Small steps towards a more democratic UK | Letters

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Voters should be able to rank candidates in order of preference, says Michael Meadowcroft while Stuart Brady suggests councils should be first in the queue for proportional representation, and Lyn Dade calls for support to bring together a progressive alliance Your editorial (17 February) highlights the poverty of representation under a first-past-the-post electoral system. In rectifying the skewing of the electors’ wishes, it is, however, vital to make sure that the replacement for the existing narrow choice does not replace one abuse with another.
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Political polling since the parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009 has demonstrated the electorate’s disdain for existing parties and the inadequacies of our politics. It is not, then, a moment to put even more power into the hands of the parties’ central machines. But all party-list electoral systems, to a greater or lesser extent, do precisely that. When a seat in the House of Commons depends on the candidate’s place on the list, elections are determined by the party’s selection and not the voters’ election. Proportional representation of parties may well be secured, but at the high price of a loss of accountability and the diminution of the role of the constituency MP.
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