Although I support first past the post as the best way to elect the UK’s ruling party, I would like to add to it.
We vote for parties, with those votes being taken by those parties to represent votes for the entire manifesto. Today, printed and broadcast media plus social media has massively increased our awareness of particular issues, the environment, the NHS, etc. The problem this creates is that sometimes an issue someone cares about is at odds with the manifesto of the party that person prefers in general and votes for. This situation occurs with increasing frequency, because of increasing access to information from the media, and the explosion in social media use. It is also cumulative over time, meaning our increasing interest in particular issues is itself now becoming an issue, an issue of representation.
What I propose is that everyone gets two votes in general elections. The first vote would be for their constituency MP, using first past the post, as now. The second vote would be for what I call a ‘single issue’ party, using a form of nationwide proportional representation.
There is a boundary reform coming up that will reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600. My suggestion, using those numbers as an example, is to fill those seats with 50 MPs representing single issue parties.
It would be up to the individual parties to declare themselves as constituency parties or single issue parties. They could not be both. There are obvious fits for both types of party, constituency and single issue. Some parties fit to one type or the other. For example, the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dems would obviously be constituency parties . Parties like ‘Save our NHS’ and CISTA are obviously, to me anyway, single issue parties. Others are somewhere in the middle and would have to choose.
Single issue MPs would differ from constituency MPs in two ways.
They would not be allowed to vote in the House. The reason for this is to prevent them from being able to skew the balance of the constituency MPs when voting, to avoid complex coalition type tactics and outcomes.
To balance this, they would be guaranteed a seat on the committee of their choice, the committees where the details and effects of bills are hammered out.
Therefore I think there are strong plus sides to becoming a an MP for a single issue party
- They have influence where it matters, the committees.
- Not having a constituency gives them more time to focus on and move forward the issue they were elected on.
- It is a route for a new party to establish its presence more easily then now. Later on, as and when the new party gained general popularity, it could decide to switch from being a single issue type party to become a constituency based party, or back, at any general action.
- They would have equal speaking rights in the House. Very useful, as it is televised, allowing the MPs supporters to watch them ‘in action'.
That’s it. Any thoughts?