Let me preface this entire post by saying I’m not a politician, but a concerned voter. This may well be total gibberish. Be gentle!
Those who object to a hung parliament on the basis of “the party with most seats or votes” are missing a fundamental point. It is also time to re-examine exactly what a Party is!
There is already a chance to reform the basis we use to form a Parliament UNDER EXISTING RULES, so let’s take it and start the rest of the process.
Parties (in terms of the Houses of Parliament) are made up of members who were individually voted into office in their constituencies. These individuals campaigned on a generally common manifesto, but also on specific, local matters and issues of personal importance to them.
Whatever reason they were voted for, they count towards some notional total number for each Party. But the overall Party is made up of many individuals who “on average” agree with the common manifesto – and it is the whips who ensure that they are punished if they demonstrate what areas they disagree on.
Parties themselves ARE COALITIONS. There is absolutely NO REASON to think that two different parties could not agree on a common manifesto (based on their election pledges) and therefore keep a government afloat through key votes.
So why do I think Nick Clegg is wrong (as it has been presented so far)?
He has said he would give preference to “the party which wins the most seats and votes”. Why?
The basis we use for selecting a “winner” is a majority (50%+) of seats in the House of Commons. Like it or not, that is how it works. But, if no party has that majority, how might we decide between them?
If two or more parties can find common ground for their own Coalition Manifesto, and achieve a majority of seats that way, why should they not form the government?
Finding that common ground is not simply about the number of seats each party got, but about whether they share a platform as presented to their voters in the election.
It is also about whether, based on that common platform, they can truly say they represent a majority of VOTERS, not seats. That is what we want from electoral reform.
Yes, Clegg could be sidelining a party that got the most votes, but together with others (specifically Labour), he’d could not only help to create a platform with a majority of seats, but also more than 50% of the total votes of the country on his side.Nick Clegg. Don’t do a deal to prop-up the old-fashioned model of politics, look to find a way to respect the individual votes in the country. If that means a deal with the Conservatives, so be it, but do it for the right reason.
Whatever happens, this has to be the first step in broader electoral reform, don’t give that up!