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Ban Party Lists at Elections

Comment 5th August 2010

For some types of election votes get to choose between Party LIsts. This is profoundly undemocratic. Voters who are, say, left-leaning, cannot diffrentiate between a hard left idealist and a compromising pragmatist, whatever their preference.

Instead of decisions about which person is elected being made by 30,000 voters (or whatever), the decision is made by a selection committee of perhaps 12. Worst case the reality is that the Selection Committee Organiser effectively puts the list together on his or her own. The top candidate is guaranteed to be elected. The 20th placed is guaranteed not to.

If a prospective candidate upsets the wrong person a jumped up Party Discipline rule is invoked to get them suspended, and Hey Presto, they don't get on the list. Party machines have favourites and will do anything to displace who is at the top of the list and gettheir candidate there. Thatcher and Blair were outsiders would never have been high on a List (OK, bad example). Churchill was seen as a troublemaker past his prime – a List system would have put Chaimberlain clones above him.

It's a scheme that Danton would have loved during The Terror period of the French Revolution. Or Stalin.

Why does this matter?

Party Lists put too much power in too few hands.

Voters must have the power to choose named individuals, even if usually they vote on party lines.

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