I received the Scottish Governments response to my petition to make the Scottish parliament electoral system more democratic and accountable. It was, as I had long expected, a confirmation that the Scottish Government has no plans to act in this area in any meaningful fashion.
In their response they cited various reports from countries around the world which operate on a list system or variants thereof. One quote from a report produced in New Zealand encapsulated the reason why the SNP, nor to be fair, the other parties, wish to change the system:
The report states that there is “considerable advantage in allowing parties to both protect a limited number of their more valuable MPs in marginal seats and reward superior candidates in unwinnable seats”.
That’s right. The evidence the Scottish Government cites in defence of the status quo basically says that the political establishment has the right to protect itself from the judgement of the electorate! In the recent UK election there was the slightest of chances that Prime Minister Theresa May could have lost her seat. From the lowliest backbencher to the occupier of No10 Downing Street, every seat was up for grabs and the people had the right to decide who gets to stay and who is to be shown the door. That’s the essence of democratic government. Yet the same party who rail against the undemocratic House of Lords are quite comfortable with a system which sees the political parties manipulate pre-determined lists to ensure that some of them are immune to the judgement of the electorate.
In the process of creating and submiting my petition I’ve become convinced that the party list system must be consigned to the bin and that the Single Transferrable Vote system should be adopted, putting the decision as to who makes it into government into the hands of the people, not the cliques who run a tight circle of control within political parties.