06 April 2009

Independent Commission Urged STV for UK in 2006

While the Single Transferable Vote, which is coming up for referendum in British Columbia on May 12th, was not the only recommendation of the UK's Power commission, it was the key one. Other recommendations include:
  • lowering the voting age to 16,
  • a £10,000 ($18,000 Cdn - !!!) limit on individual donations to parties,
  • decentralising power from central to local government,
  • curbs on the powers of party whips,
  • more powers for select committees to hold ministers to account, and
  • tighter rules on media ownership.

The commission's 311-page Power to the People report "bluntly warns politicians they must learn from the success of single-issue pressure groups which shows that people have disengaged from parties rather than political issues."

I've been trying to get that point across to people over here. It's not just that people here also have disengaged from parties, but that they have been disengaging from the system altogether. Hence, decreasing voter turnout. Over the past several elections, the choices of 60 percent of voters have achieved no representative result whatsoever. We might as well have stayed at home.

The commission, chaired by the QC and Labour peer Helena Kennedy, calls for an end to the first-past-the post voting system - the goal of The Independent's Campaign for Democracy launched last May after Labour won a majority of 67 with only 35 per cent of the votes cast and the support of just 22 per cent of the electorate.... [The report] demands a new electoral system "to ensure that all votes count by having some influence on the final outcome of an election." Although it does not propose a specific method, it suggests its goals could be met by the single transferable vote system in which voters mark candidates in order of preference....

Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws said: "Politics and government are increasingly in the hands of privileged elites as if democracy has run out of steam. Too often citizens are being evicted from decision-making - rarely asked to get involved and rarely listened to. As a result, they see no point in voting, joining a party or engaging with formal politics.

"Parliament has had many of its teeth removed and government is conducted from Downing Street."

Sound familiar?

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