THE OF COURSE, I COULD BE CHIN WAGGING…DISCUSSION OF THE DAY

The recent elections in the United Kingdom were conducted according to the first past the post voting system. This resulted in the party winning the most seats (the Conservatives) only polling 38% of the vote. The other two major parties (Liberal and Labour) polled 52% of the vote between them and smaller parties picked up 10% of the vote even though those who voted for them knew there was absolutely no chance of any of the smaller parties getting enough seats to form a government.

Obviously, although the first past the post voting system may usually result in a "strong" government it is not a satisfactory way of reflecting the wishes of the electorate and, on most occasions, not even the wishes of the majority of the electorate.

Sure enough, the Liberal Party, who always lose out under the present electoral system in the UK, are seeking to make electoral reform part of the next governments legislation in their coalition negotiations taking place at the moment. Two different alternatives to the present system have been muted - the alternative vote system and proportional representation. Both have their supporters, as does the first passed the post system. All three have their faults and disadvantages.

So, is there a fair method of choosing a government? Or should we give up on democracy and opt for benign dictatorship?


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