《经济学人》:英国剧变,英国正在宪法剧变的边缘
日期:2011-05-07 16:40

(单词翻译:单击)

Constitutional reform
宪法改革

All change
英国剧变

Britain is on the verge of constitutional upheaval
英国正在宪法剧变的边缘

THIS may seem an odd moment to make the claim, but Britain is a country in the grip of a modernising frenzy. The outside world may see an unvarying kingdom of royal weddings, golden carriages and clip-clopping Horse Guards, with a young prime minister drawn from the old Establishment. But strip away the pageantry, and David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is proposing radical changes to the constitutional order.

现在似乎还不是下结论的时候,但是英国正受到对现代化的狂热情绪支配。在国外人看来这个王国并无变化:皇室婚礼、黄金马车、马蹄得得的皇家骑卫队以及正当权的年轻首相。但是在这华丽的虚饰下,大卫??卡梅隆的保守党、工党、自民党联合政府正提议彻底改革宪法。

A national referendum on May 5th and months of parliamentary wrangling lie ahead. But if all the changes being proposed by the coalition come to fruition, British democracy could look and feel very different by the next general election, set by the coalition for May 2015.

5月5日全国范围的公民投票后是长达数月的议会辩论。如果所有联合政府提出的改革都得到成效,下一次联合政府举行大选时(2015年5月)英国的民主会让人们看到、体会到很大的不同。

Depending on the outcome of the referendum, that general election may be held using a new voting system: supporters of change call it the biggest shake-up since votes for women in 1928. Voters are to be asked to choose between keeping the winner-takes-all system of first-past-the-post (FPTP) and moving to the alternative-vote (AV) method, in which voters rank candidates in numbered order of preference. Under AV, if no candidate wins more than 50% of voters’ first preferences, the least popular candidate is eliminated and the second preferences of those who voted for him are distributed. The process continues, redistributing third, fourth or lower preferences until someone crosses the 50% line.

公投的结果将决定大选是否会采取新的投票体制:改革支持者称之为继1928年妇女获得投票权后最大的改革.投票人将选择是保留赢者通吃的简单多数制(FPTP)还是改为排序投票制(AV),后者框架下投票人根据喜好对候选人排序,如果没有候选人获得超过半数的首选,得票最少的候选人将被淘汰,其选票划入排在第二位的候选人名下。以此类推,经过对排在第三位、第四位甚至更靠后的候选人选票重新划分直到有人的得票超过半数。

The House of Commons is also set to shrink from 650 to 600 seats, and almost every constituency will have new boundaries. With few exceptions, the seats will be more uniform, with around 76,000 voters apiece—a change that will mean many seats straddling county borders for the first time, and the merger of many small seats, notably in Wales. The next parliament might also have a fixed term of five years, ending the privilege enjoyed by British prime ministers of choosing the date (within five years) to call a general election.

下议院的席位将从650个缩减到600个,几乎所有的选区都要重新划分。总体来说席位将更加均衡,每个议员代表近7.6万的投票人,这一改变将意味着有很多席位首次跨郡,很多量小的席位合并,尤其是在威尔士。下一届议会的任期大概也是5年,首相将不再享有(在5年内)选择大选日期的特权。

Under another set of proposals due to be unveiled in May, the present House of Lords is earmarked for abolition. Its 792 serving members are to be replaced, after a transition period, by a semi-elected house (possibly called a Senate) of as few as 300 members. According to press leaks, 80% of its members would be elected by a form of proportional representation (PR)—ie, a system in which a party that polls a fifth of the votes wins roughly a fifth of the seats—for single terms of 15 years. The remaining 20% would be appointed, in an awkward trade-off between democracy and the expertise brought to Lords debates by retired military chiefs, judges, scientists and other grandees who may be unwilling to run for party-political office. The 92 remaining hereditary peers would be ejected from Parliament, as would most (but not all) of the 25 Anglican bishops and archbishops who sit in today’s House of Lords.

