Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

On party politics

Originally posted as a comment to a post at the Local Democracy blog, a brief summary of my dislike of the British system of government/elections. The prime reason why I am still not sure if I’m going to bother to vote in the upcoming EU elections is precisely for the reasons stated below – I don’t like any UK political party. At general and local elections it’s easy – I vote for a candidate. The way EU elections work in the UK, I won’t get that choice when voting for an MEP – I only get to vote for a party.

Anyway, here’s my brief summary of what I don’t like about party politics:

I continue to hate party politics with a passion. Even ignoring the distortions that have come about thanks to whipping and politicians’ reliance on party funds, Labour and Conservatives alike (and arguably the Lib Dems too) really aren’t parties in the old sense any more anyway. There’s no real unifying ideology, just vast coalitions with hugely disparate, often contradictory beliefs, brought together merely by the pursuit of power. What we need is not party politics, but a return to factionalism – lots more smaller, focussed groupings based on clearly-stated beliefs, aims and policy positions. That would give voters a broader, clearer choice, and give a far better indication of just what it is the public is voting for at elections.

But, of course, with first past the post such a system will never come about. It needs a decent system of proportional representation – something hard enough to sell at the best of times, let alone the day after an Israeli general election…

And for proportional representation knockers, my preferred method is something like the single transferable vote system. It’s got a few problems, for sure, but fewer than FPTP in my books. Plus it’s got a good track record.

(For more on electoral reform – including a handy explanation of why Israel’s system of proportional representation is not *ahem* representative of PR as a whole, for when you see Israeli election chaos used in anti-PR arguments – check out the long-running and rather good Make My Vote Count blog.)