Sunday, December 9, 2018

Why Electoral Reform Got Sidetracked For a Couple of Decades

The first reason is that the really smart politicians who understood the dangers of proportional representation (PR) passed away thirty or more years ago and were not replaced by a crop of a similar calibre. SKJ and SSR died in 1985 while Renganaden Seeneevassen who was one of the fiercest critic of PR was gone even earlier – he died in the middle of 1958. The only politician of that generation who is still active is SAJ which would explain why he dubbed PR a komeraz. But then again he doesn't seem to fully understand all the risks of PR. This is reflected in the dangerous bill on electoral reform before parliament. It has failed to address the problems with government formation countries encounter when they add a dose of PR to a first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. And we definitely cannot count on Navin Ramgoolam and today's Labour Party to bring wisdom to the debate. They're deeply mired in trickle-down economics and bean-counting.

The second reason is terms of reference (TOR) that were too narrow. From Sachs to Sithanen only PR solutions were considered although better non-PR solutions exists. There was even a brief attached (see screenshot) by the MMM to the TOR of the Sachs commission. It's fine to raise an eyebrow. The big plus of course is the internet. Ideas can spread a lot faster than before in our hyperconnected world.

The Real Reason Politicians Want Dose of PR

It's not because they want more women in parliament. Legislation can be passed within our current first-past-the-post (FPTP) system to have female candidates represent at least one-third of the candidates. It's not to remove the obligation for candidates to categorise themselves into one of the four categories of the best loser system (BLS) either as we just need to chop this section off our constitution to do that. Besides the BLS is not subsumable. It's not to correct the big imbalances that were generated in four of the last 11 general elections because these can be handled in a way that doesn't take away any of the huge benefits of the FPTP. Plus we need to remember that three of the four lopsided results collapsed before 21 months.

So what's the reason for a dose of PR and increasing the size of a parliament that's already way too big? Easy. To create a class of MPs that we cannot remove in a general election as shown in the chart above.

Make sure your MP knows you don't want this. I guess you will see Rezistans ek Alternativ which is all for a banana republic in a new light now. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

How You Know the BLS is Not Subsumable

That's easy. Just check the democracy-shrinking bill on electoral reform that the PM will be bringing to parliament tomorrow. If a party doesn't line up at least 1/3 of women or men (see p6) it will lose its party status and will therefore not get any proportional representation (PR) seats. If a PR-MP crosses the floor his or her seat may be declared vacant under certain conditions. Clearly these are sanctions. But look for one if you don't line up candidates from more than one community and you will find none. Are there sanctions if names on the party lists don't reflect some of our diversity? Nope. Any sanctions if the best loser seats as defined in the dangerous proposal are attributed to members of one community? Ziltch.

We know that the BLS has deprived us of some really good oppositions. And that 50 years of progress is enough proof to do away with it because the best protection for any minority is policies that makes sense: progressive taxation, respect for the environment and solving national problems. But that's not what happening. Attempts are being made to fool us into believing that an autocracy will make us a united country. This is also what Rezistans ek Alternativ has effectively been doing for several years.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How Mature Are Mauritian Voters?

Quite mature and increasingly so. We just need to look at the calm environment in which our elections take place. Plus voters have proceeded with five changes of government (see 1) with four of these happening in the past twenty-three years. These were made a lot easier by our FPTP system which produced clear winners immediately in ten out of eleven general elections – it took a tiny bit more time to form a government in 1976. And given how we massively rejected the wicked plan of a scheming trio in December 2014 it is natural that proposed changes to our electoral system be put to us in a referendum and not decided in parliament as it smacks of a conflict of interest. Especially when they will seriously blunt a weapon we've used to keep several politicians out of our National Assembly including the five who have been our PMs. And open the door for all kinds of additional abuse in these times of passport sale and ministerial eye-test.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

6,716 Road Fatalities in 5 Decades

As the chart shows fatalities increased by about one-third as from the third decade and pretty much stayed at that level since then. Which roughly coincides with the time we've been stuck in the middle-income trap – half of which we've been in the flat-tax trap.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lepep Had Promised Several Referendums

In its electoral manifesto (see p7). The PM should forget about several and instead organise one with some crucially important questions like in the chart below. I can't think of more important issues like tax structure and electoral reform. We know what the flat tax has done to the finances of our government and to the country. We are also aware how lucky we are to have such a good constitution. Hey, it has produced clear winners immediately after 10 out 11general elections and stable government after stable government. That's no small benefit for a SIDS like us. Plus we are very mature voters. We have handled five changes of government with four of these happening in the past 23 years. No small feat. So ask us what we think. And get our permission.

