Following the discussion of how broken our system is and that PR isn’t a solution, I offer the following.. It isn’t mine, so I copy and paste it below. It’s an interesting idea.

Here’s my suggestion for electoral reform, if anyone cares.
First, stick with FPTP. It works better than any other system at chucking out incumbents — and chucking them out is what a democratic system is really for, far more important than putting them in.
But also count the total national votes, and have a series of thresholds relating to vote count and seat numbers. For instance (and these numbers are just illustrative examples off the top of my head; the actual numbers would need finessing), any party that gets 5% of the vote is entitled to 30 seats, 7% to 50, and so on.
So, a party that got 5% of the vote and 35 seats would have met that target, so no further action required. But a party that got 5% of the vote and only 10 seats would be granted another 20 seats.
These extra seats would be appointed from the party’s constituency candidates, prioritised in an order declared in advance of the election — like a party list, but each still answerable to a constituency.
. Some constituencies would end up with two MPs, most with one. Not convinced this is a huge problem. Northern Irish constituencies already have multiple MLAs, and that seems to work OK.
. Could end up with some MPs who had been thoroughly rejected by their own constituency’s electorate.
. We wouldn’t know in advance of election night how many seats were required for a majority. This is a problem for politicians and pundits, not the public, so it’s arguably more of a pro than a con.
. Keeps all the good aspects of FPTP while making it possible for small parties to gain a significant foothold.
. Fixes the undemocratic unfairness of results like last night’s; gives the electorate the representation they vote for.
. Does not lead to party lists full of unremovable MPs.
. Gives no possible abusable advantage to large established parties.
. Continues the fine British tradition of bolting extra bits on to the Constitution wherever it’s gone a bit wobbly, rather than the disastrous and frankly crass Continental method of burning everything down and replacing it with something completely designed by intellectuals.
Of course, this will never happen. But it is a good idea nonetheless.


  1. If I understand this correctly there would be additional MPs on top of the 650 that we already have. I’m not sure that having more of them is a good thing, I would rather see a reduction. This could be achieved by removing Welsh and Scottish MPs from the UK parliament and instead having an English Parliament. Let the English, Scottish and Welsh run their own affairs and have representatives of the three parliaments get together a few times a year to discuss matters that are relevant to all three.

  2. Commented on previous thread before reading this one.
    Reposting my solution from there below .

    We kick out everyone in the Lords, currently stuffed with placemen by parties, and have an elected house of Lords. One with teeth that can’t have stuff forced through by the Commons.
    This elected second house can then review legislation from the commons and be fully elected by PR.
    (Personally I’d go for the Single Transferrable Vote system as it’s the least shit of the PR systems).

  3. It’s not the voting system, it parties.

    What is a political party?

    It is essentially a mill that grinds every last atom of honesty, decency, probity, patriotism, rationality etc etc, and probably every last atom of humour and intelligence too out candidates. What is left is the uber chaff of mindless programmed drones.

    This is perhaps a bit harsh, but good, honest MPs – yes, they do exist – are, for most practical purposes, excluded from ministerial posts. After all, can’t have anybody upsetting the chaff from that other remorseless mill of mediocrity – the civil service.

    While there was general silence during the election, afterwards some of the people I know have started to talk. “He’s basically quite good, but sorry, he’s a tory so I just couldn’t” was something I’ve heard a few times.

    Political parties were never always like this of course, neither was the civil service. I’m not sure when the rot set in, but, like everything else corrosive to this country and civilization generally, B-liar was the 10000 becquerel dose that turned it into a terminal cancer (although in the case of the civil service, it may have been a lot earlier when the tenth worst British prime minister in history, Heath – although maybe der sturmer might have something to say about this [the first nine, of course, being B-liar] – had teh civil service cover his disgusting lying, fraudulent treason).

    Sorry peeps, but all discussions of voting systems are essentially moot. it doesn’t matter the recipe. If all that’s available is rancid butter, rotten eggs, weevil infested, stale flour and sour milk, the cake ain’t gonna fly!

