Democracy Debates

Return the political emphasis to the individual, not the party

Here’s another idea – return the political emphasis to the individual, not the party.


The mechanism sounds at first glance to be complicated, but in practice would be simple enough and could easily be explained, trialled and steadily introduced via TV shows such as dance and talent shows where the public gets to vote. This system also means that every vote cast has a value.

You vote for the person. All the losing candidates transfer their share of the vote to another candidate who is closest to them in their opinions. The candidates, over time, and from being able to see their record of who they transfer their vote count to, steadily have an opportunity to build up a personal reputation that the public can trust.

Take for example the 2019 Peterborough by-election that the Brexit Party lost by a small number of votes to Labour. There was also a Conservative Party candidate: if the Conservative Party candidate had transferred their vote share to the Brexit Party, not only would the Brexit Party have won, but also the intentions of the Conservative Party would have been made plain – meaning that there would be grounds for believing that this party genuinely supports leaving the EU (as opposed to being a sham party that in practice works for the EU, as a great many people suspect).

This system would bring to an end the pressure for tactical voting that the major parties have used shamelessly over recent decades to keep out new or minority parties.

More detail here:

From PG: There is a simple mechanism to defeat the coercion to vote tactically. It is to introduce a procedure after the count where the lower ranking candidates redistribute their contingents of votes to the higher ranking candidates. The fact that it is too late now to anchor such a redistribution in law is entirely due to the preference of the major parties for manipulation over remotely representative democracy. Politics is not a sports event where one wins by defeating the runner-up.   

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