Jim Hopkins: How to elect MPs you can trust

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Some more thrilling voting options could really spice things up in this old game.

Under the RIP voting system, no candidate ever lied or broke an election promise. Photo / Thinkstock
Under the RIP voting system, no candidate ever lied or broke an election promise. Photo / Thinkstock

In the far away land of Ticketyboo, the people are all of a twitter. For they too are in the midst of an election campaign and the excitement is palpable. There are two main parties in Ticketyboo, the Centre Middle Party and the Middle Centre Party and each insists, like parties everywhere, that they alone can fix what needs to be fixed. To this end, the Centre Middle Party is promising Ticketyboosters "more restraint and higher spending" while the Middle Centre Party is pledging "higher restraint and more spending".

So the swinging voters of Ticketyboo have a clear choice, which became even clearer when the Middle Centre Party reiterated its commitment to "higher restraint" and announced that it would borrow "many billions of dollars from Greece". The Centre Middle Party immediately responded by telling TBTV (Ticketyboo Television) that its restraint would be "even more restrained" and that it would also borrow "many billions of dollars, but we'd get ours from Italy".

Once again, the swinging voters of Ticketyboo have a very clear choice.

And that choice is not just about who to vote for either. There will also be a Preferendum, so called because it will identify which voting system Ticketyboosters would prefer to use in future elections. In this respect, the Ticketyboo elections resemble our own, although the options in their Preferendum are much more adventurous than ours.

Instead of choosing bland and predictable alternatives like FPP, STV, PV, SM and MMP, a panel of experts from Ticketyboo U has devised an exciting and inclusive range of Preferendum options for Ticketyboosters to consider. And, although there's no clear favourite at this stage, it's fair to say, whichever option prevails will be as good for Ticketyboo as any system we're likely to get here. But judge for yourself:

ASAP: Like FPP, the only thing that matters with ASAP is coming first. Under this system, voters really do need to be speedy because the polling booths only open for an hour and if you don't pick who to tick quick then you miss out completely. High on efficiency, but not popular with insomniacs or party animals.

RSVP: The same as ASAP except, with RSVP, the TEA (Ticketyboo Electoral Authority) simply calls for expressions of interest from anyone who wants to be the MP for a particular area and the first person to reply gets the job. Easy as! Economists love this option because it costs next to nothing and is statistically likely to produce politicians with an APL (Average Proficiency Level) about the same as we've got now.

PPV: Under PPV (Possibly Preferential Voting) you would still list the candidates in the order you prefer them, but reserve the right to change your mind later.

MyMP: The perfect system for the Me Generation. As its name suggests, with MyMP everyone gets their very own Member of Parliament, answerable only to them and catering exclusively to their whims, foibles and narcissistic self-obsessions. While MyMP would definitely reduce unemployment, it would be horrendously expensive.

To which supporters reply, "Are you saying I don't matter?"

ATV: Darwin would have loved this. It's the Iron Man of voting systems, guaranteed to sort the men from the boys, the wheat from the chaff, the rough from the smooth and the fit from the flabby. Because, with ATV (All Terrain Voting) all the polling booths are on the tops of mountains or in remote wilderness areas only accessible by mountain bike or goat track. So voting becomes a political triathalon, automatically weeding out all those wimps and woosies, lardites and layabouts who can't be bothered getting fit and don't deserve to elect anybody anyway.

SKYTV: The absolute opposite of ATV because, with SKYTV, people don't bother to vote. Instead, they just stay at home watching the Playboy Channel or pay-to-view wrestling matches. Which, by happy coincidence, is good for them and good for democracy.

SUV: While STV gives you a Single Transferable Vote, SUV is more a system designed for those who prefer to cast a Simply Useless Vote, usually for a party that won't negotiate with anybody else and won't go into coalition with them either, on the grounds that the best place for a government is in opposition and the best way to get things done is not having the power to do them. This system will only be declared the winner if no one votes for it.

RIP: Very similar to MMP although completely different. Under RIP, you can vote as often as you like, in as many electorates as you choose and for as many candidates as you wish. There's absolutely no limit. You can vote with a X or a big pink love heart if you prefer. It really doesn't matter. No one cares. There's only one condition with RIP.

Everyone you vote for must be dead. RIP supporters insist this is the only way the voters of Ticketyboo - or anywhere, for that matter - will ever get politicians they can trust.

- NZ Herald

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