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Abolish Elections !

Comment 3rd August 2010

Seriously, abolish Elections.

General Elections that is. I want freedom from short-term top-go management of the economy and politicians who support leaders and policies well past their sell-by dates because they know that if The Leader falls there will be a General Election, and thy too will fall.

Abolish crude system where an MP elected with a majority of 1 in a constituency where the vote was split 3 ways and turnout was low, has exactly the same weight as one with a clear absolute majority of the registered electorate.

Make votes cast against a guaranteed winner count for something.

Give supporters of a surefire winning party motivation to turn out or stay at home.

Here's how it works.

An MP elected with over 50% of the Registered Electorate is elected for 5 years.

An MP elected with 50% of the Votes Cast, but less than 50% of the Registered Electorate, is elected for 4 years.

An MP elected with less than 50% of the Votes Cast, for example where the vote is a Split Vote, is elected for 3 years,

In each calendar year there is a set Planned Election Day when MPs whose number of years is up see their constituents get another vote.  Usuallt this will be about the same time of year, but circumstances may make it sensible to change the date – floods, storms, volcanic ash, Olympics.

This way MPs who barely scape into Parliament can only claim a mandate for 3 years, ones who clearly represent their constituents can carry on for a full 5 years.  After each Mini-Election it would be clear if the previous Government still had a working majority.

Governments would change gradually, rather than do damaging full 180-degree turns every few years.

Voters would longer be afraid of voting the way they really want to. They might support a Party but loathe the local Candidate – today they vote for a candidate they loath because they don't want the other party to run the Country. In future they might be confident that whatever the result, the Government will not change in the next 12 months, allowing Local Voters to apply pressure to their Local Party to choose a candidate with Local Support rather than have a narrow clique of activists and Head Office impose a swivel-eyed idealogue.

In a typical year about 200 seats would be up for grabs, rather than the full 600-650. Poorly performing MPs and unpopular ones would soon get the message and work harder to represent their public. A strength of this idea is simplicity – apart from length of tenure, all MPs are equal – there are no fractional or weighted votes.

And if a Government totally fouled up and was unable to govern, there is nothing to stop a General Election being called, it just would not be routine and automatic. 3 years later gradualism would re-assert itself.

Make MPs more responive, stop abrupt policy reversals every 4 or 5 years. Elect MPs for variable terms.

Why does this matter?

Too much Government policy in the past 50 years has revolved around massaging public feelgood factors to kick in before elections.

Putting every MP up for re-election at the same time produces wasteful policy reversals.

Putting every MP up for re-election at the same time inhibits voters from expressing their real preferences.

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