Organising a referendum will also bring two major advantages to Lepep. The first one is to avoid a catastrophe in a year by getting precious feedback from voters now for an immediate course-correct. The second one is to be the first government to organise a referendum. That's some bragging rights. If the questions are genuine that is.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eski Etnisite Pli Gro Fakter Dan Eleksyon Zeneral?

Dan en interviu an Fevriye 2014 dan Mauritius Times Sithanen ti dir ki etnisite eksplik ant 65% a 70% rezilta sak eleksyon an mwayenn ek li fin al ziska 85% trwa fwa ek ant 50% ek 55% pu de 60-0. Li ti osi dir ki sa zame pu sanze. Nu rapel usi ki li ti prevwar ki Ptr/MMM ti pu gayn par 60-0 parski 40% + 40% = 80%. Pa bliye ki li ti sanz sirkonskripsyon. Li ti kit nimero 18 kot li ti for pu al dan nimero 13. Si linn buz dan nimero 13 se sirma pu bann rezon etnik parski samem fakter pli inportan dapre li.

Be kuma li eksplike ki linn tronp li par 43 siez, ki li mem finn perdi so siez ek ki Ramgoolam ek Boolell pa finn eli alor ki zot ti eli dan zot sirkonskripsyon sinq ek sis fwa dafile? Lot zafer se kifer li pann poz so kandida dan nimero 18 an Desam 2017? Ek ki fer pann truv li lor lestrad Ptr ant 2015 ek preske lafin 2017? Ek kifer li pann gayn tiket an 2010 uswa poze kuma indepandan?

Bon kuma nu kone li pa tro for dan bann analiz. Pa limem ti dir nu pu gayn krwasans 8% si bes taks kuma linn fer a partir 2006? Apre nun truv so reform elektoral enn veritab galimatia danzere. Mwa mo panse sa zafer etnik la se enn diversyon pu ki zot kav kontinye kul moris ek bann politik ki favoriz zis enn ti ponye dimunn.

Zot pe gayn traka parksi dimunn zot lizye pe uver de plis an plis.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Galbraith At 110

The first time I heard about him was when I saw my dad showing a couple of the books of the great economist to some people in his study – which also served as living room. I was probably watching Spiderman – thank you Stan Lee – but kept an eye on what they were doing. You know just in case the massive personal library did have some cartoon books somewhere. It looked like he was a fan. How could he not be? They were both curious writers, sharp observers, had designed policies and even spent a fair amount of time in India.

I think the first JKG book I read from cover to cover was The Great Crash and funnily enough I read it in 1987 a year in which the Dow Jones collapsed by 508 points in a single day. It didn't take long to like the guy and learn plenty of stuff. For example it is in one of his books that I learned that we owe the sentence the survival of the fittest not to Charles Darwin but to Herbert Spencer. Elsewhere that trickle-down economics aka supply-side economics was in fact the horse and sparrow theory of the 1890s. It was obvious that Ken had read an extremely large amount of stuff. And it is important to read him to get the big picture, avoid groupthink and develop enough of self-preserving wit.

I always wondered if my dad and Galbraith had met. Thanks to Assange I found out that he was trying to get him to visit Mauritius back in 1974. They probably have. When I feel nostalgic about JKG I go read this obituary to be reminded that it takes several versions for a text to feel right and that spontaneity doesn't arrive before the fourth day. November 15 also turns out to be the birthday of another great: Guy Rozemont.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Waters Squeezes in Perfectly Legal Message

Last night in Curitiba, Brazil. See, it was unlawful to campaign after 22h00 so at 21h58 a multi-part message appears on the concert screen to remind fans of this fact and to urge them to prevent fascism from taking over their country in the general election today. Also included in the message was the slogan used to motivate the movement against seeing Bolsonaro occupying the Planalto in the coming days: Ele Não! (Not Him!). Not too sure that this attempt of the 75-year old rockstar will be enough though as the right-wing candidate still has a double-digit lead over his rival, Mr. Haddad. Indeed the fact that Brazil has just been in one of its worst recession ever and the law and order situation seemed to have got out hand – 17 of the 50 cities with the worst crime rates are in the huge South-American nation – doesn't favour the election of candidate of Lula's party.

Marine Le Pen must be watching all of this and thinking she'll be calling the shots in about three and half years. And blessing failed policies.

What do you think the flat tax is eventually going to make happen in Mauritius?