Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday 31 May 2009

Douglas Carswell - Changing his mind on electoral reform

My favourite Conservative MP Douglas Carswell may just have cemented his place in my political heart for good with his latest blog post "Electoral reform - why I'm beginning to change my mind". Here are a couple of snippets:

How best to ensure our MPs face proper competition?
Part of the answer is to hold open primaries and allow a recall mechanism. Since publishing Direct Democracy; an agenda for a new model party, and then making the case on Newsnight and Radio 4 the other week, I suddenly find everyone is talking about primaries and recall.   
Yet perhaps the surest way of having political competition would be to have multi member constituencies too?

The multi members system that they have in Ireland would retain many of the advantages of our existing system – while exposing all MPs to genuine competition. 
There would still be a constituency link. You’d still vote for individual law-makers. You’d still produce working majorities in the Commons. Yet there would be choice and competition between law-makers. Indeed, competition would be within parties, as well as between them, giving us a more authentic spectrum of representation. 
Best of all, why not combine multi member seats, with open primaries to decide the list of candidates? Now that would be a genuinely open source way of doing politics. 
If you are a free market Conservative and you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this: If in 7 out of 10 Parliamentary constituencies there was a local supermarket or restaurant monopoly, we would expect there to be a poor service and high level of customer dissatisfaction.  So why do we tolerate such a system when it comes to deciding how we are governed? 
Conservatives need to apply the principles of choice and competition to our politics, not simply our economy.

What a breath of fresh air. A Conservative who understands how the current system stymies the will of the voter and actually links free-market principles to the electoral system!

Go Carswell!

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