons votes and as MPs go through the division lobbies, the tellers simply count up the number of votes. It’s only adding up.

It is important to point out the meaning of an MP’s vote. The above method means that a thousand House of Commons votes exactly match one percent of the British electorate. Therefore, if an MP has 1,000 votes, he or she knows that he is representing exactly one percent of the British electorate.


1. Every vote counts. Literally, the electorate’s votes are counted and shared among the members of a political party, so every vote cast in a constituency is added to the voting strength of the parliamentary party. Even if your local candidate doesn’t get in, your vote still counts as it adds to the strength of the parliamentary party.

2. Boundary changes make NO DIFFERENCE. Votes are counted, not seats.

3. The local voting system (e.g. the behaviour of the local first-past-the-post system) makes NO DIFFERENCE. Votes are counted, not seats.

4. The method is very quick to set up. You can do the calculations in thirty seconds.

5. The method costs nothing, as you can keep the current mechanisms for voting. There is no need for expensive and time-consuming rearrangement of the voting system.

6. The method avoids complexity. Many schemes of proportional representation have been proposed, of varying degrees of complexity (for example: multiple lists of alternative MPs, multiple votes and votes with preferences in order). This system avoids any of this complexity by focussing on the votes and avoiding any issues of the number of MPs.

7. The scheme is so simple that you could use it in a trial run for any one vote.

8. It is still important that an MP is attached to a constituency, as the MP is then aware of the problems and issues of people in that constituency.

Observations and issues for further discussion

Some MPs may hold the one-member-one-vote principle as sacred. I believe that this is arrogance. An MP only gets his authority and voting strength from those of the electorate who have voted. An MP is effectively conveying the votes of the electorate to the House of Commons. It is not intrinsically an MP who is voting: it is the British public who are voting and the MP is only a mechanism for achieving this. This system makes this principle obvious. An MP should be humble enough to accept this.

Since electors know that every vote counts, they will be more willing to vote for minority parties. This may increase the number of minority parties who are represented. This may, in turn, influence the policies of the major parties. Either way, the views of the whole country will be better represented in Parliament.

An MP is effectively doing two jobs: representing the party and representing the constituency. I suggest that votes in the House primarily concern national issues, so assigning votes to parties is the right approach. Local issues for an MP are important, but are handled in ways other than national voting.

An MP may also be concerned with House of Commons business, for example electing a new Speaker, voting on procedures, participating in committees, etc. This may be seen as not directly connected with the electorate so it might be more appropriate for each member to have one vote in this situation.

This system assumes that there are political parties. If one attempted to ban political parties, MPs would still get together in unofficial agreements and alliances so there would still be parties in practice. Therefore, this system acknowledges that parties exist and attempts to give each party a quantity of power proportional to their countrywide support.

This system may struggle to cope with small parliaments. This system copes with the situation where a party has a number of MPs not proportional to the countrywide vote. However, this system doesn’t cope with a situation where a small party has no MPs at all, which could easily happen in very small parliaments. One might choose to deal with this by having at least one MP per party, but that MP might have to be selected by a different method not connected with a constituency.

What happens to “independent” MPs?

What happens to the members of the electorate who didn’t vote?

A candidate still has to survive a local election, so individual candidates who have little or no support will not get into Parliament. If those candidates are not attached to a large national party, what happens to the votes cast for those candidates? The system should at least be aware that there are those who voted who are not represented.

The multiplier 1000 is used for as an example for convenience. It would equally be possible to use any other multiplier to get the number of House of Commons votes into a convenient range.

The example above uses percentages of countrywide votes, although one could easily use total number of actual votes (for example, about 6.8 million for the LibDems) and share that number among the MPs, giving about 120,000 votes per LibDem MP. In this case the number of House of Commons votes is precisely the number of votes cast by the electorate. If you’re not scared of large numbers, this would be the system to use.

This system may result in MPs whose views are not all in agreement (no difference from the current system!) This will not be caused by the voting system, but by the fundamental fact that the British people do not all agree with each other. If there is a choice between a “strong and stable” government with a single view, and a complex representative government with multiple views, I would prefer the representative government.

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  • Matthew Doye 10th May '10 - 9:23am

    Sounds like the TUC conference

  • FTPT means you still get votes AGAINST, not votes FOR. Therefore, you don’t kow the true support of each party.

