Letter published on 18th Mar. "The fact that the options presented to the Crimean electorate do not include any 'Ukrainian options' (Two options but only one possible outcome, 15 Mar) means that today's referendum is no more or less democratic than our own AV v FPP referendum, in which there were no proportional representation options. As in Crimea, so too in the UK the powers-that-be have total control over the choice of ballot. Sadly, international rules on the conduct of referendums do not recommend multi-option voting. Hence those Crimeans who might otherwise have wished to vote for a compromise, or even just the status quo, [were] not allowed a free choice."
The BBC does not (yet) talk about multi-option decision-making. Here's my latest missive:
The Ukraine is only the latest in an increasingly long line of countries - Bosnia, Kenya, etc. - where western advice first suggests a majoritarian form of democracy - a zero-sum form of majority rule, either single party or, if need be, a majority coalition; then, when it all goes horribly wrong, an opposite is recommended - an all-party coalition. Surely, it would be wiser to start with the latter.
Would it not also be sensible to advocate a more inclusive electoral system? Indeed, in Ukraine, the zero-sum elections of recent years - Yanukovich v Yushchenko, Yanukovich v Tymoshenko - were part of the problem. Better, as a minimum, the original US system where not only does the winner become the president, but also the runner-up becomes the vice or deputy. Better still a preferential system such that, in effect, voters are asked to cross at least one party- if not inter-communal-divide.