"Back to the Future" - STV and Local Representation
Here's a lighter take on my last blog, in which I copied a summary of the latest report from the Electoral Reform Society in the UK basically putting to bed the anti-PR myth that STV harms local representation.
Nothing captures the "local service" angle better than this video. This is a campaign video for Marty Heydon, who ran for re-election as a TD (like our MPs) in Ireland for Fine Gael in the constituency of Kildare South. Fine Gael is one of Ireland's two main political parties. Here he tells local voters what he's accomplished and hopes to accomplish in the local constituency - to the theme of "Back to the Future." I've rarely seen a candidate in Canada from a mainstream party with such campaign creativity or independence! Most mainstream political party flyers in Canada seem to be the party lines, possibly a photo of the leader, with the candidate's picture photo-shopped in. This video is really worth a watch!
With STV, voters elect a team of local MPs who reflect the political diversity of the district.
If you can handle a choice between more than one restaurant in your area, more than one bookstore (well, I wish) - you can handle having a diversity of MPs, including one you helped elect, who best represents your values.
The point of the ERS report was to show that with STV, politicians are just as concerned with their local constituencies as they are in the UK with first-past-the-post. The report is full of local candidate flyers making the point. TDs (like our MPs) often get re-elected not just on the strength of their party performance, and their work on national issues, but based on the work they do between elections in their local areas. Side note: I wouldn't worry about politics becoming "too" local in Canada with STV, though. Aside from the differences in geography (our MPs just can't compete to see who can run to fix the potholes first because the potholes are a lot farther away) in Ireland the local governments provide far fewer services - leaving the MPs to juggle more local issues than our MPs do.