Sunday, 31 July 2016

Going Japanese?

Nope, this is not a post about economics! Street parties all round!

Tokyo is in the process of electing a new governor. An impressive role for whoever wins, as the leader of the largest city on the planet (circa 37 million residents). The structure seems vaguely similar to that of the London mayoralty, with the governor having executive power, constrained by an assembly. The governor's budget is roughly equal to that of the entire central government of Sweden. Tokyo is also the only prefecture in Japan that makes a net contribution to the national budget. Remind you of anywhere?

So, a fairly important decision for the voters. There is a scandal involving sexism, party splits, and so on. The previous governor resigned thanks to allegations of mis-use of public money.

But that is not what interests me about this story. Japan runs a very sensible first-past-the-post electoral system. So no doubt the bazilliions of votes for its governor will be counted more quickly than under the absurdist Supplementary Vote system, which managed to confirm that Sadiq had won convincingly in London about a week after everyone on the ground knew what had happened. And nobody mention Modified d'Hondt, which seemed to allow Jenny Jones to get re-elected each time to the assembly, despite nobody really voting for her.

Britain has experimented with all sorts of weird and wonderful electoral systems. In the 1920s and 30s there was even a move towards multi-member constituencies and the Alternative Vote system for general elections. Bullet Dodged. AV was, of course, only finally put to bed by Nick Clegg in 2011.

Although the erratic and clunky FPTP system has served the UK extremely well,  certain groups still insist that complicated systems understood only by elite members of the self-same groups will result in better "democracy". It is true that in elections we have to make awkward least-worst and second-best choices, and that sometimes seems uncomfortable in today's technicolour choice-marathon of a world, but it is not unreasonable to predict that we will not be switching to anything new for Westminster elections any time soon.

Japanese minor parties deal with this other than by moaning about the unfairness of the electoral rules; this may be worthy of consideration by the UK's fractured opposition parties. In the Tokyo election, some parties are putting forward joint candidates. Thus, in UK terms, instead of voting first choice for Green and second choice for Labour (for example, under an AV scheme), one might vote for their joint candidate. This could allow opposition candidates to avoid the vote-splitting that can often let the incumbent through the middle.

I can see this catching on here. For example, Owen Smith is apparently suddenly interested in electoral reform because he wants to appeal to the trendsetters who might otherwise vote for Tim Farron's "party". Instead, they could come to an understanding. I believe that something similar happens in Australia and Germany.

If the Yellows really care about proportionality, they should embrace such an idea wholeheartedly.


James Higham said...

FPTP is the least fair and worst, AV is middling but also produces 2 party preferred. Proportional is best as it gets the voices into parliament. The down side - that it reduces prime-ministerial control, plus it is unwieldy - I'd argue are excellent downsides for the population.

If we are conservative, i.e. we want minimal govt., then we don't need a fully functioning parliament. We need a fully functioning armed forces and health and utilities but not parliament. Things affecting us are handled locally, Westminster just oversees it.

Electro-Kevin said...

Not exactly multicultural, the Japanese, are they ? Their political spectrum is not likely to be as wide as ours.

Wildgoose said...
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Wildgoose said...

The best replacement for First-past-the-Post is to evolve it into the system it should have been from the start: Approval Voting.

Very simple. Whoever gets the most votes wins. The twist is, you can vote for all of the candidates of whom you approve.

Mathematically, for a single candidate election there is no fairer electoral system, in fact it almost always results in the same candidate as Condorcet.

No wasted votes.

Don't care who wins? Vote for everybody.

Strongly oppose one candidate? Vote for all the others.

Only approve of one candidate? Just vote for them.

Don't care for any of the candidates? A blank ballot paper registers your disapproval. In this last case, we could even have a rule that if the number of blank ballots exceeds the number of votes for the winning candidate then the election is re-run with a fresh slate.

Easy to understand, easy to count and I believe this is the system used to elect the Pope and the Secretary General of the UN, but please don't hold that against it!

dearieme said...

That was the beauty of the People's Plebiscite: in or out? Maybe we should have more of them: watching the hysterics of the losers has brought unexpected joy.

Blue Eyes said...

This was mainly a dig at the Lib Dems. Oh well.

Sandalista said...

This was mainly a dig at the Lib Dems. Oh well.

FPTP is known to produce a two party system - a political revolving door where each gets their turn. They love it as it means the smaller parties get stiffled - or in the case of UKIP, their clothes stolen until the duopoly gets restored.

Having a go a the LibDems is as futile as having a go at any of the other parties e.g. UKIP. Being a FPTP supporter shows you are more than happy with the duopoly rather than holding the political classes to account.

Wildgoose said...

But the Yellows didn't care about proportionality.

Their last set of MPs were all elected under FPTP and were quite content for things to continue as they were.

Remember when Cameron failed to get a majority last time? Gordon Brown was trying to stitch up a grand "anti-Tory" (anti-English) alliance with the various Scots/Welsh/North Irish Nationalist Parties so as to continue to rule over England despite England having voted decisively Conservative. Remember also that the claimed reason for giving Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was to allow them to express their different politics without being over-ruled by big, bad England.

This was the perfect opportunity to do a deal with the Tories for a devolved English Parliament to end the second-class political status in the Union that the English have had forced upon them.

The precedent had already been set - such a Parliament would be elected by Proportional Representation.

The easiest solution would be to make the lower house the English Parliament and turn the Upper House into a new federal Parliament for the whole of the Union. Of course that would need to be properly elected - and suddenly we have House of Lords Reform as well.

The so-called "Liberal Democrats" could have had everything if they just stuck to the principle of equal citizenship for all together with a belief in Democracy.

The fact that they didn't do that despite being urged to do so by various groups including the Campaign for an English Parliament just shows that they were simply the usual lying unprincipled troughers.

Electro-Kevin said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow, this site attracts some humourless a-holes!

Bilbao Biggles said...

Wow, this site attracts some humourless a-holes!

I think you want CiF for the real hysterical shrieking.

eyad ammar said...

الشرق الاوسط من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
شركة الشرق الاوسط
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء
شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

eyad ammar said...

شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركات النقل البري بالدمام
شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارقام شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر

eyad ammar said...

كما انها متخصصه فى النظافة وتنظيف المنازل ونظافة بالدمام والشقق والبيوت والفلل والكنب بالدمام
شركة غسيل كنب بالدمام
شركة تنظيف كنب بالدمام
شركة غسيل خزانات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة نظافه عامه بالدمام

eyad ammar said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام
شركة غسيل فلل بالدمام
غسيل عمائر بالدمام
شركة نظافة بالدمام
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالدمام
شركة تنظيف سجاد بالدمام
شركة غسيل مكيفات بالدمام