Saturday 8 May 2010

Voting reform can wait

If you believe everything that politicians tell you, you could be excused for thinking that the result of Thursday’s General Election was bad news for the country. “We must have strong government,” the party leaders tell us “to deal with the economic crisis facing the country.”

Oh really? And who was it precisely that created the economic crisis? Well that would be the very same politicians, of course.

If, however, you believe in liberty and freedom, then you believe in a small state with as little power as possible. The less power a government has, the less damage it can do. As American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician Gideon J Tucker wrote in 1866: “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session”

Governments should protect us from terrorists, murderers, rapists and thieves, but they have no business trying to run the economy because, frankly, most of them haven’t got a clue what to do. If they had, they would be out working in commerce or industry.

The political classes have the reverse Midas touch. Anything the state interferes with usually goes wrong.

We have witnessed first hand what happens when Government gets too strong. Thirteen years of Labour profligacy and the country is on its knees facing bankruptcy. The state pokes its noise into every aspect of our private lives. We are living under an elective dictatorship.

The result of the General Election proves that the public is fed up with Government. We certainly do need electoral reform to do away with some of the gross inequalities of the system - for example the huge disparity in constituency sizes which means that votes are not of equal value across the country.

But what we do not need is a change to a PR system which would allow political parties to form post-election coalitions effectively ignoring the will of the people. As Guido Fawkes puts it so succinctly: “A system where deals are stitched up in backrooms by politicians without reference to voters is not much of a democracy.”

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