Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Electoral Reform - Some Further Arguments

How often have people commented that what Gibraltar needs is a government of the best brains? This is undoubtedly over-ambitious and impossible to achieve. Additionally there is no absolute measure of who would fit that description.

Those who say it are not so much meaning it literally, rather they are expressing frustration because they know that a few additional suitable persons might be encouraged to stand for election if the electoral system were to be changed. A change that would get away from the strict two party system delivered by the existing first past the post system.

Opponents to change argue that, absent a system that results in a clear governing majority, the consequence is weak and unstable government. This is shown, in practice, to be untrue. It is not what occurs in large countries that use proportional representation electoral systems already. What does happen is that it results in governments that are more representative and have greater consensus.

In Gibraltar where ideological political differences blur into insignificant and, on major issues, there is a large measure of agreement, the chances of weak and unstable government would be insignificant.

The reality is that an appropriate system of proportional representation would mean better and more diverse governance. More importantly it would improve democracy that additionally and, as argued in the blog immediately preceding this one, would enhance the sovereignty vested in the people of Gibraltar.


  1. You are right. However the current lot of 'politicians' both in government and opposition are ego maniacs, driven by self centred pride and do not see the broader picture. That's not quite right. They must do but prefer not to see it. Power corrupts! Do I make sense?

  2. There is a lot of sense in what you say and those who are in power believe that no one else can do it better ... which makes it worse!

  3. WIth the GSLP adminstration of 1988 to 1996 it was a Government by consent by the people for the people. There was no ego maniacs or corruption.

  4. "the consent by the people for the people" what on earth does that mean??? Firstly, are not all democratically elected governments with the consent of the people. Secondly, it is arguable whether the GSLP was "for the people" when a main thrust of its policy was privatisation etc... (which would have made old Maggie proud). Contrast that with the GSD's policy of lowering income tax etc...

    The long and short is that when any government has been in power too long it stagnates. Unfortunately, the electorate in Gibraltar finds itself with a very limited number of MP's to choose from and the main players seem to be the same ones year-in year-out. Hence we are treated with the same punch and judy show which we have been served with for the last decade with little by way of inventiveness and fresh outlook on policies.

  5. I support your thinking in this issue... and certainly I agree that there is stagnation at the top and, as a result of this, a level of arrogance that is not acceptable. There are too many issues and the unhealthily small political gene-pool is currently suffering from mental knot-weed (they don't seem able to see problems before they arise) and grafitti blindness when people are showing their dissatisfaction about some of the issues that are being aired in the local papers.

    I think that a system that doesn't make politicians too comfortable for too long would be a definite improvement!

  6. No party will ever reform in favour of best brains and con the electorate into thinking that if they dont vote for their party that they are in effect voting for the "others". I wish Mr Vasquez and other illuminati that well