An intriguing list – so get voting

If all it took to sort out our political system was to produce a list of proposals we’d have the best political system, ever.

Over the last few years, there has been no shortage of wish lists, most of which have promptly disappeared never to be thought of again.

So I’ll readily admit to being a little sceptical of Power 2010 when it was launched intending to, yes, put together a list of proposals.

To its credit, though, Power 2010 has put together an imaginative approach: trawling widely for ideas, then getting a cross-section of the public together to discuss face-to-face their merits in order to create a list of ideas which is then opened up to the public’s vote for winnowing down to a final list.

The selection of proposals up for vote are an intriguing cross-section of the different hobby horses ridden by different groups : English votes on English laws is right there next to proportional representation, directly elected Mayors listed alongside holding a referendum on the Euro.

That gives the process a real strength – and gives an extra incentive to vote, as most people will find not only ideas they like but also at least one idea that they don’t.

The way to ensure it doesn’t get through? Why to take part and vote for other proposals that you do like of course.

In my case, the proposal I don’t like is the allowing a “None of the above” option on the ballot paper.

This can come in two flavours: one where “none of the above” can actually win an election, with no-one getting elected, and one where it can’t.

If it can win, it means we’ll end up with some people living in seats without elected representatives.

That not only gives power to the unelected instead (governing won’t stop; it’ll just be done more by unelected people), it means people who voted otherwise get their representation stripped away from them.

One person shouldn’t be able to vote to deny another person having an elected representative.

So perhaps then “None of the above” works best where the votes for it are tallied, but someone gets elected anyway?

But that turns it into a superficial process: let people express their view and then ignore it.

Having officially declared “None of the above” totals may make people pause and think for a moment or two about the importance of raising turnout, but it’s not as if anyone is short of information on that score already.

So “None of the above” is not for me. If you don’t agree – then go and vote for it, and if you do agree – go and vote for other options. Either way, go and vote.

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