• hks
    171
    Here is a Socratic answer:

    1. Democracy is best.

    2. For democracy to work citizens must vote.

    3. To vote everyone must vote for someone.

    Ergo you must choose the lesser of two weevils.
  • romanv
    43
    The white supporting the proposal of adding NOTA to the ballot has now been published.

    https://nota-uk.org/2019/01/07/nota-uk-publishes-definitive-none-of-the-above-white-paper/
  • ssu
    1.2k
    They will make choices that will be of benefit to them, and discard choices that make them worse off. Therefore, over time, they themselves will be able to steer society to a point where the common good has been maximized, if – and only if- they have the power.

    NOTA provides that power.

    How?

    The NOTA option becomes a powerful voting bloc encompassing voters from all political stripes. It serves to unite all those who are dissatisfied, and ensures only a candidate with the consent of the majority can enter parliament.
    romanv
    Ah, the idea that the "sleeping party", those who don't vote, especially if it the biggest "party" makes a "clear" statement of dissatisfaction, hence if only those sleepers would vote!

    The problem only is that "nota" can mean whatever, people wanting even more leftist or even more rightwing policies or simply being "NOT interested at all". As Herg said above: "People putting a cross in the NOTA box could have a variety of reasons for doing so".

    Your answer to this:
    Yes, you understand the vast the scope of the NOTA option immediately. I disagree that they don't know why NOTA was chosen. Local party activists will know exactly why NOTA was chosen, and in fact its very presence will ensure parties begin to start taking mitigating measures to prevent voters choosing NOTA.romanv

    This doesn't make any sense. How on Earth could the "local party activists" know? From elections results that x amount of people voted candidate A, y amount of people voted candidate B and z people voted NOTA? This simply doesn't steer politics into any direction as the NOTA option doesn't give at all any information. And when the objective is to elect actual representatives, one has to pick actual people, not "I opt for better politicians".
  • romanv
    43
    A lot of stuff there. But quite aggressive in your questioning. Let me assume you are hostile to the reform. It's always difficult in these situations as you have already closed your mind, much like Herge.

    He started out saying it was only of marginal use, and when I demonstrated the reform goes to the heart of democracy, he could not come up with any kind of coherent rebuttal and refused to engage further.

    Basically, put his hands over his ears and went lalalalala.

    Are you worth engaging with? There is no point if you are simply going to shift the goal posts and not argue in good faith.

    Most of your points are answered in the white paper.

    Let me take this one, which is not answered in the white paper.

    How on Earth could the "local party activists" know?

    What you are stating here is that political parties are disconnected from their voters. Their job is to represent voters, if they can't know why people chose NOTA over them, then that means they are not doing their job. Its a pretty incredible claim you are making there.

    Let's assume its true. How do parties find out? Well, they engage with the voting base, knocking on doors, gauging opinions, gathering feedback, conducting surveys, and utilising focus groups; there are plenty of tried and tested methods of finding out why people chose NOTA. And it's their job to do so. It's literally crazy if they don't know.

    The function of NOTA is to ensure candidates and parties remain fully engaged with their voting base and put them first.

    "People putting a cross in the NOTA box could have a variety of reasons for doing so".

    Of course, that is entirely the point of having NOTA, in the UK FPTP system opposition to the status quo is divided, thus allowing candidates and parties that only represent a plurality of the electorate to rule everyone, this is not a democracy. NOTA allows opposition to unite in one politically neutral voting bloc, without compromising on their views and ideals, thus only candidates with genuine majority consent are elected.

    If the electoral system cannot elect a candidate with genuine majority consent, then that clearly means the electoral system needs reform to one where the use of NOTA is minimised. You don't do away with NOTA because too many people will use it, much like you don't stop seeing a doctor when he tells you have cancer.

    Gauging the level of public satisfaction is essential for effective governance. Its fundamental, and there is no rational or non-corrupt reason not to have it measured.

