10 May 2010

Having AV and PR together

I've covered this before, but I'll do it again, now it's in the shop window.

I quite like the Alternative Vote and in the event of a referendum, I'd be in the yes category, but clearly, one concern is that it isn't proportional.  I think there's a way to address that which might be acceptable across the political spectrum - PR for the Lords.  All the major Westminster parties back election for the Lords (at least in part).  All it would take is a repeal of the Parliament Act and STV or open lists for the Lords and you would have a proportional house with an absolute power of veto over legislation.

I think it's a viable compromise.  Labour have flirted with AV for the commons and both open lists and STV for the Lords.  The Lib Dems want STV for the Lords and seem prepared to tolerate AV for the commons.  The Tories are prepared to accept a referendum on AV and I can't see them objecting too severely to a proportional system in the Lords.  I don't imagine too many smaller parties or independents would have serious objections either.

The only sticking point could be repealing the Parliament Act, but I see that being almost inevitable if the upper house were to become elected and have democratic legitimacy on a par with the lower house.


marksany said...

Yes, but. If the Lords was more proprtional thanvthe commons, it could claim to be more democratic and more representative if the people. It would become more than anmrnfimg house and demand a bigger share in the process eventually it could eclipse the commons.

How about an elected executive, by AV. Then we could figure out which liberals were anti Cam and which were anti Gordon.

Paul Lockett said...

The way I would see it panning out is that the lower house would, in effect, be the controller of executive power and the upper house would be the controller of legislative power.

I would anticipate the upper house being elected in rounds, with longer terms (a third of the house elected every five years, giving a fifteen year term for each member, for example). That would probably be enough to balance the two houses out - the upper could claim to be more proportional, but the lower could claim to be more up to date and representative of the electorate's current wishes.

There would also be that potential extra step of having a presidential style directly elected executive, but I'm not sure if that would be too far to go in one step.