  • “A party’s voting strength in the house should match its share of the countrywide vote.”

    Since when has this ever been a sacred principle of British democracy? You can’t just pull “sacred principles” out of the top of your head because it’s what you’d like to see.

  • Bill Miller 10th May '10 - 9:57am

    I like people daring to think outside the box, but there are a number of disadvantages that come to mind.

    (1) What happens if someone crosses the floor of the house?
    (2) Some constituencies/areas would exert inordinate influence … a Lib Dem MP voting on local issues, for example. In the last parliament Cornish interests would have been over-represented when their MPs voted en block, which is hardly fair.
    (3) It would certainly encourage smaller parties to field candidates in as many constituencies as possible to increase their overall share of the vote. I could imagine a scenario where there is success in one constituency and suddenly one, possibly extremist, MP enters the house weilding 5% off the vote. It might even encourage constituents to vote for a small party in order to gain greater influence in Westminster.
    (4) Also what happens in a bye-election? Do you base the voting strength of the new MP on the last general election
    figures or on something else?
    (5) Independents would be disadvantaged as well.

  • PR does not seem morally repulsive to people when they use it in elections, no matter what the Tories (bless their constructive and positive souls) may think.

    On the other hand, the spectacle of 350 (Blair III) Labour MPs being defeated by 290 opposition MPs in a vote would be either confusing or morally repulsive to many people.

    Ultimately, if we want to keep MPs as social workers, we should just hire more social workers, who at least are professionals in what they do rather than self-interested vote-seekers.

  • Andrew Purches 10th May '10 - 10:10am

    From my own experience at District Council level, the Tories will,in short order, stitch up any one who they need to work with in order to gain the advantages they perceive themselves to need. Not one of them can be trusted, certainly not the negotiating team that our parliamentary party is negotiating with. To Nick Clegg and team,I say beware, no good for the Liberal Democrats will come of this: certainly not the promise of a referendum over P.R.,which would almost certainly be lost. We need a promise of immediate legislation to change the voting and parliamentary system,with no “ifs and buts”. As to the economic pressures ? Since when has a deficit on its own been a major headache for a sound economy? If the usurers of the money markets are allowed to continue to dominate the world’s currencies,then in the medium term we are all stuffed – so we must find a way of doing without them. Lastly: who are the two major parties think that they might work with in forming a new administration? They keep referring to the “Liberals” – a party that still exists I believe, with no electoral representation whatsoever. Another reason to mistrust both of these houses! A plague on both of them!

    Andrew Purches, Chair, Chanctonbury Liberal-Democrats.

  • I came up with this idea a few months ago whilst mulling over the disproportional nature of FPTP. The idea is appealing and has many advantages. The main problem still remaining is the small pool of MPs belonging to the smaller parties. This will impact debates in the commons and seats in various parliamentary committees.

    I applaud the free-thinking attitude that endeavours to find initiative solutions to problems like this. Perhaps in combination with AV+, this might make a workable PR system that would be acceptable to the other parties in parliament.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th May '10 - 10:18am

    Didn’t we have this discussion the other day? Somebody (Andrew Suffield, perhaps?) pointed out that it amounts to a poor relative of Direct Representation.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 10:36am

    I think the essential problem with PR is that it would be to the disadvantage of the two main parties. That’s why it will be so difficult to get them to agree to it – though of course for presentational purposes they have to come up with other arguments against it. No matter how hard people try to come up with schemes that would address the stated objections, the real objection – the objection to a proportional system – will remain.

  • I agree with idea of discarding the assumption that each parliamentarian should have only one vote. Why go to all the trouble to come up with formulas to try an approximate proportionality when the raw data is available and perfectly proportional? Electoral reform would still be necessary to make the number of parliamentarians more representative and allow smaller parties in, but this idea in addition to more traditional proposed reforms would make the parliament more representative.

  • this system is shit

  • Chris Walker 10th May '10 - 11:38am

    I like it. You could cap the votes total if you wanted to stop small parties having a huge number of votes per MP. Make 500 votes per MP the maximum?

    Or you could cap it at a lower value if you wanted a system that was merely a little more proportional. Why would anyone want that? Well suppose you were trying to get electoral reform from a party who was opposed and wanted a halfway house you could agree on (just hypothetically!) How about a cap of 200 votes per MP?

