Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Workers of the World Unite and # Idea 111 is Voting Systems

May 1st
When we lived in France it was pretty much the one day in the year  that things stopped and historically it is known as International Workers Day but in the UK (and much of Europe) it has been a celebration prior to this as a quarter day associated with the arrival of spring.

Now that the working classes are no longer seen as the salt of the earth and we have become aspirational in our desires for status and worldly goods the celebrations associated with a working class movement are far rarer.

All the 1s -Idea 111 is Voting Systems

Following on from democracy (yesterday and also ahead of many local UK elections) it is worth looking at how representatives in our governments and councils are elected.
It Athens where the constituent was measured in thousands it was possible to have an engaged population who would debate and vote but with the growth of population, widening of the electorate has meant that we delegate our democratic rights to MPs and councillors (in England), these 'stand' on a manifesto which is put to the people who choose a representative.
In England we have (mainly) a first past the post system for National Assemblies/devolved parliaments  a more complex system is used.
The advantage  that some people see to 'first past the post' is that it tends to produce strong stable governments (particularly when there are  2 main political parties) but in the multi-party world  (Cons, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP for example) the danger is that a party that most people do not like can have control as the opposition is split. This has leads to transferable vote systems where a second and third choice can be made.
In the UK parliament the government is formed by a majority of MPs agreeing to support a party (or parties in the present coalition).
In the USA a very different form of selection is used.
Nice explanation from the Electoral Reform guys here (as you might expect).