Friday, May 07, 2010

Proportional Representation

Given today’s election results, I find myself – somewhat surprisingly, admittedly – in favour of proportional representation. Not, however, in the crude form as advocated by the Liberals. No, in my opinion, politicians should be prepared to go all the way for their principles.

To this end, I propose maintaining the current constituency-based “first past the post” system but with a few modifications.

Take, for example, a seat where three candidates are standing: Conservative, Liberal, and Labour. The man (or woman – though, frankly, I maintain graves doubts over the wisdom of having given them vote in the first place) getting a majority of the votes would, of course, then be elected. However - and here’s the brilliant bit - it would be administered slightly differently.

Instead of sending the winning candidate to the House of Commons, you’d send just a proportion of him, corresponding to the proportion of the actual vote he received. So if, say, he won with 55 per cent, that’s exactly how much of him you’d return to Westminster, having first removed the superfluous 45 per cent gained by his opponents.

In practice, this would mean lopping his legs off. Or, if he didn’t fancy that, maybe an arm and an arse cheek. Whatever, by implanting this system, you’d guarantee a much higher calibre of politician, because only those willing to sacrifice their limbs and other bits of their body would get in. Who could fail to trust such a an obviously committed person?

I suppose there’s a risk here that, in constituencies fielding large numbers of candidates where the vote is spread evenly, you could end up with a result where the politician in question gets so proportionalised that only his genitals are left. But there have been so many dicks in Parliament in the past, perhaps no-one would notice any qualitative difference.