Monday, May 09, 2005

Habeas PR

As a result of the British election, various sources are noting that the Tories should back electoral reform. I find it interesting how in that country so many people think Proportional Representation is a moral necessity for true democratic representation, and believe the ruling party to be unquestionably cynical when it does not advance it – compared to us, so proud in our spirit of democracy, but happily accepting the electoral college, the Senate, and no rights for DC.

Anyway, this current rhetoric matches pretty closely with the “Labour should back PR” that was spouted during the 90’s. The non-PR system only seems to reduce the representation of the opposition party – it does not actually make either of the two main parties less likely to earn a majority. Both parties seem to have that in mind, and I doubt it’s ever going to go anywhere.

But still, let us have a moment of silence for the British system. I regularly lament for how much more democratic it is than our system, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. I think things are fine currently because as things stand currently, the country voted for a leftist majority (60% for Labour and Liberal combined) but also an Iraqi war majority (70% for Labour and Tory combined). But the less a system respects the spirit of democracy, the worse the various unintended consequences can get. Their non-PR system easily breeds apathy, a-principled voting, and could certainly put into power a government that doesn't reflect the majority of the people.


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