From the Electoral Reform Society's recent report (p. 33):
The Single Transferable Vote has long been the ERS’ preferred
electoral system... [It] has many advantages. Firstly, it tends to produce broadly proportional
election results. But it combines this with powerful constituency
representation and ties. Voters’ ability to influence who represents them,
both in terms of parties and candidates, is incredibly strong.
Due to this strong link, representatives are incentivised towards
a high level of constituency service*. A 1997 study found that Irish
TDs were far more active in their constituencies than British MPs,
while a recent ERS report showed how election campaigns in
Ireland are highly localised partly as a result of the voting system.
- htp: Danny Lawson on "The Conversation" website:
*It is for this reason that I "voted Labour" in the last General Election. I was not voting Labour: I was voting for Jess Phillips, who is the only MP I've had in over 30 years who has shown any active interest in the constituents; and against the previous LibDem MP, who gave me the runaround when I wanted a simple question asking in Parliament.
Some argue these days for "direct democracy", but its proponents appear to assume that the people are (a) broadly agreed on many issues and (b) willing to go along with a narrowly-carried motion with which they disagree. I haven't seen much evidence to support either assumption, recently.
So I would like to see a representative democracy, but one that is made more responsive to the constituents. We've seen far too much political absentee-landlordism and over-focusing on "the swing voter in the swing seat" - the ERS points out that 533 extra votes in key marginals would have given the Conservatives a majority in the current UK Parliament!
Relevant previous Broad Oak posts: