Thursday, September 08, 2011

FPP and entitlement

Constituency work is something New Zealand MPs do very well. No matter who you are, you can walk into your local MP's electorate office, and they will help you. Compare this with the situation in the UK, where one MP has not held a constituency clinic for fourteen years, and doesn't even have an office in his electorate. This being Britain, he has of course been knighted for serving his constituents so well.

This problem has arisen for one reason and one reason only: the UK has an unfair electoral system in which most seats are not competitive. Mr Bell's seat - Middlesbrough - is so safe that he has held it since 1983. He does not need to fear his voters, only the risk of deselection (which, given the usual nature of local party branches, isn't a real threat). And so he treats them with contempt, and the voters can do nothing about it. After all, who else are they going to vote for? A Tory?

People here complain about MMP. But our lists are responsive to public opinion, and an MP who showed such utter contempt for their constituents would be demoted or not given a place at all. And that puts us miles ahead of the UK.