LETTER: Fairer voting
Tuesday 15 September 1998
Sir: A D Hoadley (letter, 7 September) doubts whether Lord Jenkins will propose a voting system "which discounts party power ... and is devised solely for the health of the democracy". He should not be unduly surprised, seeing that Mr Blair has initiated events in the wrong order.
It would have been far better had he called a referendum first. The electorate should have been given a choice of several systems. Only then should Lord Jenkins' committee have been convened, their job being to decide the precise details of the system.
A second referendum might have been necessary, but at least we could be sure that a reformed electoral system, if asked for, would be implemented sooner rather than later.
By implementing a "committee stage" before he has ascertained whether there is a demand for electoral reform, Mr. Blair may well be wasting taxpayer's money; he cannot tell. Worse, he may find, at a later date, that electoral reform suits him, but the voters have tired of his government and are no longer willing to listen to it.
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