The first #electoralreform and why Nick Clegg might be wrong #ge2010

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!

  • shjoneswines
    May 7, 2010

    Only one issue with what you are saying, and that is that it doesn’t look like the combined forces of Labour / Lib Dems will get that majority. What we need from Nick Clegg is a decision that he feels is the best decision for the country. He may have to put aside partisanship to do that, and it may be costly to him, but what we need right now as a country is leadership, hope, direction and a way out of our financial mess. He needs to sit down, talk to both parties and work out what is best for the electorate and not what is best for Nick Clegg, or for the Liberals or which will give him the electoral reform that he wants – the party that he thinks is going to generate more jobs, more income for the government at least cost to those who can’t afford it. On that basis I’m hoping for a Convervative Government – purely because the quickest way out of the hole is to buy yourself out of it, but if you take money out of cash generation then there is less cash to take out in six months time. We need the banks, businesses and other institutions to start making shed loads of money, as quickly as they can and THAT is the quickest way out of our mess. IMHO!!!

    May 7, 2010

    As an American citizen and a “liberal Democrat” I have been disappointed in the outcome of your election, simply because Nick Clegg appeared to offer the same refreshing boldness that Barak Obama promised to America. That said, UK voters have had their say and it appears that Clegg might have been more popular with the press than he was with the populace. However, Clegg and his Liberal Democrat contingent can yet play a very important role as moderators, softening the sharper edges of what may likely be an aggressive Conservative thrust. For the time being, that may be all Clegg can do and I hope he quickly comes to grips with the fact that it is an important role.While we currently have a two-party system, we may soon have a third political movement, an ultraconservative Tea Party. Our nation needs to seriously consider our electoral system before that happens; I suspect that UK citizens may want to spend the coming months evaluating whether their system truly reflects the will of the majority.

  • Robert McIntosh
    May 7, 2010

    What offers are real though?It will be interesting to see what Clegg and the Lib Dems decide. I think the Conservative offer is VERY suspect, but it is an offer and if well negotiated could be interesting. As I say, I’m not wholly against it, but it needs to be done for the right reason – i.e. for the reason that 23% voted for the Lib Dem manifesto so that in future their votes, and voices, will count properly.Nick Clegg is still a Party leader, he does still have to consider issues of importance to the Party (he was elected by them for that), but statesmanlike behaviour can only be good for all.I don’t agree that we need to do this quickly. I think markets will prefer a proper deal than a quick fudge, and it gives time to look at all the options.One of those options COULD be by a Labour party with a brand new leader and cabinet, with a “change” manifesto and a generous co-leadership offer to the Lib Dems. That would be very interesting. Together they do have a greater number of seats than the Tories AND more than 50% of the popular vote. Someone’s going to have to move VERY quickly for that though!It has been an exhausting day for me as a voter, I can only start to imagine what they must be feeling.Good luck to them, and us, all