Via the BBC:
Justice Minister Michael Wills backed the current “first-past-the-post” system after the publication last week of a review of various alternatives.
But he told MPs he hoped it would stimulate debate on the issue.
Critics say the minister is keeping the door open for a deal with the Lib Dems in the event of a hung parliament.
(I am not sure why that is a “criticism,” but whatever.)
More from the BBC piece:
Speaking earlier on Tuesday in the Commons, Labour MP Richard Burden questioned what form the electoral reform “debate” would take – and called for it to be thrown open to the public.
“Is there not now a case for asking voters themselves about what kind of electoral systems can best contribute to different forms of politics and what they want to see from our political system in this country?” asked Mr Burden.
What a crazy idea: Engage the voters in a democracy. Clearly Mr Burden is a dangerous radical.1
Back to BBC:
The government’s review of voting systems found that although PR had increased the number of parties represented in devolved assemblies it had confused some voters.2
The idea of a debate on the electoral system has been broached. Wherever it goes from here, even that much is good news.5
Thanks to Tom L. for notifying me via e-mail.
- I thought the whole point of plurality voting was to keep such wackos out of our legislatures, so they could not be a burden on the efficiency of government. [↩]
- Any system can confuse voters if not well designed and if voter education is not made a priority. The clearest case of “confusion” with PR in the UK that I know of was the recent election in Scotland where, probably for the first time anywhere, voters were at once asked to give a categoric candidate vote and a party-list vote for regional assembly, and a ranked-choice vote for local offices. That indeed could be confusing, but is very fixable. [↩]
- That is an asset, not a flaw. [↩]
- No guarantees, indeed, but I believe the weight of the evidence is that PR does increase turnout, other things equal. [↩]
- Of course, Blair promised a referendum during the 1997 campaign. We are still waiting… [↩]