Monday, May 10, 2010

Constitutional wish list

In the light of the fascinating post-election negotiations, I thought I'd sketch my ideal political reforms - if I was made dictator for a day:
- retain constituencies for the House of Commons, but replace FPTP with "AV" (not AV+);
- make all constituencies approximately equal in size;
- fixed terms of five years;
- potential for recall/dismissal of an MP in some circumstances;
- impose pure PR on the House of Lords (party lists);
- also have equivalent of party lists (the great and the good, eg bishops) to represent the non-voting proportion in the Upper House (eg if only 65% of population vote, then 35% of seats in Upper House are allocated to non-party Lords);
- give Upper House power to impose referendum on disputed legislation;
- bring in an English Parliament.

I am rather hoping that Cameron and Clegg can create a coalition. It would be good in all sorts of ways (and very much in the LibDem interest).


  1. Sam,

    "make all constituencies approximately equal in size;"

    Do you mean geographic size or population size?

    If geographic then please explain why a person living in a rural area should have a more valuable vote than someone living in a city.

  2. Population - the aim being to try to make every vote as equal as possible.

  3. Forgive my ignorance - is 'AV' in any material sense different from what we used to call 'STV' the single transferable vote?

    I like your idea of full PR for the second chamber.

    The problem with a LibCon group is that electoral reform wouldn't then have the remotest chance of being brought in. But anyway, the way things are going with Brown resigning it is looking more likely we'll have a progressive coalition in due course.

  4. I prefer MMP over STV and AV (sounds like Bible translations).

    I also like unicameralism so I think the Hosue of Lords should be abolished and not replaced. Make the commons the only legislative body.

    Yes I know the HOL provides "Checks and balances", but so too does proportional representation in the commons. If you've got one, why have the other?

    And not having a monarch would be good too - or at least having one without constitutional powers.

  5. Sam,

    OK I would agree that consistency of size of population would generally be a good thing.

    Just been looking at

    For England the range is from 56,000 to 103,000. But the largest is an odd one as it is the Isle of Wight. It would either make the two smallest or stays as one much larger than all the others. If we ignore the IOW as a slightly special case then the range is 56K to 80K.

    The range from NI pretty much fits into that and both Scotland and Wales have a fair few that are smaller (down to 22K in Scotland).

    I thought that the boundary commission were adjusting the boundaries to try to reduce differences in size. However, I see the system does not make it easy to work for equalisation between England, Wales, Scotland and NI. No changes have been made there.

    It seems odd as the time when the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament were created would have seemed the obvious time to make changes to the number of MP's.

    Of course another solution is to move more towards PR than the AV system does.

  6. Our prayers are answered, we wake up to a coalition government with David and Nick and at the moment, it looks very positive. Now our responsibility is to pray for them both, so that they may work as a real team and put forward the actions required to secure the economic recovery. We do have a new politics in 2010!


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