Is Proportional Representation an answer?

This article prompted me to post on this subject.

It would depend what the question is but if it is answer to the recent controversy over expenses, I think that this is a red herring.  This is one of those issues where my views have remained constant from when I was a teenage member of the Labour Party to now as a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate.

I accept that the First Past the Post system is not perfect but I still maintain that it is the least worst of all the options.  Despite the recent disasterous behaviour and subsequent stories about MPs, I still fundamentally believe in someone being elected to represent a defined geographical area.  Those people can be removed at an election if the electorate are not happy with them.

I am not supportive of Multi-Member systems either.

Interesting to note of another issue where Alan Keen and I agree!

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2 Responses to “Is Proportional Representation an answer?”

  1. Mark Savage Says:

    The first past the post system is good in parts, Councillor Bowen.

    I’d agree with you that MPs should be represented to a defined geographical area. Since the 1832 Great Reform Act, generally speaking this aspect has worked well, with local accountability both during and between election campaigns.

    The problem is, at present there is often a conflict where, by default, people are effectively forced to support a party at national level as well as locally- when in reality, they may well favour the local candidate as an individual, who may well be best for the area in terms of his or her understanding of its communities and needs. But that doesn’t automatically equate with a preference for the said candidate’s parties polices at national level.

    I knew an excellent constituency MP on the South Coast whose views I supported on many issues such as animal welfare- but I would not have been seen dead putting my name against his party’s “ticket” at a general election!

    You may or may not be the best candidate yourself to succeed Alan Keen next year. Certainly your record on local issues, most of the time, has been commendable, and far beyond what I have witnessed from any other local councillors in Feltham North over the years I have voted in the constitutency. But your skills as a local councillor may have little to do with your party affiliation, and just as much to do with your understanding (most of the time- with certain poor exceptions I won’t mention here) of local people. That’s more to do with personal qualities than party politics- isn’t it?

    Until voters have an opportunity to vote both on the merits of an individual local candidate, as well as having a chance to vote on national issues, we lack a truly representative democracy, in my view.

  2. Mark Bowen Says:

    An interesting point of view and thank you for the kind remarks. I like to think I have had some success at engaging with people who are not Conservatives.

    I do recall the time when I went to live in Woolwich not long after John Cartwright had lost his seat. Even in 1992, when he stood as an independent after the demise of the SDP, he only just lost and loads of Conservative and Labour people voted for him because he was such a good constituency MP.

    Out of interest, do you have a preferred system? I do not think that FPTP is perfect but I do think that it is the least worst option.

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