    Happy to talk further, but only if you are willing to engage honestly, not like Herge.
  • S
    10.2k
    That we already have the option for what's known as a blank, null, or spoilt vote, and in light of the potential for this:

    In that scenario, I can picture offices remaining empty for years on end, while meanwhile all sorts of economic, infrastructural, etc. disasters pile up.Terrapin Station

    I don't think that it's a great idea as a 'must have'.
  • S
    10.2k
    I live in the UK. For the past 34 years, I have been a non-Tory living in an ultra-safe Tory constituency. Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will fly over my house on the backs of pigs, holding hands and singing 'Rule Britannia', before the Tories lose this seat. If I vote for anyone other than the Tory, my vote is simply wasted. In fact it is wasted even if I vote for the Tory, because the outcome is a foregone conclusion every single time.

    So I do not vote.

    We had a chance to get a half-way decent voting system in the 2011 referendum. I did vote in that one, but of course the British electorate, with its usual stunning grasp of the issue at stake, threw away its once-in-lifetime chance to get rid of this antiquated, unjust and immoral system.

    You can put NOTA on the ballot paper if you like. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. It's a complete irrelevance as far as I'm concerned.
    Herg

    Are you both non-Tory and non-Labour? If so, that would make sense. A system other than first-past-the-post would be an advantage to the minor parties and a disadvantage to the two major parties. In terms of justification, as a Labour supporter, I think that Labour's chances of getting into government overrides the arguable unfairness in our first-past-the-post system.
  • S
    10.2k
    With NOTA, all the opposition can go into one politically neutral option: the NOTA option.romanv

    But in reality, that probably ain't gonna happen, because most voters vote for what they're for rather than what they're against, and the two major parties tend to avoid coalition politics where possible, with a few relatively recent examples being the idea of a coalition between Labour and the SNP, and the idea of a progressive alliance, both of which were ruled out by Labour and amounted to nothing of any real significance.
  • Inis
    243
    NOTA is what the Monster Raving Loony Party is for.
  • ssu
    1.2k
    Please critique.romanv

    Happy to talk further, but only if you are willing to engage honestly, not like Herge.romanv
    Well, you asked for critique, but I'm not so sure how willing you are to hear it...

    What you are stating here is that political parties are disconnected from their voters. Their job is to represent voters, if they can't know why people chose NOTA over them, then that means they are not doing their job. Its a pretty incredible claim you are making there.romanv
    Is it incredible, really?

    You can see from many examples that voters can make quite a surprise to the parties with so-called "fringe" views becoming suddenly mainstream. That there simply isn't a party that you would really like is reality in many countries.

    The fact is the membership in political parties has waned quite universally in the West. For example in my country, where the majority of people belong to some association or many, at the historical height 600 000 were members of political parties (in the early 1980's), but now the membership has declined dramatically. This from a country (Finland) with +5 million people, hence at the height well over 10% of the people did belong to political parties here (which I find amazing today).

    In the UK which has over thirteen times the population, members of political parties are is less than a million (with Labour having the largest amount of members, over half a million). That means that something like 1,5% of people in the UK actually are members of political parties.

    That political parties have become estranged from the people is a totally true problem. There are positive and negative aspects in that politics have become a profession, that you have career politicians. Above all, membership in political parties is extremely important as the actual membership of the party elects (or ought to elect) the leaders. Unfortunately in some countries political parties are themselves weak and basically are just campaign machines huddled around one politician.

    Let's assume its true. How do parties find out? Well, they engage with the voting base, knocking on doors, gauging opinions, gathering feedback, conducting surveys, and utilising focus groups; there are plenty of tried and tested methods of finding out why people chose NOTA. And it's their job to do so. It's literally crazy if they don't know.romanv
    Actually it isn't.

    You see a political party usually has some core ideology, those beliefs that make it to be seen as belonging to the left or right. And that political ideology then unites the people that form the political party and then they go on to advance their political ideology and agenda.