在其他将于5月揭晓的一系列提案中,当前的上议院又被打上了待废止的标签。792名议员将在过渡期后被300人左右半选举产生的议院(可能名为参议院)代替。据媒体透露,80%的成员由比例代表制(PR)选举产生,该体系下得到五分之一投票的政党得到五分之一的席位,每轮任期15年。剩下的20%通过任命确定,在对民主和专家艰难权衡后,上议院的议会辩论将加入退休的军长、法官、科学家和其他无意加入任何党派的显贵要人。目前的92位世袭贵族将被挤出议会,25位圣公会的大主教和主教中大部分(但不是全部)也是一样。

Many peers expect their elected successors to be much more assertive towards the House of Commons, straining old conventions that the Lords should bow before the primacy of the elected chamber. Government ministers play down the prospect of clashes, saying there is no reason why the relationship should alter. That seems a stretch. At the least the new relationship will probably have to be written down in statutory form. And then, notes Vernon Bogdanor of King’s College London, Britain would be “halfway to a written constitution”. That marks another break, this time with the tradition that Britain’s constitution exists merely in virtual form, scattered across the statute books and buttressed by precedent and convention.

很多贵族期待他们通过选举产生的继任者能在下议院更有自信,由此打破旧时上议院屈从于下议院的惯例。政府部长们试图减少可能的冲突,表示没有理由改变现有的关系。这似乎也是行得通。最终新形成的关系很可能也要以文字形式立法。伦敦大学国王学院的韦农??波格丹诺(Vernon Bogdanor)表示那时英国算是“向成文的宪法迈进了一半”。那会是另一次突破,过去英国宪法只以道德形式存在的传统,将为法令全书所打破并受到判例和惯例的支持。

Will all these changes happen? Previous attempts at bold reform have often been watered down. Ordinary voters may determine part of the answer. Plans for reforming the upper house are—like plans for AV—Liberal Democrat ambitions, and are the personal responsibility of Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister. If May 5th sees a series of defeats for the Lib Dems—notably in the AV referendum, but also in elections held the same day to local councils and devolved parliaments—Mr Clegg will need something to cheer up his party. If, on the other hand, AV is approved, furious Tory MPs may demand that the House of Lords be left alone.

这些改变会成为现实吗?先前大胆的改革努力通常都被冲淡了。普通的投票人也许会对结果有一定的决定作用。改革上议院的计划——如采用AV——是自民党的宏愿,也是自民党领袖及副首相尼克??克莱格(Nick Clegg)的个人责任。如果5月5日自民党遭受一连串的打击——尤其是在就是否采取AV的公投,以及同日就市政委员会和江河日下的议会的选举——克莱格先生就得想办法来给自己的政党鼓气了。如果情况相反,AV得以通过,怒火中烧的托利党国会议员也许会要求喊停上议院改革。

Even pro-reform politicians admit that many knotty issues would have to be resolved before a Senate could rise from the ashes of the House of Lords. If some members are appointed, will they have less legitimacy than elected colleagues? If a few Anglican bishops are allowed to stay, what about leaders of other faiths? And will today’s peers vote for their own eviction? The 2010 coalition agreement talks of “grandfathering” to allow current peers to remain for some time. The terms of that transition will be considered by a joint committee drawn from both houses of parliament, but “most change is evolutionary in this country”, says the minister soothingly. Senior peers talk of proposals for giving ejected members a soft landing. One proposal would offer retired peers associate membership, including the right to return and visit the House of Lords for tea.

