There are some things we prefer men not to do unless they do them tolerably well — play the church organ, for example. There are other things we prefer a man to do for himself, whether he does them abysmally or well.
The democratic faith is that government, helping to manage the affairs of the tribe, falls into a class of things we prefer all men to do for themselves.
"In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves — the mating of the-sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the State. This is democracy; and in this 1 have always believed." (G. K. Chesterton.) The idea of democracy is fundamentally interwined with the ethos of Christianity — for it flourishes inevitably in the belief that all men are of inestimable im portance and that everyone has something of value to contribute. The first past the post system of voting favoured by Kevin McNamara in your issue of April 22 has very little in common with the idea of democracy. All that such a system ensures is that all representation, and hence all power, goes to the largest minority group, and that in a significant number of cases the largest minority is also an absolute majority — but that is through no merit in the system: it is a mere accident of time and place.
Under this system, the majority of men cast their vote for a losing candidate and are, therefore, effectively disenfranchised — and that is not democracy. The single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies, on the other hand, is the purest and most sensitive instrument the inventiveness of man has yet devised to ensure that the votes of as many men as humanly possible actually count, are cast effectively and arc given equal weight when it comes to 'electing a representative assembly to manage the aftiars of the tribe. It is, therefore, profoundly democratic.
Its introduction, however, requires a change of heart. It means a reduction in the politics of confrontation. It means abandoning the crude notion that elections are about winners and losers.
It means a new humility, and acknowledging that all men, whether they are members of minorities or majorities, and however profoundly they differ from my own viewpoint, are made in the image of God and have something of inestimable value to contribute.
It means seeing the nation more as a family, rather than as a battlefield in which all the spoils go to the victor. It means abandoning the pagan notion that might is right: provided I have more votes than the next mart, the rest can go to Hell all I cduanrreepresented for eternity, for It means facing up to the fact that an autocracy of a minority is every bit as pagan as an autocracy of a majority is every bit as pagan as an autocracy of a minority: "might is right" does not become acceptable merely because must people supportllitC All Christians should instinctively support the phasing out of crude and out-dated electoral systems and support the introduction of the single transferable vote in multimember constituencies: for, by any yardstick that one may choose to judge an electoral system, the single ctransferable onstit a aci evso ties i bn ymfual rti
democratic system currently them e m alb eo rs st And it is self-evidently a Charrtisftoirad.n, just and good thing to be a democrat.
Dartford, G. E. Moorhouse Kent