    So you’d have votes per MP as Lab 112, Con 118, Lib 200. This could also be sold as a solution to the Conservatives’ problems with underepresentation relative to Labour.

    Or if people don’t like the idea of MPs having hundreds of votes (too reminiscent of TUC conferences) how about arranging the system as “top up” votes added according to the multiplier? So, using the above figures you take the votes cast in parliament and multiply them by 0.12, 0.18 and 1.0 respectively to arrive at the number of top up votes to be added (rounded down to the the nearest vote).

  • George W. Potter 10th May '10 - 12:06pm

    It still doesn’t help the bias which prevents candidates from smaller parties getting elected. What happens if the greens get 1% at the next election but lose their seat? You still have the problem where 1% of the electorate aren’t represented.

  • Paul Griffiths 10th May '10 - 12:16pm

    Simon, get a life.

  • Another problem with this system is that it is just like the crazy Israeli electoral system, it is absolutely pure PR. That means that UKIP on 3.5% of the votes would get 3.5% of the Parliamentary strength, quite probably enough to take control of our European policy!

    Decent systems like STV or AV+ build in some form of block to stop tiny parties gaining dispoportionate power.

  • David Allen,

    You’re not quit right about your comparison with the Israeli system or UKIP. They would have to win a seat in Parliament first. Only once they’d done that would their MP have a proportional vote. Parties like UKIP and BNP would still have no MPs just like they have at the moment. You’re right though. Once they are in, they would be treated fairly.

  • One problem with this is that there are situations where the interests of one district goes against those of another, in that situation, the district that was divided would have less votes to stop disadvantaging measures. For a slightly more realistic version, suppose a law is passed that disadvantages wales or scotland (who have more parties :. more split votes) they will have less influence to be able to stop it.

  • Ok. First off, some good and bad points here.

    Firstly I think the idea that party or independant has to have at least enough support to get one candidate is a mixed bag. In most reasonable cases it provides a good check against letting parties with very small support from creating an overly fractious parliament. However it is still technically possible that a party may have proportionately fairly large support (like 8-10%), but still not get any seats, and therefore have no representation at all… for example the Green Party would have had no representation at all under this system until the recent election. This issue could more easily be dealt with under PR by just setting a minimum percentage of votes to qualify for a parliamentary seat (as I’m sure wold be a part of any such system anyway)

    The main issue with moving to PR is not that it is hard to alter how we vote, it is that Labour and Conservative will suffer under the system and that we will more than likely have coalition governments (not my issue, I think it’s a good idea, but that is still one of the main points raised against PR). And this idea is still a change to the way the system works and I suspect that it will be no less or more difficulty to implement than PR, given that actual implementation is probably the least taxing part of any change to our voting system.

    One area you haven’t even covered is who gets to form the government. Under your system you will have to do one of two things to decided on who creates the ruling government.

    1) You continue the current system and whoever has the most parliamentary seats gets to form the governemnt. But of course then you have the problem that you have a single party who has the right to form the government, without seeking a coalition, but has a minority of the voting power. This is pretty unworkable in practice.

    2) You recognise the weighting of each parliamentary seat when deciding who gets to form a Government, which will, just like PR, lead to the necesity for coalitions and compromise (in my opinion a good thing, but not in others). This is absolutely no different to implementing a PR system, and will be fought just as hard against irrespective of how ‘easy’ it is to implement (as mentioned above I don’t think this is even the case).

    Taking the above in to consideration, I think this would be worse than trying to implement PR. You either end up with an unworkable system, or you end up with a system that is, in principle exactly the same as PR, yet more complex to explain to the voters. Imaging trying to explain why one party had a majority of parliamentary seats, yet didn’t have the mandate to form a government. The system would be ridiculed by the media, who would find it much easier to discredit it in the eyes of the general public.

  • Oh, I forgot to mention that I like the fact that your proposal keeps the link between constituancy and MP, and that it is simple to determine exactly who should be an MP in the first place.

  • Whatever the virtues of this system, the fact is it has never been tried anywhere else in the world and to the public it would be seen as risky and exotic (perhaps rightly). We need to advocate not an ideal system, but one that can actually get past a referendum.