    As for the house of “lords”. If “baroness” doreen lawrence (deliberately not capitalised), deserves it (and an OBE!!) could somebody please explain why the major from Fawlty towers isn’t there as well?

    • I agree regarding parties as it has adverse consequences. My solution has always been something along the lines of the Athenian model. However if you are going to get people to take five years out of their lives, then there needs to be significant change. For starters, like councillors, they should be part time and paid decently for their effort. That they are selected and not willing volunteers makes such people ideal for the job as it destroys the career politician and there is no party loyalty, nor professional agitators and lobbyists getting in on the act – at least not as they are now, anyway. The downside is that the apparatus below is still there. so that would need massive reform as well. But first, we kill all the professional politicians and top three tiers of the civil service.

      As an aside, but related, the papers were crowing over the election of the first MP who was born in this century as if this was something to celebrate. This child has had no life experience, but is now presuming to pass laws that adversely affect those of us who know far more about the consequences of the insane legislation that pours out of Westminster like diarrhoea. That would be another change I’d make. A minimum age limit and a minimum requirement to have had a proper career outside of politics. When you’ve been on the receiving end of insane legislation, you have the right to sit on the green benches.

      • I’m in Hastings and Rye and the labour MP (only the second apparently) is 30 (the labour share of the vote was actually down by 0.8% but reform ensured a tory loss, so it’s my fault I suppose).

        “role with international charity slave, sorry, save the Children, working in refugee camps in Bangladesh and the war zone in Yemen”. I’m sure that’s what clinched it.

        This is what constitutes a labour MP these days! (or a tory or a limp dump). That is to say a pliant and unthinking drone.

        I’m sure she’s a nice lass and would be pleasant to talk to, but if I were to stray off the proscribed script of allowable opinions, I wonder how long she would remain so.

        Der Sturmer (for now) and the zoo have a huge majority and they will be there for the duration – whether they like it or not.

        I honestly think that reform are the bellweather of a sea change to come and it should be on us in time for the next election.

        I am not at all convinced that this zoo is fundamentally any different from the shower of shite they just replaced, I’m really not. Look at what the tories have actually done in the last ten years. How much more anti-British and spiteful can Der Sturmer’s lying circus actually be? (I’m sure they’ll try)

        But there is a fly in the ointment and the previously unspoken will now be spoken – from within wastemonster. And not just the Nige. A couple of pieces of islamofilth are now MPs. So when the Saruman of stupidity recognises “Palestine” (whatever that actually is), with a bit of luck these two courteous and worldly paragons of reason and virtue will be present (I hope they don’t do a Sinn Fein).

        I’m rather looking forward to this. I do hope it happens.

  4. Whinging Poms whining about the Scots “leeching off us” were noticeably quiet from the 1970’s to 2010.
    Wonder why that was?
    When looked at through a historical perspective the areas of the UK that have supported the rest have moved about a lot.
    Instead of playing their divide & rule game, devolve tax raising & spending back to traditional shire level.

  5. We have Proportional Representation here in New Zealand and I was sceptical about it when I first encountered it.However having to include one or more smaller parties into government helps to keep the main parties honest.Yes there is some horse trading,but several good ideas from the junior partners in the mix get included in the programme. No party has a monopoly on what gets decided and acted upon.

    • Is it “pure” PR, that is to say simply based on the number of votes, or is there a floor below which no seats are awarded?

      Not sure what it is currently, but I believe in Germany, it was the case that a minimum of 5% of the vote was needed for a party to get any allocation at all.

      There is, of course, good and bad in all systems.

      • The way that the NZ system works is that you have a candidate vote and a party vote. You may like (or not like) the candidate so vote accordingly but if you would prefer another party than your preferred candidate to be in power, vote for that party.

        What then happens is that the candidate with the most votes for that electorate gets in but nationally, the party votes are counted and a set number of “list” MP’s are allowed. Each party can nominate additional MP’s depending on the percentage of party votes.

