Surely, you say, we have one already? No, we don’t. A proportional system would give the Green Party, on 5% (their current poll rating) 8 seats in the Dail. Hands up who believes the Greens will win eight seats if there was a general election, even if they won 4-5%? They would not, and here’s why: Sure, they may win 5% of the vote, but if that is made up of 300 extra votes in Leitrim and Mayo and Kerry South and Tipp North but also a drop of 1200 votes in Dublin South East, then they lose a seat. The PDs in 2007 won 56,000 first preferences, enough to elect at least five seats going on a quota on 10,000 a seat, but because their vote was dispersed across the country, they only got two. So what happened?
Transfers happened, whereby PD voters (and Green voters in the last local elections) discovered that in order to get representation they had to rely on voters of other parties transferring to their candidates.
It means that we don’t get real Green TDs who deliver for Green voters, and stay true to them. We get Green TDs who know that they squeaked over the quota with the transfers of votes of people who are not committed Green voters, and so have to dilute their policies to keep them on board, thus pissing off real Green voters. We end up with TDs terrified of actually taking a firm position on anything other than Mom and apple pie.
This is why we need, alongside STV, a national list system which will elect “pure” party TDs on the basis of the votes for that party, regardless of where they happen to live. That’s what STV is for.
STV for the Local Man, National List for the Ideals Man.