支持改革的政客们也认为在废除在上议院与建立参议院之间还有许多棘手的问题需要解决。如部分议员由任命产生,他们的地位是否会低于选举产生的同僚?又如圣公会的部分大主教可以保留席位,其他教派的领袖呢?今日还在位的贵族会愿意给将代替他们的人投票吗?2010联合政府协议表示基于“祖父条款”(即新的法律或规定通过之前享受的特权或权利)现任贵族将保留一段时间。过渡时期的任期将由来自上下两院的议员组成的联合委员会衡量,但是委员会委员长安慰道“这个国家绝大部分的改变都是革命性的”。一项提议表示给予退休的贵族议员副会员的资格,包括有权回到上议院喝喝茶。

Unfinished business未竟的事业
With so many economic headaches, it may seem puzzling to find the government so focused on constitutional change. Part of the explanation lies in unfinished business. The years of Labour rule, from 1997 until 2010, were a time of frequent (and frequently rushed) alterations to the ancient, patched fabric of Britain’s constitution. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were given their own devolved governments and parliamentary assemblies, with (depending on the region) more or less sweeping powers over everything from schools and health care to transport, housing and policing. The ancient office of Lord Chancellor—formerly the head of the judiciary, presiding officer of the House of Lords and a cabinet minister all at once—was broken into three. A Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was established and hundreds of hereditary peers kicked out of the Lords. London gained a directly elected mayor, as did a clutch of other local authorities and boroughs. Forms of PR were introduced for elections to the European Parliament, the new devolved regional assemblies, the Greater London Assembly and for the direct election of those mayors. But several democratic flaws were left unfixed.

在众多经济难题尚未解决之时,政府如此集中精力改革宪法让人感到迷惑。这部分要归结于一些未竟的事业。工党领导下的1997年至2010年,是频繁(且仓促的)给过去英国宪法打补丁的时期。苏格兰、威尔士和北爱尔兰日益衰退的政府和议会召开大会,或多或少的(各地区情况不同)取得对教育、健康、交通、住房和治安的广泛权力。过去的大法官——曾是集司法部长、上议院议长和内阁大臣三权于一身——现在分权为三人。联合王国的最高法院得以成立,数百名世袭贵族被赶出上议院。伦敦通过直接选举产生市长,另有一批当地官员和大伦敦自治市也是如此。欧洲议会采取PR进行选举,如大伦敦会议等其他新的地区会议也通过直接选举产生市长。但一些民主的缺陷却没有得到弥补。

Political leaders say they are responding to public demands to mend a system that is “broken”. They are right that trust in politicians has collapsed, notably after a string of revelations about MPs and peers caught fiddling their expenses in the last parliament (leading to prison for some). Fully 40% of voters told the latest British Social Attitudes survey that they “almost never” trust any government to put the national interest first. But alas, several of the constitutional fixes on offer are designed to serve the interests of those in power.

政治领袖们表示他们正依公众要求修缮“受损”的体制。公众对政客的信任已经崩塌,尤其是在一系列国会议员和贵族被揭露在议会伪造账目(部分人因此坐牢)等事发后。最近一次英国社会态度调查显示的不少于40%的投票人表示“几乎从不”相信能有哪届政府把国家的利益放在第一位。然而可叹的是,尚有的不少宪法修正方案就是为服务执政人利益而提出的。

The May 5th vote on electoral rules will be Britain’s first national referendum since 1975 (on joining Europe). Outside the Westminster village, few voters would have chosen arcane electoral reform as the subject for such a poll. A survey conducted on April 15th-17th by ICM, a pollster, found only 50% promising to vote (dropping to 44% in areas like London, where there are no other elections on May 5th). Campaigners expect actual turnout to be still lower.

5月5日对选举制度的投票是英国1975年(就加入欧盟)后的第一次全国性的公民投票。在西敏寺外,几位投票人选择神秘难懂的选举改革作为投票的主题。国际数学家大会(ICM,民调机构) 4月15-17日进行的调查显示,只有50%的人表示一定会参加投票(在诸如伦敦等5月5日无其他选举的地区降至44%)。活动发起人认为实际的数字还会更低。

Among the professional political classes, constitutional activism has been spurred by a growing sense that FPTP is unfair. As an electoral system, it offers ideological clarity and accountability, but it is not very representative, giving nothing to losers even with substantial support. This failing was less grating when only two parties contested most seats. In 1951 almost 97% of those voting supported Labour or the Conservatives; in 2010 only 65% did (see chart 1). In parallel, the splintering of the vote has led to a sharp rise in the number of MPs elected by a minority of votes cast in their seat: from a few dozen a half century ago to 433 out of 650 MPs last year. At the 2010 election in Norwich South—a three-way marginal where the Greens polled well in fourth place—the Lib Dems won with just 29.4% of the vote.