  • If you would like an example of how this system would be portrayed by its opponents, here’s a quote from the Jenkin’s Commission:

    “[Under the] weighted vote member system …members would be elected exactly as now, but where their party was under-represented nationally this would be corrected by giving them an additional voting strength in the division lobbies of the House of Commons. ..Whether they would carry these numbers round their necks or on their backs, rather like prize bulls at an agricultural show, is not clear, but what is clear is that there would be great problems if one of these vote-heavy beasts were to find himself in a lobby different from his party leader and whips, or worse still, if he were permanently to lumber off across the floor. There would inevitably be the most excited attempts to re-corral him. And the ability sometimes to take independent action must surely be preserved, even encouraged, if MPs are not to become party automata.

    “Therefore, while we respect the ingenuity and conviction with which this weighted vote solution has been put forward, we think that it would arouse more mockery than enthusiasm and be incompatible with the practical working of a parliament.”

  • Older Not Wiser 10th May '10 - 2:55pm

    This would have left 2m voters with no-one to voice their opinion this time round; yet PC and SNP get a voice because of their regional strengths… twice as many people voted UKIP as SNP… but they get no voice.

    We need a new approach to make PR really work. STV is the closest to true PR but looses the PC link, ATV is potentially a disaster and worse than the current system. We need a hybrid; regional based Upper Chamber on STV and a smaller FPTP consitunecy list of say 350 plus 100 STV top up or 200 x 3 STV constutencies

  • Bill Baxter 10th May '10 - 4:38pm

    5050 Voters List System

    Built in Term Limits

    4 & Half Year Fixed Term Parliament

    EVERY MP has a Constituency

    A choice between 2 MP surgeries

    Very Simple; just 1 vote to cast

    Half the MPs Elected on 1st past post.
    The other Half of the seats distributed to Candidates on the Voters Lists to top up the numbers for Proportional Representation

    Double the size of the constituencies.

    Directly elect 50% of MPs, 1 MP per constituency on 1st past the post.

    The Voters Lists are Nationwide PRIORITISED lists of 2nd, 3rd or 4th place candidates.
    Top of Voters List For each Party is candidate with highest percentage of the vote.

    Allocate additional seats to candidates on the Voters Lists to top up the party totals to match the national percentage of the vote for each Party.

    An incumbent re-elected due to a high position on the Voters List is Disqualified from ALL future elections for 5 years.
    Built in 2 Term Limits for Unpopular & Mediocre MPs.
    The voters automatically override the 2 term limit by putting a candidate 1st past post in a constituency.

    To guarantee 4 & Half Year Fixed Term Parliament,
    any MP who resigns is Disqualified from ALL future elections for 5 years.

    This system MUST be part of a WRITTEN Constitution & Bill of rights that can only be amended by 60% of eligible voters.

    This system fulfils all requirements.


    The Voters will never forgive you if you get a chance to install PR & choose a Party List system.

    A Party List IS A STITCH UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A Voters List is DEMOCRATIC.

    Top of each Voters List would be someone who came so close that his voters could almost taste it but they felt robbed by just a few votes.

    In this way, it is the voters who decide who gets a seat in Parliament, not the Party Hierarchy who would give priority to arse-lickers.

    EVERY MP will have a Constituency
    some Constituencies will have 2 or even 3 MPs
    they will be from DIFFERENT parties & will have to compete with each other to run the best surgeries.

    A Voters List keeps out candidates who Voters definitely do not want instead of having their wishes bypassed by the party.

    Any candidates that get a small percentage of the votes will definitely NOT get an additional seat.
    That will make some candidates try harder to explain themselves at the election.

    4 & Half Year Fixed Term Parliament means that PM will only have the advantage of budget day for alternate Parliaments.
    Parties will HAVE TO Co-operate because they cannot call a premature election.


  • Doesn’t the ability to introduce this form of proportional voting immediately count for something in the current situation? If the Commons agreed this change now, then Labour + Lib Dem would have an immediate majority, without a Rainbow discussion.
    It could be a stop-gap before a more conventional PR system. And if used knowingly for the next election (if a new system has not be organised), then people could vote for their first preference, knowing that their vote would still contribute to the overall voting strength of that party in Parliament, so less tactical than now.
    The need to get at least one MP through FPTP, would still be a hurdle reducing extemism – though it would be interesting to see the Nationalists standing candidates outside their countries to garner extra votes!

