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excited the interest and divided the allegiance of the electors, Tattersall's and the Income Tax. Electors often refused to vote, rather than return a candidate who represented their views on the Income Tax, but regarded the revenue derived from Tattersall's with an exasperating complacency. This was an evil of the system, not a vice in the voter. Under the Hare scheme the elector can plead no such excuse for inaction. The choice is sufficiently liberal to gratify the most fastidious taste. A third reason for connecting the Hare method of voting with a deepening of political interest must always exist while human nature remains unaltered. I allude to the circumstance that the classification of a number of candidates in an order of merit affords some occasion for the display of a laudable vanity. The elaborate discussions which took place in Tasmania at an election held under the Hare System suggested a study no less suggestive than curious. The arguments were not always distinguished by exceptional intelligence or an exceptional integrity; but the interest was phenomenal. •Who will you put first ? Who second ?' &c. He is no true friend to liberty who refuses to
place a high value upon such discussions. (3) Lessens Mr. Hare claimed for his system that it would lessen the evils, if tion.
not remove the causes, of political corruption. The arguments by which this claim was supported are not always convincing, but they are invariably respectable. There is one argument which, so far as it goes, is unanswerable. When the parliamentary candidate is elected by the votes of a unanimous constituency, instead of by mere majorities in a geographical constituency, the number of supporters necessary for a candidate's return is considerably increased. But this increase means another obstacle in the path of
the corrupt aspirant for political honours. (4) Im
The increase of popular interest in politics and the decline of Legisla political corruption are facts which justify a hope of securing
a more virtuous Legislature. The hope becomes stronger when reflec-
a single constituency, he is freed from the disagreeable and demoralising dilemma of ordinary politics. Avoiding alike the mean subterfuge and 'the fatal avowal, he relies for support upon the diversity of the electorate. The profound importance of this circumstance will be readily admitted by the student who reflects how powerfully the necessity of conforming to the views of a varied constituency bas operated to keep good men out of politics. In such respects a comparison of the Hare System and the referendum suggests a fact of some importance. The referendum is the natural resource of a people perplexed by the domination of a corrupt or unrepresentative Legislature. But the reference to the popular vote implies a diminution of parliamentary privilege, and must therefore aggravate certain evils whose effects it is designed to correct. The Hare System seeks to remove the causes of the evil by improving the character of the Legislature.
This seems the proper place to consider the argument of Bagehot, The Hare that the Hare System is inconsistent with the independence of System Parliament, since a voluntary constituency would be a church whose parliatenets would be definite and whose despotism would be inexorable.
mentary The argument surely does not go very deep. It is quite true that a self-constituted constituency, united by some definite creed, would expect a more complete compliance in their representative than is expected under ordinary conditions. But the tendency of the selfmade constituency must be towards the establishment of closer sympathy between the representative and his electorate ; and the independence of a politician is not so much destroyed by subordination to those with whom he is in more or less complete sympathy, as by subordination to those with whom, as is inevitable under the very mixed geographical constituency, he is only in very partial sympathy. Bagehot illustrates his argument by reference to the Nonconformist minister, who must preach acceptable doctrine or receive his dismissal. The analogy is somewhat dangerous, since it suggests the case of a minister who is called upon to lead a flock determined by reference to geographical considerations. The Nonconformist minister knows what to expect when he undertakes his post, and the strength of Nonconformity in England does not tend to support the assumption that his position is incompatible with ability or strength of character. On the other band, what must be the position of the pastor of a geographical church? It is true he would not be bound in so many respects; but he would be indefinitely more liable to find himself bound in ways repugnant to his conscience and to his independence of character. To put the matter very briefly, the difference between the candidate elected under the Hare System and one elected under the usual
system, is not that the latter is the more independent, but that the former is bound to a constituency whose general sentiments he represents, and not to one whose general sentiments be represents
in part but must respect in toto. 'The Hare There is one other objection to the Hare System which should be System and the
considered before discussing the modifications of the Tasmanian electorate. Bill. I refer to the argument of Mr. Shaw Lefevre, that the neces
sity of securing a strong executive renders it desirable that majorities in the Legislature should be stronger than majorities in the country'. Now, curiously enough, it can hardly be said that the ordinary system of election attains the object regarded by Mr. Shaw Lefevre as so desirable. The system of the geographical constituency is one which leaves very much to chance; sometimes the parliamentary majority is stronger than the national majority; sometimes it is weaker; sometimes the parliamentary majority represents a national minority. But let us suppose that Mr. Shaw Lefevre was right in his assumption. What then? His argument amounts to a contention that the administration should enjoy a fictitious prestige and a fictitious strength. It should be placed in a position which would empower it to pass laws and to carry out a policy upon which the nation had spoken in uncertain and wavering terms. Such a position hardly needs express refutation. It is indeed enough to contrast it with the object of the Hare System, which is to achieve a just proportion between ministerial strength and popular support, and only to make a ministry strong when justified by the opinion of the country.
