Saturday, December 10, 2011

MMP was the winner

Today the final election results were announced, and MMP received 57.77% support, so it will be retained. I hope that this is the last time that the rightwing tries to dump MMP, because this is a pretty resounding defeat for the anti-democracy forces.

Still, it didn’t stop the public face of the rightwing coalition fighting to dump MMP from saying that if the vote had been held after the election—after people saw that Winston Peters and his motley band of misfits got into Parliament—the results might have been different. What a stupid thing to say—pure speculative nonsense, no more valid than any other “what if” scenarios one could think of.

Some people have noted with alarm that among those voting in Part B of the referendum, 42.23 percent voted for the anti-democratic First Past the Post system. There are several reasons for that. First, many people had no idea what those other systems were and chose the alternative they recognised. But a number of people who supported MMP also chose FPP because they felt it would be the easiest to defeat if there was another referendum. Apparently, a lot of people cast no vote at all in Part B.

One criticism of the referendum was that there wasn’t enough information, particularly about the alernatives. That’s one of the reasons I spent so much space talking about them. But, to be honest, if people didn’t understand the alternatives—and why, precisely, MMP was the best of all the systems—it’s their own fault. The information was readily available if they spent a couple minutes looking for it, as I did. Democracy, in my opinion, imposes certain obligations upon citizens, and among them is the necessity that voters inform themselves and not wait around for someone to spoon-feed information to them. I know that’s harsh, but really, people need to take some responsibility for themselves and their democracy.

In any case, MMP won, and I'm very happy about that.

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