  • As PR goes I’d say this is by far the best option I’ve seen but it doesn’t address the main problem with PR. Imagine the SDLP and/or DUP gaining 100,000 from voters in England. I suspect it’s safe to say this wouldn’t go down well with Republican members of society in NI. Personally even this system needs some refinement.

  • Ellie, you say: “Your method also completely divorces the candidate from their constituency…”

    No, it doesn’t. The point is that you can use the current local voting system, i.e. every candidate has to stand in one constituency and survive FPTP. The proportional voting system only applies afterwards, when everyone gathers in parliament.

    Of course, if you don’t like FPTP, you can modify how individual MPs get elected so as to have as much or as little connection with a constituency as you want. THEN you apply proportional voting in parliament.

    Parasite, you say “You can’t just pull “sacred principles” out of the top of your head because it’s what you’d like to see.”

    Actually, I didn’t do that. What I wrote was:

    “two POSSIBLE sacred principles”
    …meaning it’s only a possibility. Furthermore:

    “Each principle has its adherents.”
    …meaning SOME people think this is a sacred principle.

    Sid Cumberland

    You wrote:
    “Caroline Lucas’ vote is worth nearly ten times a lowly Labour MP’s vote?”

    Yes, because it’s not her vote, it’s the votes of the electorate. She is carrying the entire votes of the Green party. Note, however, that the entire green party still has a tiny vote compared to, say, the entire LibDem party.

    This system gives all the importance to the party.

  • Bill Miller,

    You raise some interesting issues. I think other systems would have more difficulty handling these issues.

    BM: “(1) What happens if someone crosses the floor of the house?”

    Yes, I have wondered about this one. I suggest that if you’re being true to the proportional voting system, you can re-calculate the votes so that each party still has a total number of HoC votes proportional to the original votes in the election.

    In any other system, if someone crossed the floor of the house, the balance of power would change. This would of course not be what the electorate intended, since they wouldn’t have had a chance to vote for it.

    BM: “(5) Independents would be disadvantaged as well.”

    Interesting issue. There are at least two ways of handling it.

    1) Suppose the candidate gets in (becomes the MP). They would get a vote based on their own local support. For example, if 30 million people voted (countrywide), one percent of that would be 300,000 votes, which would make a thousand house-of-commons votes. Suppose the MP got something smaller, maybe only a tenth of that, for example 30,000 votes in the constituency. The MP would then get 100 HoC votes. This is not too different to what the main parties’ MPs would get. Notice that the MPs number of HoC votes would depend directly on the amount of support he got locally.

    2) All independents could get together to form an “independent” party. In practice, they might choose to do this. That would mean that if you (an elector) voted for an independent who didn’t get into parliament, your vote would contribute to the “independent” party, and all independent MPs would get HoC votes based on that party’s strength.

    If you choose (1), an independent MP’s votes will depend on how many votes he got in the constituency. Since some independents will not get in, some votes will be wasted, and the total strength of independents will be reduced.
    If you choose (2), all independent MPs will have the same voting strength, and their total strength will be greater.

    BM: “(4) Also what happens in a bye-election? Do you base the voting strength of the new MP on the last general election figures or on something else?”

    I think you would then update the countrywide vote, knowing the new votes for that constituency. This would then give you a new set of total votes for each party. The MPs’ votes could be re-calculated accordingly.

    BM: “(2) Some constituencies/areas would exert inordinate influence … a Lib Dem MP voting on local issues, for example. In the last parliament Cornish interests would have been over-represented when their MPs voted en block, which is hardly fair.”

    I’m not totally sure what you mean by this. Is there a situation where the house of commons would vote on an issue which directly relates to a local constituency? What did you have in mind?

    BM: “(3) It would certainly encourage smaller parties to field candidates in as many constituencies as possible to increase their overall share of the vote. I could imagine a scenario where there is success in one constituency and suddenly one, possibly extremist, MP enters the house weilding 5% off the vote. It might even encourage constituents to vote for a small party in order to gain greater influence in Westminster.”