在政治圈内部,部分人愈发感到FPTP的不公,因而支持宪法改革。虽然FPTP选举体系清晰明确、易于计数,但是不具有高度代表性,失败者即使获得了大量的支持者也会变得一无所有。这在只有两大政党占据大多数席位时还没有那么恼人。1951年工党和保守党包揽近98%的选票,2010年却只有65%(见表1)。相形之下,选票的分裂使得有少数人选举的国会议员比例大幅上升:从半个世纪前的650个席位中占几十位上升去年为占433位。2010年在诺维奇南部的选举——三个大党得票相当,绿党排在第四位得票也不错——自民党只得到了29.4%的选票。

It is commonly said that the current system is tough on smaller parties like the Lib Dems, but that is not quite right: some very small, ultra-regional parties thrive on it, for instance in Northern Ireland. But FPTP is brutal to parties with diffuse geographical support. The Tories in Scotland won about one in six votes at the last general election, but got just one of 59 Scottish seats at Westminster. It is the same for Labour in southern England; it polled lots of home counties votes but holds just ten of 197 seats outside London. FPTP hurts the Lib Dems and smaller parties—such as the Greens or the extreme-right British National Party—all over the country.

坊间一般认为现行选举体制对于如自民党这样较小的政党很不利,这种说法也不全对:一些非常小、但高度地区化的政党在这种制度下红红火火,比如在北爱尔兰。但是FPTP对于支持者地理上很分散的政党非常严峻。上轮大选中托利党在苏格兰得到六分之一的选票,但在代表苏格兰的59个议会席位中只得到1个席位。工党在英格兰南部的遭遇也是如此:得到大量伦敦周边地区的选票,但只在197个席位中取得10个席位。FPTP在全国范围都伤害了自民党和其他小党派(如绿党和极右的英国国家党)的利益。

Yet politicians are quite capable of ignoring even glaringly unfinished business if it suits them. The key explanation for the current frenzy of political reform is the existence of Britain’s first full coalition government since the second world war.

然而政客们只要愿意就能无视这些极为显眼的未竟的事业。对现在政治的狂热改革最好的解释就是英国继二战后第一个完全联合政府的存在。

The Lib Dems have long hated FPTP. In the 2010 general election, one Lib Dem MP was elected for every 120,000 Lib Dem votes, one Tory MP for every 35,000 Conservative votes and one Labour MP for every 33,400 votes for that party. The Lib Dems really want a form of PR. Under PR, most parliaments would probably be hung, and Lib Dems could dream of playing a pivotal role in endless coalitions.

自民党厌恶FPTP由来已久。在2010年的大选,一位自民党的议员需要得到12万选票才能入选国会,保守党和工党分别为3.5万和33.4万。自民党着实希望施行PR。在PR下,议会大多都没有多数党,自民党就能期待在无尽的联合政府中担任关键角色了。

For their part, the Tories have traditionally disliked the idea of PR and indeed coalition government, but have also resented the pro-Labour bias in the current system of voting at general elections. Studies led by Ron Johnston of Bristol University show that if Labour and the Conservatives had won identical shares of the national vote in the last four general elections (and abstentions and other votes had remained unchanged), Labour would still have romped home with scores more seats than the Tories: in 2010 the “bias” was 54 seats.

托利党历来不喜欢PR以及联合政府,但也厌恶现行大选体制对工党的偏爱。布里斯托大学罗恩??强斯敦(Ron Johnston)领导的研究显示如果过去四次全国大选中工党和保守党获得完全相同的选票,工党还是会毫不费力的占有比托利党多的席位:2010年大选中这一“偏爱”代表着54个席位。

Conservatives tend to ascribe this bias almost wholly to the fact that Labour-held seats usually contain fewer registered voters than Tory ones. Between boundary reviews, that gap tends to grow inexorably, due to long-term population shifts away from (Labour-leaning) inner cities to (Tory-leaning) suburbs. This explains why Tories typically push for frequent reviews of constituency boundaries, and Labour resists.

