Friday, April 15, 2011

Proportionalised AV

One of the problems I have with Proportional Representation is that you vote for a Party rather than an individual; ah but that flaw has been addressed. Rather than use a closed list you use an open list, the voters can now rank the candidates within the Party list or heck even outside the list. That's great except that's the system the PR people are asking us to vote against - it's called AV.

Okay not quite. The AV system we're voting about is to elect just one individual, what they're talking about is using it to elect multiple people and this brings me to my second problem with the PR system - it only works for a larger area. We're not going to get two MPs for Wyre Forest, but we could end up with 28 for the West Midlands.

Well so what, same difference isn't it? Not quite, regions differ especially in population. Imagine you have one half of the area highly populated and the other half less so. If each previous district first preference vote their local candidate (if there even is one) those from the more highly populated areas are more likely to get in. As this is proportional if the high population is well split then just the top candidates from each Party may be the only ones to get a seat and that's all from the highly populated side simply by sheer numbers. Again so what they're the majority that's what the majority want.

Now take a look at the West Midlands area. We have 6 MEPs for this area elected by the entire area under proportional representation. Now look at the addresses they give. Admittedly possibly head offices, but hopefully the one they each consider as their 'local'. We see Birmingham, Coventry, and Stratford-upon-Avon; all on the eastern-most border of the West Midlands falling along the major population centres. From a Euro perspective might as well stamp "Here be dragons" on 90% of the area.

Consider what would happen if we declared Wales one large Parliamentary Constituency. Does anyone think that the majority of 'representatives' for the entire area won't fall along the Cardiff/Swansea borders?

This isn't something that only affects PR it's part of FPTP and AV too, but because each of those has been dealing with a smaller area the urban/rural split is far less pronounced. Expand the area, and you expand the difference and with PR you have to expand the area.

PR - less accountable, more isolated.