Sunday, May 9, 2010

Electoral Reform, Britain, Israel, Same Words, Opposite Meaning

Like Barack Hussein Obama's brilliant election slogan about  "Hope," both Israelis and the British want "electoral reform."  Ironically, as the saying goes, the grass is always greener over the hill or in your neighbor's yard.  So, here we are in two democratic countries, people are dissatisfied with the election results and are sure that electoral reform is the cure to their democracy's ills.

Great Britain has three main political parties, but the power yoyos between only two of the parties, Labour and Conservatives.  The Liberal Party gets just a tiny fraction of the seats in Parliament compared to their national support. It just doesn't seem fair, to those who support Liberal policies.   That's because the elections are for districts.  Electoral reform would give a national vote and more seats by ideology.

In Israel the system is national proportional elections, like what some British want, because then the results are in accordance to ideology.  But in Israel there are people who want "electoral reform," which means the opposite of the British.  They want districts, so the winner will owe their Knesset seat to the district.

When I think of districts, I think gerrymandering, the art of drawing districts to predict/control specific results.  I have no doubt that if Israel adopts the district system we will have the dirtiest most creatively antidemocratic elections possible.

So, I'd rather stick with what we have.


Anonymous said...

I'm in favour of electoral reform in Israel but you make an excellent point. Theory is very nice but practice is another story. Unintended consequences ....

Batya said...

I'm glad that my post made you think. As imperfect as today's election laws are, districts will be zillions worse.