        Under that system, Reform in the UK would have had allocated quite a few more list MP’s.

        It has its anomalies and problems. One of the local MP’s, Nick Smith was voted out by his constituency but was also a nominated List MP and got back into parliament under that system. Since he is dependent on the party leader for his position and appointment then he could be replaced by a robot that will faithfully vote along party lines with no perceived difference to the votes he would cast but without the expense of his salary and perks.

        It also gives rise to numerous political parties – there are six “main” parties and a whole slew of sensible hopefuls and the usual one policy ones ranging in common sense from “permanently stoned out of their heads on acid” to a few that want to go back to basics (such as the New Conservatives).

        This system has the disadvantage of being like a MacDonalds meal – it doesn’t really appeal to anyone but doesn’t really offend anyone (or anyone reasonable) either and produces bland policies and government that can’t really get anything done because it is like herding cats. The number of needed projects that are awaiting consensus – for example, the cross Cook strait ferries needed to connect the two islands need replaced and upgraded to bigger and more reliable ships- but this decision and debate has been going on for as long as I have been here (16 years).

        The problem in all countries, that I can see is that it is the snivel serpents that run the country and the here today, gone tomorrow MP’s (either due to cabinet reshuffles or electoral defeat) are like the buzzing of flies around their heads. Ignored, manipulated and defied by the snivel serpents. There is good reason why I refer to the Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister TV series and books as the Machiavelli for the 20th and 21st Centuries.

        • government that can’t really get anything done because it is like herding cats.

          That’s a feature not a bug in my book. I want a government that doesn’t get anything done. This constant flood of ridiculous legislation is unnecessary and destructive. Government should concentrate on that which we cannot do for ourselves or cannot be achieved by the private sector. Defence, criminal justice, foreign affairs and arguably (but I could be persuaded otherwise) health and education. Pretty much everything else can either be done by the private sector or not done at all.

          MPs have far too much time on their hands. Better they were part time and did a useful job elsewhere.

  6. The did a referendum in 2011 for AV voting system, only a 40% turn out basically because no one coukd understand it. You had to put the party you wanted but give 3 choices. Weird system. PR would have shown that there would have been a hung parliament this time. That would be a fairer reflection on what the public think.
    Of course once in there is no desire to change things but think something should change, might make more people vote.

  7. This is not unlike the mad “de Hondt” system in operation at Holyrood. It’s often said that it’s half FPTP and half PR, but it’s more complicated than that: the PR seats are dependent on the number of FPTP seats won in each PR “region”. If you win all the FPTP seats, you don’t get any PR ones even if you win all the votes. They’re basically a consolation prize.

    The idea was to prevent any one party from dominating the place. That worked out well, didn’t it?

    The Single Transferable Vote isn’t the worst idea in the world. Instant run-off. Nobody wins the seat until he has an actual majority. How many more seats might Reform have won on second-choice votes from Tory diehards who couldn’t quite bring themselves to give them their first? How many might Labour have lost to second- or third- choice Tory or Reform votes?

    Even then, I’d require a quorum. 60% turnout, minimum. If you don’t get that, hold a by-election a week later. We can do without a government for a week. The Belgians managed 18 months.

  8. Single transferable vote might be all right. Anything that involves voting for a party rather than a person just locks in the party system even more than it is already. Despite which, I voted against the (now former) Tory incumbent this time because of his party affiliation even though he is actually a decent and helpful constituency MP.

  9. I would prefer to replace FPTP with Approval Voting. Only one change is required. Rather than “Vote for no more than one candidate“ at the head of your voting slip, instead have “Vote for all candidates of whom you approve”. Whoever gets the most votes (highest approval) wins.

    For a single member constituency there is mathematically no fairer system.

    Evolution not Revolution.

    I suspect that most Tories would prefer Reform to Starmer, and Reform would have won a huge number of seats. Labour’s vote declined, it would have received a much smaller corresponding boost from the Greens and Lib Dems.

    (Incidentally, if we move to STV then some rural constituencies will be absolutely huge).

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