Wednesday, 22 February 2012

We are not going to the

polls yet. We are not due for an election for another eighteen months. Whether the minority government can hold on that long is another question.
It has managed so far, more by good luck than good management. The "independents" keep it there. There is nothing very "independent" about the "independents". At least some of them seem to be more concerned with preserving their own jobs than anything else. They know that, barring electoral miracles, they will not be returned at the next election.
I have no doubt that, for the electorates, electing them seemed a good idea at the time. Here was someone who was prepared to be "independent"? We do not need to vote for one of the major parties? Well, we will give you a chance.
Part of the problem with this however is that those elected did not look (or refused to look) at the voting patterns in their electorates. It would have told them more about what their electorate wanted if they did not win. After all, it was preferences that got them there. Some would say they had a duty to consider those.
Preferential voting is supposed to be "fairer". It is supposed to give electors a chance to say, "If I cannot have "A" candidate then I would like "B" candidate. The "first past the post" vote says "A and nothing but A".  Right.
There is another problem of course. Our electoral system has "compulsory preferential voting".  In order to make your first vote count then you must mark all the other boxes in order of preference. So if you happen to be pro-Wibble you can mark that with a one but if there is also an anti-Wibble candidate you need to mark your preference to that too in among the pro-and-anti-Wibble candidate, the extreme-anti-Wibble, the not-so-extreme-Wibble etc. 
It is all very confusing. Many people vote on personalities rather than policies. Someone "sounds nice" or sells themselves more effectively. Elections are not about selling policies but about selling personalities. Parties rely on past history or myths to gain support. The fine print of their policies is not read. If it is read then it is not understood. The policies may only stay in place long enough to gain power. Once there government is not accountable - at least until the next election and power allows you to manipulate policy anyway.
Elections, even our elections, can be manipulated - and they do get manipulated. Politics is about power, not about people. It is a very dirty business.
Yes, I am more than a little jaded this morning but, should you be reading this do tell me - is preferential voting preferable, or would you prefer first past the post?


Donna Hosie said...

There is nothing very "independent" about the "independents

Isn't that the truth.

widdershins said...

First past the post is horrendous.

In our last fedral election just about 33% of the people eligible voted, and out of that an even smaller percentage voted in the Conservatives (like the Libs there only more like the US Republicans)with a 'majority'.

It sucks!

jeanfromcornwall said...

First past the post is only an approximation of democracy, but compulsory preferential is even worse. Seems to me specifically designed to give the least desired result.
My opinion is that wishing to stand for parliament, or other high office, should be enough of a personality indicator to disqualify a person. That is why I liked the large hereditary contingent in our upper house - they were a random lot who had the office dumped on them by accident of birth, and most of them - due to not inheriting the title till well on in life, had some practice at real life, outside of politics. They could inject a welcome note of common sense at times! Also they were not doing it for a living.

JO said...

We're first past the post in the UK - and a referendum shouted down any system of proportional representation. But the two big parties have so much invested in first past the post that no one really put the alternative clearly.

And it has given us a coalition in which the liberals are so busy sucking up to the Tories that every liberal principal has disappeared.

Anything has to be better than this!