Thursday, September 08, 2011

the punkscience electoral system


I had an epiphany whilst reading this tweet from @Cunthorse. The idea behind is to help people identify the political party that best fits their political ideology. Thinking about this I realised that the same system can be used to eradicate the insidious distraction of identity politics. If people's votes were registered through a similar polling process, with questions selected to differentiate between the different parties' manifesto commitments then I can foresee three advantages over the current system:
  1. People are forced to consider the issues and cannot be distracted by personality/identity politics and scandal/emotional exploitation. This is a biggie. The insidious, antidemocratic effects of the political PR and propaganda machine would be neutralised. 
  2. Becoming engaged with the issues, instead of identities would encourage the electorate to seek accountability from politicians and parties. Manifestos could become so much more than the tawdry wishlists they currently are. People surprised to find their votes being cast for minority parties would be encouraged to follow-up this revelatory experience by looking  for the reasons why. 
  3. Any confusion associated with electoral systems that rely upon ranking of political parties would be avoided. (A minor issue but still relevant).
The insidious effects of identity politics would be permanently laid to rest if people weren't even made aware of to whom their vote had been allocated. Of course oversight of such a system would require considerably more effort from political parties and the Electoral Commission but when the health of society is at stake I think this isn't a price to quibble over. It would also demand more involvement from the electorate than the simple box-ticking paradigm that currently prevails. However, seeing how dysfunctional and undemocratic the current system has become  I see this as yet another advantage.


It may come as no surprise to both my regular readers that the results showcased on the front page of give the 2010 election to the Green Party of England and Wales, of whom I am a member.

As Johann has written, "Britain is a country with a large liberal-left majority". Our pseudo-democratic political system doesn't represent it. If you want a real say in how your country is run it must be changed. 

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