Saturday, 7 May 2011

The power of Primaries...

Among the more questionable arguments used by the Yes2AV campaign was that the system would make MP's work harder - having to appeal to an electorate beyond their core supporters. They would also have us believe that AV does away with MP's whose majorities are of such a size that they have a job for life. AV of course, does neither of these things. But although the arguments may be false, the intention to achieve both these outcomes would enhance our democratic system beyond recognition.

With The AV voting system now passed into history and with it any opportunity for major electoral reform anytime soon, the Coalition should be looking very carefully at open Primaries being held in each constituency at the mid-term point. Primaries are an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. These would have the effect of legitimising MP's with their local electorates, whilst ensuring that new candidates are able to put themselves forward through the open nature of such events. I am told that if primaries are tagged onto the back of other local votes - local authority, mayoral or even parish councils - the cost to each constituency of a postal vote is around £24,000 - around £15 million pounds across 650 constituencies nationally. A small cost to ensure MP's are popular, accountable and directly mandated by their electorate.