[EM] UK electoral systems "post mortem" discussion on radio

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Fri Jun 12 13:47:24 PDT 2015

Thank you, James

I particularly appreciate your link to the election results.

I understand the point you are making, and, perhaps oddly, agree that 
the Frome event "doesn't do much for democratic representation of 
voters".  However, the "poke in the eye for party politics" should not 
be ignored.  I suspect the difference in our views is that I see 
proportionality as an internal quality, not an external one.

When proportionality is seen as an external quality, it is 
confrontational; it sets the proportions at odds with each other.  It 
does nothing for the democratic representation of voters because it 
empowers a relatively radical portion of the electorate at the expense 
of the common-interest oriented portion of the electorate.

Seeing proportionality as an internal quality allows us to choose 
representatives that represent the entire community rather than a subset 
of it.  None but the most radical of us are wholly conservative or 
wholly liberal.  We lean in one direction or another, but we also have 
preferences that don't square with our basic orientation and the 
intensity of these preferences ebb and flow with circumstance and time. 
  At present, we lack the means to seek out and elect those who have the 
particular blend of qualities needed to address and resolve the issues 
that are of current concern.

Dr. Jane Mansbridge, a recent past-president of the American Political 
Science Association, has provided the rationale for a more democratic 
political process.  In A "selection model" of political representation, 
Mansbridge wrote:

    "As a general rule, the higher the probability that
     the objectives of principal and agent may be aligned,
     the more efficient it is for the principal to invest
     resources ex ante, in selecting the required type,
     rather than ex post, in monitoring and sanctioning.  If
     these objectives are well aligned, citizens will be
     better served by a constituent-representative
     relationship based primarily on selection than by one
     based primarily on monitoring and sanctions.  From a
     normative perspective, the selection model also tends to
     focus the attention of both citizens and representatives
     on the common interest."[1]

Dr. Mansbridge's keynote address to the Austrian Political Science 
Association, December 10, 2004, Vienna, Austria, entitled "
The Fallacy 
of Tightening the Reins"
[2] is also worthy of note.

Fred Gohlke

[2] http://www.oezp.at/pdfs/2005-3-02.pdf

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list