    If the population seems indifferent or not excited about the agenda, then a political party won't throw away it's core ideology, but simply it will start to sell it in the way that it would be more popular. Heck, it's marketing! You see, people simply don't start a party without any beliefs and then just change them to whatever the majority is feeling at the moment.
  • romanv
    43
    But in reality, that probably ain't gonna happen, because most voters vote for what they're for rather than what they're against, and the two major parties tend to avoid coalition politics where possible, with a few relatively recent examples being the idea of a coalition between Labour and the SNP, and the idea of a progressive alliance, both of which were ruled out by Labour and amounted to nothing of any real significance.S

    Well, it's a fair point, it is difficult to predict the uptake on the NOTA option in the UK. Its a new option, and it may take people time to understand the point of it. But, having said that, a parliamentary committee exploring electoral reform in the UK, conducted a study on the level of interest of all proposed electoral reforms and the inclusion of a NOTA option was one of the most popular, with 72% of 15,000 respondents in favour of it.

    They wrote a report in 2015 stating that its inclusion should be studied, but the incoming government disbanded the committee and did not act on its findings.

    A 'Reject All' option in Russia was available in municipal elections for a number of years, which won on a plurality and forced new candidates to stand, both of which are strongly argued against in the WP, won 20% of the elections. So it has been used extensively, when available, elsewhere.

    I think it will be used, and once it is understood, be used extensively, if necessary. And if it is not used, it could be a sign of its success, as the point of NOTA is to force candidates and parties to represent as much of the electorate as possible. That must be taken into account as well.

    I think the way to promote its use is to point out that by accepting inadequate representation you are letting down yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. IMO we should all only give our consent in an election when we think we each think have adequate representation.

    In terms of your point about the rarity of coalitions, this is what occurs without NOTA in an FPTP system, NOTA will, again imo, significantly weaken party-driven politics and change it to voter-led politics, and coalitions and co-operation will become more common.
  • romanv
    43
    You can see from many examples that voters can make quite a surprise to the parties with so-called "fringe" views becoming suddenly mainstream.ssu

    I think we have a fundamental disagreement here. I think they know very well the preferences of their voting base and the electorate at large, but simply choose to ignore them. The reason they can ignore them is that the NOTA option does not exist.

    In the UK, have a huge number of 'safe-seats', well over 350, in a parliament of about 615, this is the cause of the so-called disconnection between parties establishment and their voters. A large number of these safe-seats are won on pluralities, NOTA can knock them out.

    Our WP analysed the 34th most safe Conservative party seat out of the 314 they won, and the inclusion of NOTA could easily turn it from a 'safe-seat' to one NOTA can easily 'win'. This represents the death of party-driven politics imo, and will prevent the estrangement you refer to. (p18 if want to refer to the WP)

    In the WP, we discuss the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' this is a well established political theory, that is backed up by studies of large organisations that shows that all organisations are shaped by an oligarchy at the top, as they reward loyalty. The only way to prevent it is by a NOTA option on the ballot, as that reduces the power of the oligarchy at the top significantly.

    If you use PR in Finland, we have a section in the WP how NOTA can be implemented in a PR system. ( p27 onward)

    That political parties have become estranged from the people is a totally true problemssu

    That is what NOTA is there to solve. I am not saying that they are not estranged, just because dominating elite are estranged, that doesn't mean grassroots activists doesn't know what is happening on the ground. And if they don't know shouldn't we ensure the system forces them to know and act on what the electorate wants?

    You see a political party usually has some core ideology, those beliefs that make it be seen as belonging to the left or right. And that political ideology then unites the people that form the political party and then they go on to advance their political ideology and agenda.

    If the population seems indifferent or not excited about the agenda, then a political party won't throw away it's core ideology, but simply it will start to sell it in the way that it would be more popular. Heck, it's marketing! You see, people simply don't start a party without any beliefs and then just change them to whatever the majority is feeling at the moment.
    ssu

    That is not the problem for voters, that is a problem for political parties to solve. Don't make their problems a problem for voters. So much of politics, without NOTA, is political parties using voters to solve their internal politicking. The BREXIT referendum a case in point.

