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.