My mind is not closed to Proportional Representation. But the constituency link is sacrosanct. What we have now are coalitions honestly presented to the electorate, rather than cobbled together after our votes have been cast. Party lists are an abomination. The Single Transferrable Vote only works in urban areas, and eliminates candidates for whom many people have voted, as does the Alternative Vote. The electoral reform that we really need is the vigorous contesting of every seat by every party on behalf of a candidate in every case capable of being that constituency’s MP. And we need party candidates to be selected by submitting that party’s internally, but locally, determined shortlist of two to a binding ballot of all registered voters in the constituency.
We can avoid the problems of other electoral systems while once again giving ourselves a party of the Welfare State, workers’ rights, trade unions and co-operatives. Consumer protection. Strong communities. Conservation rather than environmentalism. Fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, and a powerful Parliament. A base of real property from which every household can resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State. And at the same time a party of the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy.
We can avoid the problems of other electoral systems while once again giving ourselves a party of agriculture, manufacturing, and small business. National sovereignty, the Union, economic patriotism, local variation, and historical consciousness. Traditional moral and social values, the whole Biblical and Classical patrimony of the West, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, and all forms of art. Mass political participation within a constitutional framework: “King and People” against the Whig magnates. Conservation rather than environmentalism. Sound money, which global capitalism manifestly is not. A realistic foreign policy, including a strong defence capability used only for the most sparing and strictly defensive purposes. The Commonwealth, the constitutional and other ties among the Realms and Territories having the British monarch as Head of State or other such constitutional links, the status of the English language and the rights of its speakers both throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and the rights of British-descended communities throughout the world. The longstanding and significant British ties to the Arab world, support for the Slavs in general and for Russia in particular as the gatekeepers of Biblical-Classical civilisation, and a natural affinity with Confucian culture. Exactly as much central and local government action as is required by these priorities. And a profound suspicion of an American influence and action characteristically defined against them, including an active desire for a different American approach.
And we can avoid the problems of other electoral systems while once again giving ourselves a party of civil liberties, local communitarian populism, and the indefatigable pursuit of single issues. The Nonconformist social conscience, the legacy of Keynes and Beveridge, and traditional moral and social values. Consumer protection. Conservation rather than environmentalism. National sovereignty, a realistic foreign policy, the Commonwealth, and peace activism. The redress of grievances in the countryside. And the needs and concerns of areas remote from the centres of power.
Each of these parties would act as a check and balance on the other two. They would co-operate on matters of common interest. Proportional Representation might produce them, and together they would then be in government for ever. But that would be unhealthy. Instead, we need them in healthy competition. The reforms suggested above would bring that about.