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First past the post past it?
Third party polling ⅓ of vote gives Labour second thoughts
After the first televised leaders’ debate showed a shocked public an unrecognisably generic-looking man in a shiny yellow tie called ‘Nick Clegg’ who was better at talking than two other men, opinion polls have suggested that this ‘Clegg’ may get 33% of the vote but only 16% of the seats in parliament, which some people think seems quite mean.
‘We need electoral reform,’ he explained, ‘It’s stupid that I should be able to win a leaders’ debate and then lose the election.’ ‘I agree with Nick!’ said Gordon Brown, before hastily adding ‘But not about that second bit.’
KTAB explores some of the alternative electoral systems being proposed.
Single, non-transferable leader
One strategy is to put all the party leaders into one tooth-and-nail bitterly-contested three-way marginal constituency, rather than allowing central offices to keep them in tedious safe seats. ‘You’d see local pledges flying around like nobody’s business,’ explained Bargle, ‘Laser-heated swimming pools, daily bin collections by out-of-work models, and hospitals for everybody. You know, one each.’
‘If we rotate the constituency every election, it will only be 600 elections…around 3,000 years…before the whole UK is a bountiful utopia of excessive public services.’
Referendum on democracy
‘Did you vote for democracy? Did you?!’ booms democratic democracy reform activist Marvin Wilcox, jabbing the air with his foot, ‘Well neither did I and maybe we should have!’
Many are concerned that, regardless of electoral system, a single vote very rarely makes a difference to the result. ‘That’s why we supervote supporters would give everyone 100 votes,’ explained proponent Claire Timkins. ‘What’s more, for every 100 votes, electors would get 1 point on their supervoteplus loyalty ID card. At the end of the month, those points would be totalled, with every 100 points reclaimable as a free eye test and retina scan…with the caveat that anyone found with more than 1 point would also be arrested.’
Advanced electoral systems
Political scientist Francis T. Bargle last week unveiled the Referendatron T-97. ‘It works by simply computing voters’ preferences based on a first past the single-transferable post, proportional alternative vote system,’ he told the press. ‘Voters have to fill out this slip—I know it looks complicated but really it’s no harder than the Sudoku—and then you feed it into this slot here and…oh dear, it seems to have got his hand. Gosh, I’m glad we installed those bloodguards. I think we may have to reboot it. Could someone call an ambulance?’
- Rename ‘hung parliament’ to ‘well-hung parliament’ to allay the negative connotations.
- A literal first past the post system, where the best equestrian wins; a reform long promoted by the Tories.
- Replace ‘votes’ with ‘vetos’ and watch how much political stagnancy a simple anagram can cause.
- Adding more diverse options to current ballot papers, from ‘re-open nominations’ and ‘none of the above’ to ‘theocratic revolution’ and ‘stuff Trident up Westminster’.
- Removing hereditary peers, and replacing the House of Lords with a giant plastic duck.