    (Not that I am arguing in favour or against BREXIT or its result, but pointing the reason why we had the referendum was Cameron having to deal with factions in his party, rather than a sincere desire to find out and then follow the wishes of the electorate)

    Well, you asked for critique, but I'm not so sure how willing you are to hear it...ssu

    I am very willing to engage with everyone as long as they are also engaging in good faith.

    As a side note, once you examine the conceptual framework of democracy, it becomes clear how central the incorporation of consent is in its real-world implementation. Once you understand that, then you see how far short the current implementations are from democratic ideals. What we call democracy is really an elected oligarchy, and the characteristics it has are a result of having an elected oligarchy, rather than a democracy.

    The potential this simple reform has to re-shape politics is astonishing. I am surprised, on a philosophy forum, that no-one has engaged me more (at all?) on the concepts we use.
  • romanv
    43
    A link to a snippet from an interview my colleague had on the 'The Wright Stuff' show on talk radio on NOTA and the WP.

    https://twitter.com/talkRADIO/status/1082312007234260994?s=19&fbclid=IwAR3EqiTJGEMGJGsfaNCK9O_-hsgIjm9jXzEgqEy_JHEHcGM868nMpszE9SA
  • ssu
    1.2k
    In the UK, have a huge number of 'safe-seats', well over 350, in a parliament of about 615, this is the cause of the so-called disconnection between parties establishment and their voters.romanv
    This is something relative to the UK, where the electoral system differs from ours. Here we use a proportional representation, namely the D'Hondt method. In the UK you have actually various systems, but the notable one is the "winner-takes-it-all" system, the single member plurality system. I assume this system gives you the "safe-seats". Correct me if I'm wrong.

    There are pros and cons in every system I guess. For example, with the proportional representation system here the votes needed to win a seat depends on other members success.

    we discuss the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' this is a well established political theory, that is backed up by studies of large organisations that shows that all organisations are shaped by an oligarchy at the top, as they reward loyalty. The only way to prevent it is by a NOTA option on the ballot, as that reduces the power of the oligarchy at the top significantly.romanv
    Umm...how?

    So if people can vote your NOTA option and these NOTA's get over 50% which makes the election process be held again, just how does this have these kind of effects the way parties are organized?

    You see, in democracies the elections are the thing that are democratic, not the political parties themselves (which is something many Americans are confused about with their so-called "primaries"). How political parties organize themselves are up to themselves and their members: if the ordinary members haven't a say, it's the problem of the party, not the democratic system. With or without any NOTA option.

    Hence actual participation in political parties by ordinary people that aren't looking for a political career or job opportunities later from the party is the best way to keep the representative model working and the political parties on beat with the voters.

    What we call democracy is really an elected oligarchy, and the characteristics it has are a result of having an elected oligarchy, rather than a democracy.romanv
    Oligarchy means a bit different thing. Besides, if the voters are passive and go along with the candidates and parties that they have, it's basically up to them. The root cause of the problem likely is that people don't hold political parties accountable, far too easy to believe the lies over and over again and pick the least worst candidate there is.

    Your NOTA option might also just justify and encourage apathy and disinterest in politics in general. The attitude of "I don't know, I don't actually care, I'll just vote NOTA" without any consideration of what that NOTA actually would be.
  • romanv
    43
    This is something relative to the UK, where the electoral system differs from ours. Here we use a proportional representation, namely the D'Hondt method. In the UK you have actually various systems, but the notable one is the "winner-takes-it-all" system, the single member plurality system. I assume this system gives you the "safe-seats". Correct me if I'm wrong.

    There are pros and cons in every system I guess. For example, with the proportional representation system here the votes needed to win a seat depends on other members success.
    ssu

    Just the one system AFAIA. Perhaps there are local elections arranged differently, but the 'winner take all' is the predominant one. Yes, this is the one where we end up with safe seats, and this is how the political establishment becomes entrenched, isolated, and estranged from their voters, there are seats that have not changed parties for generations.

    Umm...how?

