Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Safe seats and corruption: a link

A blogger compared the MPs involvement in the expenses scandal with how safe their seat is. The correlation is striking.

We always thought that the First Past the Post voting system is a recipe for political and parliamentary contempt. If yours is a safe seat, you could be the biggest donkey or automata in Westminster. As long as you stay disciplined, go along with what your master told you and you don't walk around hitting old people with a wet plimsoll, don't worry: you have zero chances of losing the elections. It becomes, in fact, your personal fiefdom. You'll represent your constituency until retirement - or beyond.

That may be one of the reasons, just by chance, to explain the correlation between the latest MPs expenses scandal and safe seats. If you look at the dozens of MPs (of all colours) exposed by the Telegraph, the safer their seat, the dodgier the beahviour.

This is what blogger Mark Reckons found out. "Has our electoral system contributed to the MPs expenses scandal?", he wrote. And, to his credit, he's backed his findings with some meticulous figures. Mark analysed the majority in each of the constituencies of the 74 MPs involved in the scandal so far and he discovered that "there is a clear increase in the likelihood of an MP being implicated in the expenses scandal the safer their seat". As the seats get safer, there is in fact "a fairly steady progression".

So David Cameron and Gordon Brown can apologise for all they like. The only thing that is going to represent a clean slate at Westminster is a radical voting reform.


Selma said...

Yes, radical voting reform is required but also reform of the civil service and the unelected lords! Infact I would prefer power to be decentralised as far as it possibly could be!

claude said...

The unelected Lords are, put simply, a disgrace.