    Now this is an interesting issue (in the case of the Greens) or a terrifying white-hot political issue (in the case of the BNP). The BNP nationally got about twice as many votes as the Greens, but are not represented since they didn’t get any candidates in. The BNP got slightly less than 2% of the vote, so I guess their total strength would be a bit less than 2,000 votes. Why did the BNP not get into parliament, whereas the Greens did get in? Maybe the FPTP system is filtering out candidates who don’t have enough local support. Possibly also the majority is responding to the BNP presence in their area and conspiring to keep them out. This would be an aspect of crowd behaviour – they have moderate preferences for one party or another, but they occasionally get together to fight something seen as a serious threat.

    I have a theory about the relative voting strengths of those two. Voters for the Greens may have had to consider that their vote may have been wasted (i.e. they may have voted for someone who didn’t get in) and therefore had to decide whether or not to vote Green. Did voters for the BNP make the same calculation? I’d guess not, but I’d like to know what they were really thinking.

    To put it differently, what would Green or BNP voters do if they knew that every vote really was not wasted? I suspect we’d get far more Green votes, but no change in BNP vote.

    As you say, this system would encourage small parties to field as many candidates as possible, to get as many votes as possible nationally and improve their chances of getting in. The simplest reaction to this is just to let them. If they have the support, they’ll get the votes.

    BM: “It might even encourage constituents to vote for a small party in order to gain greater influence in Westminster”

    I believe not, as every vote is counted equally. Your personal vote will add to any party in exactly the same way, no matter whom you vote for. Small-party MPs may have a lot of votes, but the party as a whole gets votes exactly proportional to what the electorate wanted.
    300 votes == 1 HoC vote, therefore:
    300 people voting for the Greens (or BNP) will give that party exactly one extra HoC vote.
    The same 300 people deciding to vote Labour instead will give the Labour party exactly one extra HoC vote.

  • Rosie Wadsworth 10th May '10 - 11:21pm

    I am horrified by the current attitude of all the parties how do we trust any of you? There is an agreement (so we are told) to protect the National interest! Good God (I know Nick is not a believer, but maybe he should be) where has the promise to be honest and not a King Maker. We are now looking at a possibility of having another non elected leader party politics take over again! The vote ( not mine but the democratic one was for the Torys)!

  • Andrew Suffield 11th May '10 - 12:35am

    We had this discussion a few weeks ago, with a similarly overdone plan. I’m too tired to analyse yet another and find the errors, so I’ll just point out that it is a needlessly complex variation on the well-known system of direct representation, which simply states that everybody who receives at least one vote gets elected and their voting strength is precisely the number of votes cast for them. That’s the purest form of democracy (the classical Greek one being the degenerate case where everybody votes for themselves). It’s probably impractical for the same reasons as the Greek one.

    (The first test of any proposed electoral system: if a bunch of readers on a blog can spot flaws in it, you haven’t thought this through carefully enough, and perhaps more study would help. When you understand why the Schulze method does what it does and what it defends against, then you are ready to discuss new ideas for voting systems)

  • Why is there not a law to stop non elected leaders?

  • @ Mike Ozog “Why is there not a law to stop non elected leaders?”

    Because party leaders are just the figure head for the party in general and their policies. You shouldn’t be voting for a ‘person’ anyway, you should be basing your vote on what the party represents and what they plan to do (i.e. their policies). If you are not doing that then you may as well not vote, in fact voting on something other than policies is dangerous and irresponsible

  • All this PR guff is a joke if your talking of fairness. Most of the electorate vote for Labour or Conservative, and have for years, who are happy with FPTP. Ah! you say that’s just self interest. If PR only suits Lib Dems a very minor party why should anyone else condone it. I think there is a bit of self interest going on here don’t you. Besides we’re all Tories now aren’t we?

  • Alex what total rubbish. The most prominent lettering on a voting slip is the candidates name not the party.
    The party name only indicates what the candidate MIGHT or partly stands for. No candidate is expected to agree with everything his or her party stands for. I disagree it is dangerous to vote for a candidate it is easier to approach your local candidate and find out his or her views are. I would say voting for a party is dangerous especially if the party is going to throw it’s manifesto away and join a coalition with the party you have worked hard to campaign against.

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    I'm currently disinclined to support the proposals. I'm concerned about whether the "scrutiny committee" will have a meaningful enough role: we've seen with the...
  • Matt McLaren
    Thanks Callum, I agree that the Federal Board needs to be slimmed down and that the specific proposals coming to Spring Conference do very much provide for a de...