    So if people can vote your NOTA option and these NOTA's get over 50% which makes the election process be held again, just how does this have these kind of effects the way parties are organized?
    ssu

    Because now they need genuine majority consent to get elected, in the vast majority of seats, including safe seats, only a plurality vote for the winner. To put it in context, the 2 main political parties, in every election from 2001 (except the last one) got less than 50% of the vote once you take turnout (around 70%) into account, but between them, they control over 90% of the seats in parliament.

    Once NOTA is in place there is a simple, and democratically valid way, to stop such a travesty. The majority who never vote for the MPs sitting in parliament (apparently 68% of votes have no effect on the result of an election in our system) can now coalesce in a single politically neutral option. So now the whip-hand is in the hand of the electors, not the party elites, so they have to change or they will not get elected.

    Hence actual participation in political parties by ordinary people that aren't looking for a political career or job opportunities later from the party is the best way to keep the representative model working and the political parties on beat with the voters.ssu

    How can it be the best way if it doesn't work? Clearly, it doesn't, you said it yourself. Think of it this way. You are paying for everything already through taxes, now why do you need to do the work as well?

    In the WP we talk about the 'lead, follow or get out the way' model that describes literally every electoral system without NOTA, it is not democratic, it is an authoritarian model that usually results in political elites that are out of control from voters.

    The ethos behind representative democracy is that we elect representatives precisely bc we don't have the expertise or experience to run a country ourselves. To do what you advocate successfully you need more of a direct democracy, and I have nothing against that, but your way is not the best way, its the worst way. The only way to get representative democracy to work as it should is if voters have veto power to reject all at the ballot if they so wish.

    Oligarchy means a bit different thing. Besides, if the voters are passive and go along with the candidates and parties that they have, it's basically up to them. The root cause of the problem likely is that people don't hold political parties accountable, far too easy to believe the lies over and over again and pick the least worst candidate there is.ssu

    Oligarchy means that power is in the hands of a few, and that is exactly what happens now. With NOTA, power is in the hands of voters, that is a democracy. You can't hold political parties responsible without NOTA, at the very least its very difficult

    our NOTA option might also just justify and encourage apathy and disinterest in politics in general. The attitude of "I don't know, I don't actually care, I'll just vote NOTA" without any consideration of what that NOTA actually would be.ssu

    That's just silly. There is nothing stopping people doing the same random party now in any case, if they are that disinterested. How does giving people a way to make their voice heard, and ensure it can have a democratically valid effect encourage apathy and ignorance? You may as well say that the sunshine and rain stop plants from growing.

    People who are disinterested will not vote. The point of NOTA is there to be an option at the ballot so people who do care can ensure that if they are not guaranteed adequate representation, they can reject all the options on the ballot. There is nothing negative about this, in fact accepting poor representation is negative. If you love your country and value democracy and freedom, hold out for representation that you think is worthy of yourself, your family, and your nation.

    No-one is doing you a favour by standing for election, they are getting paid if they win, and they have their hands on your tax money. They have to serve you, you don't serve them. These are potential employees auditioning for you, there is nothing negative about rejecting them all if they are sub-par.
  • angslan
    53
    Personally, I am against single-member electorates, where constituents choose only one member to fro the electorate to represent them in parliament (or whatever assembly). Single-member electorates produce the largest amount of vote wastage, because many people will be left without a first-preference representative from the available selection.

    NOTA, I think, would only function well in a single-member electorate - I;m open to hearing how it could be formulated differently for a multi-member electorate.

    In Australia, parties are granted funding based upon their percentage of the vote, so a vote for a party who will almost certainly lose in an electorate can still benefit that party more than refusing to vote, especially if they also have candidates in other electorates.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    The thing is, in the end a decision must be made.


    "None of the above" shirks that responsibility.
  • romanv
    43


    The responsibility of voters, no, their solemn patriotic duty is to only give their consent to representation that each considers adequate. To accept sub-representation is to let down not only themselves, but also their families, their communities, and their nation.

    In our lives we will only get 10-12 opportunities to vote in elections that can shape the national destiny, we must make each one count. Accepting sub-par representation is shirking our responsibility, our responsibility is to ensure we have the best representation that is possible to obtain in our judgement. And we will see that judgement manifest itself, as we are the ones who live with the consequences of our decisions.

