Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oh yes, the people. Them

I see Mike Moore banging on again in yesterday’s Dominion
Post about the iniquities of MMP. I laughed outright when he
said that, when coalitions were being negotiated after an
MMP election,“squalid and sordid deals” are reached. Like
they never were within major parties under the first-past-
the-post system? Come on. Pull the other one, Mike. This
harking back to a supposed golden age of democracy when
parties were able to govern purely and wholesomely is
wearing thin. Politics is all about deal-making: Moore
knows that better than anyone. The difference with MMP is
that the deals are much more out in the open instead of
being hidden away inside parties, which then present the
results of these "squalid and sordid" transactions as if the
party were gloriously united.

As for first-past-the-post, the virtues of one party governing
alone, untrammelled, regardless of whether it gets a
majority of the vote, are apparent only to members of
Labour and National, who stand to gain most by such a
system. The rest of us see clearly that whatever
combination of coalition partners an MMP election delivers
by way of a government, that's because the people voted it
that way. And, pathetic though it may be, some of us still
cling to the idea that democracy is fundamentally about the
expression of the people’s will, not what’s convenient for
party A or party B.

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