In defence of First-Past-the-Post.

Write a few comments on how we vote and suffer the outrage of readers. Write about something serious and it’s ‘ho-hum.’ It’s not fair, you know. Last week I was called, among other nasties: “The finest mind in the 16th Century.” All I did was comment on the foolishness of Toronto city council considering ranked voting.

Fairs, fair, folks. I think people should at least pass an examination on the various common voting systems before they are allowed to malign those of us who have devoted time and interest in looking at how other countries vote. Europe and the Middle East are easy. The Scandinavian countries’ governments are a snore, the German Reichstag confusing, the Israeli Knesset a disaster and, surprisingly, the French have done the most experimentation. The English system for the Mother of Parliaments, has not been all that exciting since they abolished the two-member rotten boroughs in 1832.

A country’s voting system is at the core of its democracy. It has to be fair, easy to understand and transparent. Where we go wrong is when the politicians we elect, see it as an opportunity to serve their party’s ideology instead of the needs of the citizens.

The best and the worst thing we do under our parliamentary system is to vote for one person. If we vote for the very best person to represent us in parliament, we can be winners. If we vote for the village idiot because he or she represents a particular party, we deserve the problems that ensue.

That is what is wrong with most proportional representation voting systems. While you get to choose the party leader, you are leaving the choice of individuals in government to the party. You are giving up your right to direct input to your government.

Always remember the old saying about democracy, that it is not the easiest form of government and probably not the most efficient. It is just better than any of the alternatives.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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