2019-24 A letter in the Irish Times
Monday, August 19, 2019
Sir, – The Irish and British electoral systems are very different: PR-STV (a British invention) is one of the best. First-past-the-post (FPTP) is its extreme opposite.  But we both have the same decision-making system: binary voting, one of the worst. Michael Laver points out its paradox: when there’s no majority for anything, there’s a majority against everything (“In game of Brexit chicken, Boris Johnson driving a Mini, Brussels is driving a bus, Opinion, August 15th).
But party politics is also a problem: it seems the first priority of Cameron, May and now Johnson, was/is to preserve the Tory Party. In any FPTP two-party system, the big party on either side wants a monopoly.  The Tories don’t want Ukip or its successor, the Brexit Party; hence the 2016 referendum; hence now the rush to “no deal”.
If these leaders and/or their Labour counterparts believed in pluralism, they would advocate a multi-option approach: there are after all at least three options, “remain”, the deal, and the WTO. But they want two-party politics, so they stick to binary voting. Prof Laver suggests log-rolling, but that too is binary. 
Sadly, the UK’s Electoral Commission has yet to embrace preferential points voting, which identifies the option with the highest average preference . . . and an average, of course, involves every voter, not just a majority of them. 
At best, therefore, such an outcome would be society’s collective will, its most acceptable compromise – a very democratic solution. – Yours……….


Article originally appeared on The de Borda Institute (http://www.deborda.org/).
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