It’s a wet and miserable morning here in Normandy, and I have been listening to the radio. Lots of politicians banging on about a general election.
I am registered as an overseas voter in my old constituency in Derbyshire. My MP does not count the votes but weighs them, so a vote for any other party does not really have any impact.
Thinking about the election in 2015 ( ? ) Ukip polled 4mill votes and got 1 MP, the Greens received 1 mill and also got 1 MP.
Now we have the two major parties obsessed about " The will of the people " Is it not time to review a political system that may have worked in 1850 with the Whigs and Tories, but is no longer fit for purpose and does not reflect the current state of politics.
As the drizzle got harder, I thought what could you replace it with, and I came across this explanation of the German system.
The German system is a mix or FPTP and PR. in a general election every eligible citizen gets two votes, one for the person he wants to represent his constituency in the Bundestag, and one for the party of his choice. Therefore if someone is a die-hard SPD (Labour) voter but likes the local CDU/CSU (Conservative) MP, which would be a real dilemma in the UK, there is no problem. He can vote for both, and both votes count.
Here is how it works (figures are made simple to keep things simple). The Bundestag has around 600 seats (this can change according to how people vote.) and there are 300 constituencies. the persons with the most votes in each constituency (ie in the FPTP part of the ballot) are guaranteed a seat in the Bundestag. Therefore each constituency choses its representative, just as in the UK system. Now the PR part comes into play. The remaining 300 seats are allocated to the parties according to their percentage share of the national vote. So say the CDU/CSU have 50% of the total national vote and have 180 (60%) of the 300 seats reserved for constituency MPs. To achieve the 50% they got in the PR part of the vote they would get 120 of the 300 seats reserved for parties. Therefore in total they have 50%, or 300, of the seats in the Bundestag and yet every constituency which voted for a CDU/CSU candidate got one.
The only stipulation for the PR part of the allocation is that the party must have over 5% of the national vote. This is why the surge for the AfD made such a difference in the last election. Previously the AfD had only one or two constituencies and therefore only a couple of seats in the Bundestag but in the last election they got 12.6% (exactly the same as UKIP in the 2015 UK GE) and so got 13% or 82 seats.
I think this seems a good system as it maintains the constituency link, but reflects the overall vote, and every vote does count.
I know turkeys do not vote for Christmas, but something has to change as trust in Mp’s and the system seems to be disappearing down the plughole.
Sorry a bit of a long and heavy post for a Thursday morning, but what do you think.
Hope it’s sunny where you are