Reform of Britain's voting system must give real power to the people
If Gordon Brown says that the alternative vote system will improve the representation of the people, he is either abysmally ignorant of how the various electoral systems work or he is a liar. The only thing that will be achieved with that system is that it will make him look as if he is doing something about our grossly undemocratic first past the post (FPTP) electoral system.
It will not stop the electoral ping-pong of FPTP between the Tory and Labour parties when, at every election, more that 50 per cent of the votes cast are wasted because they never elect anyone. You can live in a safe seat constituency, vote in every election, yet never elect an MP to represent your views. At least in Scotland, thanks to the single transferable vote, we no longer have those problems in our council elections.
It is the system that should be used for all elections, including those for the Scottish Parliament.
The recent election of two British Nationalist MEPs surely brings the whole question of proportional representation to a shuddering halt. Apathy on the part of the vast majority in England allowed the election of two BNP members, and in Scotland, where even less, under 30 per cent, bothered to turn out, the Scottish Nationalists benefited. The smaller, one-issue parties, which tend to have more zealous adherents and can get their disciples out, clearly gain.
The answer is not PR, in any form, as all of them are riddled with anomalies and we get tail-wagging-the-dog situations, as in Israel, Italy and elsewhere and now in Scotland.
The answer is compulsory voting, as applied in Australia and elsewhere. If the ballot paper has to have a "none of the above" choice, so be it.
At a stroke the apathy and tyranny of the minority would be ended.
New Cut Rigg
Gordon Brown's parliamentary reform is weary "national debate" and "consultation" waffle. Allowing constituents to recall and expel "rogue" MPs is the only measure that could be used to address public power deficit, for which reason it will never happen.
All MPs' conditions of service should be decided by the electorate, as should the method of electing them. That would be true democracy.
The same applies to the EU, which excludes the public voice. We should have the sole right to decide on such matters as adopting the euro and leaving the EU altogether.
A TaxPayers' Alliance poll showed MEPs to be seriously at odds with the UK public on such matters as having a referendum before expanding EU powers, breaking EU rules in the national interest, whether the EU is good for Britain and adopting the euro.
Politicians have had things all their own way for far too long – it's time now for real people power.
Tranent, East Lothian
Should we have a separate election for the prime minister, who would then be able to select ministers from all parties? The individual MPs would have far more power to scrutinise legislation (possibly doing away with the need for party whips). In the case of a prime minister losing the confidence of the country, there could then be an election purely for the PM. The national elections would be for set periods eg, four years, with the Lords Chamber elected with a time lapse of two years. This would be another means of avoiding overwhelming power from minority votes, and balance out any problems caused by sudden downturns etc.
(DR) EVAN L LLOYD
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