    Banno, you have it back to front, the electoral system exists for us, not the other way round.

    People didn't sacrifice themselves so we can have shitty little wankers strutting around as if we owe it to them to let them tell us what to do, they sacrificed themselves so we can have an opportunity to make the world a better place for everyone.
  • romanv
    43


    I;m open to hearing how it could be formulated differently for a multi-member electorate.

    If NOTA gets the required quota of votes then that seat will remain empty until the next election. That empty seat will automatically register as a vote aginst all proposed legislation as

    1) that is the democratically valid consequence of a NOTA seat
    2) it aligns the assembly with the will of the voters, the more empty seats, the more difficult it is to pass legislation, just as it should be.The assembly's interests are then aligned with their voters, as they will always strive to minimise the number of NOTA seats, and the only way to do that is to always strive to serve voters first and foremost.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    Would that there was a word for the presumption of those from the USA. A yank-o-centric view? "Solemn patriotic duty" - laughable. Dow nunder, we are obligated to vote. We vote every three years for the commonwealth, every three for the State. If we don't like the choice, the accepted response is a cock-and-balls.

    Nice the see the good Australian word "wanker" gaining ground.
  • romanv
    43


    Quite often NOTA is portrayed, unfairly, as something negative. If I try and defend it using that frame, then I am losing the argument, but if reframe it as a positive, and not using NOTA as negative then I win.

    imo opinion anyway.

    I think making an appeal to emotion is an important part of getting people involved in a topic. And I am pretty passionate about it all anyway.

    Without a reliable measure of public dissatisfaction, you cannot have good governance, it's a fundamental requirement that has been completely ignored.

    Compulsory voting, without an option to abstain and an option to reject all, encapsulates everything that is wrong with what is called democracy today. This is why politicians should never be in charge of anything, as they will cock it all up.

    I think I will leave it there.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    Compulsory voting, without an option to abstain and an option to reject all, encapsulates everything that is wrong with what is called democracy today. This is why politicians should never be in charge of anything, as they will cock it all up.romanv

    That's pretty crap logic. I guess it was not intended as presenting an argument.

    Voting was made compulsory Dow Nunder because hardly anyone turned up to vote on Federation. Did you miss the import of the cock and balls? One can vote informally.

    SO stop complaining that you have to vote, when you don't.

    7547066-3x2-large-ammjc6ggcvcy7pnshm2_t460.jpg
  • romanv
    43
    ^ I am aware you can deface the ballot, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be an option to abstain.
    You get to be childish and they get to ignore you. Lose-lose for you and win-win for them.

    Without an option to reject all, you get diddled, and your idea is to bend over and take it like a man.

    You have been had my son.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    You are still focusing on your own corrupt electoral system. Basically your system is fucked. It's a large reason why the USA counts as a partial democracy.

    Dow Nunder we call spoilt votes informal. And we keep track of numbers. It's about five percent.

    Folk in the USA who are pissed off with the system just do not turn up.

    So perhaps a better approach for you would be to get as many people as possible to turn up and draw a cock and balls on their ballot.

    Easier than changing a law that no one cares about.
  • romanv
    43


    You make a large number of assumptions in your post. You stick with the cock and balls, let the grown-ups work on the rest.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    Yeah, will do. Your writing reeks of that Sovereign Citizen crap, or worse, of Ayn Rand. Passionate male fragility.

    But thanks for the chat.
  • romanv
    43


    Your writing reeks of being a utter cock, so...

    7547066-3x2-large-ammjc6ggcvcy7pnshm2_t460.jpg
  • Banno
    5.1k
    SO much for the grown-up then.

    You see, I think making an appeal to emotion is an important part of getting people involved in a topic. And I am pretty passionate about it all anyway.
  • romanv
    43

    Jog on mate, jog on. We are done here.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    Cheers. Have a great day.
  • romanv
    43


    You too mate.
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