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All the World's problems to be solved by MMP

After reading everything the proponents of MMP have to say, I am convinced. I will join the cause.

Why? Because it is going to bring justice and equality to all, bring peace and liberty to the planet ending all wars, and set the world on a path to democracy.

It is true, it will do all these things. It must be true, I have been told that over and over again.

MMP will bring more women to politics. It will bring more minorities to politics. It will end the party establishments' grip on parliament. It will empower the grassroots. It will lead to coalition governments. Cabinet ministers will serve based on merit and no longer at the discretion of the Premier. Heck, the Greens might even get a seat. Yes, it will all happen under MMP. MMP is the magic bullet we have all been waiting for.

One of the most convincing arguments to push me over the edge so far in a comment on this blog, "It is this discontent with the leadership style of Harper that I am urging all Liberals to support MMP." Yes, indeed, I don't want Harper governing my country any more. Surely having minority governments will end his reign.

The plurality system will be kept with MMP, but it won't mean anything any more. I will be granted a second vote in which I can say I do not agree with the party of the person I just voted for. This will end all strategic voting, because after all, who cares who their MPP is? The party matters far more! The grassroots will control the party lists with the same determination in which they control the party leadership and riding nominations today. Democracy will reach untold new heights.

Yes, MMP will bring Ontario its long-sought Utopia.

Posted at 06:14 on August 10, 2007

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

Why no MMP? | elections reform | The myth of the Kiwi Utopia


mushroom writes at Fri Aug 10 12:16:04 2007...

David,

I have read your proposal to the Citizens Assembly. It was the same view I held until five to seven years ago. I was convinced then that the Alternate Vote system would do the trick and a much fairer representation of the constituency would result.

Then, I became convinced of the merits of MMP by a British libertarian conservative scholar in the Ron Paul mode. He reassured me that the German system of MMP would guarantee more party accountability. Under the MMP system the British Conservatives would have resolved the European Union issue more amicably as the rejectionists would leave and form a new party. This would give the ability of the mainstream Conservative party to conduct policies discussions freely and the option of co-operating with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats and the anti-EU UK Independence Party. In Scotland, the mainstream Labour party was able to extract themselves from the militant wing who ran under the Scottish Socialist Party banner. It is this need to end strategic voting that gives MMP an advantage over the Alternative Vote model as experienced in Scotland.

Of course, Harper is a fan of AV. He and Tom Flanagan had proposed it sometime in the late 1990s. It is the system that is implemented in Australia to help the coalition between John Howard's Liberals and the rural Country Party alliance. Progressives need to counter it by insisting MMP is better as policy shifts more to the centre due to the need to build coalitions.

BTW, I have been more interested in STV in recent times. But the key is still to get MMP pass on October 10.


cdlu writes at Fri Aug 10 12:28:29 2007...

mushroom,

The trouble I have with every aspect of what you've said is this assertion that parties, breakaway or otherwise, are important to the democratic process. MMP legitimises that view, but most forms of preferential balloting fight the notion.

Parties are not important to the political process. In fact I find them counterproductive. Our government governs in spite of, not because of, the party system we have in place.

I can't in good conscience support an electoral system that further emphasises parties in any way.

Harper is far from the only fan of it. Virtually every party in every province and at the national level uses a preferential balloting system to select both its riding candidate and its party leadership and executives. It's highly hypocritical of parties to use the method internally and then say it is anything other than ideal outside the boundaries of the party.


Scott Tribe writes at Fri Aug 10 12:46:17 2007...

The problem again is how you propose to remove political parties out of the process. The answer - you won't. You're being rather unrealistic. As I said.. I'm all for making internal democracy in political parties better so MP's have a bit more ability to voice dissent as they do in Britain, but even THAT would have a tough time taking hold here. What you propose is even more remote then that.


cdlu writes at Fri Aug 10 12:58:21 2007...

Scott,

If MMP was an improvement over FPTP I would agree with you that we should switch to it, but for all MMP's improvements, on balance it introduces more problems than it solves. Most notably, the introduction of MMP completely eliminates even the most remote possibility of the weakening of parties because it concentrates instead on weakening the already very weak independent side of politics. Any form of non-representative democracy, as any form of proportional "representation" is, is a step backward.

I would love it if political parties were removed from the political process and I know it would not be easy. But for someone who agrees that parties should be more accountable, it makes little sense to say, essentially, "it can't be done, so we might as well give them all the power they could ever want!"

I refuse to buy into the argument that strengthening parties weakens them.


mushroom writes at Fri Aug 10 13:22:04 2007...

"it concentrates instead on weakening the already very weak independent side of politics."

No, it doesn't. It strengthens it due to the directly elected constituency aspect. An independent minded MPP can be elected by his local constituents with no party affiliation. The Andre Arthurs and Chuck Cadmans of this world can still play a role under PR. More so as their views will need to be taken into consideration in the forging of coalitions.

In the forging of coalitions, political parties (yes, these evil institutions) will maximize their interests by co-operating with the weakest partners. Thus, independent MPPs will be the first to be approached as their concessions are generally easiest to satisfy. Unless the independent MPP is an unabashed racist and in that case co-operation with him/her will be avoided due to the prospect of mass defections within the party rank and file. These are the rules of rational choice human behaviour.

MMP works due to the need to foster coalitions in which the exit cost is lesser than FPTP. What you are proposing is something populist politicians like Preston Manning say in the late 1980s, more free votes and more accountability through the right of recall. We know what became of Reform once they got into Parliament.


cdlu writes at Fri Aug 10 13:31:00 2007...

With 17 fewer ridings to get elected in, each of them 19% bigger with 19% more voters than current ridings, on average, how will this help independents?

Independent candidates only have half the ballot to run on, only two thirds of the seats to run for, and larger, more expansive and more expensive ridings to fight in.

The myth of the strengthened independent representation under MMP is yet another falsehood being espoused by the pro-MMP campaign.

The Reform party was just that, a party. Independence and parties are mutually exclusive.


mushroom writes at Fri Aug 10 13:40:11 2007...

What does the size of the riding have to do with independents not getting in?


cdlu writes at Fri Aug 10 14:18:06 2007...

mushroom,

The bigger the riding, the more difficult it is for an independent candidate to win in it without the funding and infrsatructure in place from a party. It also reduces the number of ridings in which an independent candidate can run, which further reduces the chances of one getting in.

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