I have spoken of the merits of fair representation, of a new and the Tashe: deeper interest in political matters, of politics made purer and of manian a Parliament made more worthy. I have also referred to two
objections which have been urged against the Hare System, less out of respect for their force than out of regard for their influence. There are, however, objections to the Hare System more entitled to serious examination ; but these may be most conveniently discussed in connexion with the modifications adopted by the Tasmanian Act for the purpose of weakening, if not of destroying, their force. In fairness it must be remarked that the endeavour to meet all possible objection has resulted in some diminution of the merits of the Hare System. This is the inevitable result of compromise, and the reader must exercise his own judgment as to whether he will agree with the conclusion to which I am com
pelled—that there is a very decided resultant of gain. Tasma- Of the modifications to which allusion is made, the first has nian modi. fications.
It been generally associated with the name of Sir John Lubbock.
1 Contemporary Review, 1884.
must be regarded as a complete answer to the objection, so com- (1) Six
membered monly urged and so difficult to impugn, that the Hare System is
districts : too complicated to be practicable. The student of Mr. Hare's (a) An treatise is often tempted to regard the task of the returning officer as beyond the reach of mortals. In the unregulated application of ment from the methods to the return of a whole department of the Legislature,
plexity. it is difficult to see how the formation of voluntary constituencies could be effected without incurring all the evils of a constituencymaking trade. In the Tasmanian Bill, the method has been confined to city constituencies. These return six or four members. Though the constituencies might be enlarged with advantage, the present arrangement has one obvious merit; the argument from complexity only remains as the frail support of those whose prejudice or whose indifference has rendered them impervious to reason. The simplicity, both of the process of voting and of the general principle of the Act, is clearly shown by the following instructions which were suggested by that distinguished advocate of proportional representation, Miss Spence of Adelaide.
']. There are here twelve candidates, six to be elected.
2. Vote by numbering candidates in the order of your choice ; tionesto that is to say: Place i to the left of the candidate you like best. Place 2 to the left of the name of the candidate you like second best. Place 3 to the left of the name of the candidate you
like next best, and so on.
3. Vote for not less than three names.
5. The numbers must be placed opposite the names.
Note: Your vote will be used for one candidate according to your
without your vote), or
possibly be elected);
Returning the elector, demands no exceptional qualifications. He need display the industry of an average clerk - scarcely more.
The limitation of the Hare System to districts returning a small (6) An number of members has the additional merit of removing objections answer to
the impubased on the dangers of faddism. It is difficult to believe that tation of sincerely democratic principles can allow electors to be excluded faddism. from representation, simply because they have the misfortune to
advocate opinions which the great majority regard with aversion. Yet the cause of proportional representation has often suffered on this account. Whatever importance must be attached to the objection, it does not apply to that modification of the Hare System which has been adopted in Tasmania. In a constituency returning only six members, the electors who are strong enough to secure a representative may claim to be exempt from the imputation of singularity. The minorities which the Act encourages must always
be respectable. Political The objection to the Hare System which derives its force from sectarianism.
an alleged tendency to encourage the spirit of political faddism, has a less extreme and far more dangerous form which is not so completely met by the modifications of the Tasmanian Act. I allude to Bagehot's argument that the representation of minorities would consecrate the principle of sectarianism in politics. Every chapel,' he wrote, 'would be an office for vote transferring before the plan had been known three months. The Church would be much slower in learning it, and much less bandy in using it, but would learn. At present the dissenters are a most energetic and valuable component of the Liberal party ; but under the voluntary plan they would not be a component—they would be a separate, independent element. We now propose to group boroughs ; but then they would combine chapels. There would be a member for the Baptist congregation of Tavistock, cum Totnes, cum, &c. The full force of this cannot be appreciated except by referring to the former proof that the mass of a Parliament ought to be men of moderate sentiments, or they will elect an immoderate ministry, and enact violent laws. But upon the plan suggested, the House would be made up of party politicians selected by a party committee, chained to that committee and pledged to party violence, and of characteristic, and therefore immoderate representatives, for every “ism" in all England. Instead of a deliberate assembly of moderate and judicious men, we should have a various compound of all sorts of violence ?!'
I have stated Bagehot's objection in its full force because of its great importance. If its truth were conceded, the citizen might be tempted to condemn the Hare System for that reason alone. In the first place, let us suppose the argument to be true. It really implies that the people, if they had the opportunity, would prefer to be represented by extremists rather than by moderate men. If this were the case, the democrat might argue that the voters' preference should be sustained, and that time and the popular sense would soon apply the necessary correctives. But I do not
Bagehot, The English Constitution, pp. 155-6.