保守党倾向于把这种偏爱完全归因于工党获得席位的注册选民数总是比托利党少。由于人口长期从市中心(亲工党)向郊区(亲保守党)流动,对选区边界的重新划分分歧也越来越激烈。这解释了为什么托利党一直在频繁推动选区边界的重新划分,而工党一直反对。

In fact, constituency size is only one factor favouring Labour. More important is that Conservative seats are often super-safe, with many more Tories turning out to vote than are needed to secure victory: Labour votes tend to be spread about more efficiently. Still, the Tory desire for new constituency boundaries and the Lib Dem hatred of FPTP gave the parties the basis for a deal, agreed during five days of coalition negotiations in May 2010. The Lib Dems would support the redrawing of constituency boundaries (and fixed-term parliaments, another longstanding goal). The Conservatives would support a national referendum on whether to move to AV. Killing off FPTP quickly became a totemic goal for many Lib Dems, who are not enjoying coalition with the Tories. Few Lib Dems are great fans of AV, a system that Mr Clegg once called a “miserable little compromise” before accepting it as a “baby step” towards PR.

事实上,选区的划分只是工党优势中的一方面。更重要的是保守党的席位通常都非常安全,托利党获得的选票比确保胜利所需的选票多得多,而工党的得票较为紧俏。托利党希望选区重新划分和自民党厌恶FPTP让这两个党派有达成协议的基础,并在2010年5月联合政府为期5天的商谈就这一点做到了探讨。自民党将支持选区的重新划分(以及另一个长期存在的目标:确定议会任期)。保守党将支持就是否采用AV进行全国公投。消灭FPTP很快成为自民党广大党员的图腾般的目标,他们不喜欢和托利党共组联合政府。少数自民党鼎力支持AV,克莱格先生曾将其称之为迈向PR伟业的“一小步”做出的“可悲的小妥协”。

The Tories have their prize already: a plan to redraw constituencies has passed into law, and boundary commissioners have been told to complete their work by October 2013. Critics of the whole process (notably MPs likely to lose safe seats) predict a future of “homogenised” constituencies ignoring historic community boundaries, weakening the bonds between MPs and voters. Enthusiasts say today’s disparities are simply anti-democratic: the average English constituency contains nearly 72,000 voters, whereas the average Welsh seat holds 56,500, and Scottish and Northern Irish ones lie somewhere in between.

托利党已得到了甜头:选区重新划分的计划已获通过颁为法律,边界委员会也将按要求在2013年10月前完成工作。批评整个过程(尤其是国会议员很可能失去安全席位)的评论家预言未来的所有选区将是“平均分布的”,不顾历史的社区边界,不断消弱国会议员和投票人之间的联系。热情的支持者表示当下的不公显然是反民主的:英格兰选区平均包含近7.2万选民而威尔士选区包含5.65万选民,苏格兰和北爱尔兰的数值介于两者之间。

Taking the strain承受压力
The referendum on whether to adopt AV has strained the coalition between the Conservatives and their Lib Dem partners as never before (the Labour Party is divided on the issue). Though the fight is presented in terms of democratic high principle, venom has been introduced because naked interests are at stake. The ideological meeting of minds between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg—a liberal conservative working with a conservative liberal, in the happy phrase-making of Downing Street insiders—has been chilled by the realisation that the AV fight is a zero-sum game for the pair. A No vote would leave Mr Clegg having to explain to his party just what they gain from coalition with the Tories. Meanwhile, many Conservatives fear that a Yes vote might bar their party from ever winning a working majority again.

就是否采用AV的公投使得共组联合政府的保守党和自民党的关系前所未有的紧张(工党在该问题上从在分歧)。尽管目前是就民主原则争论不休,双方还是因为利益受到威胁而恶语相加。原本卡梅隆先生和克莱格先生交流思想的理想会面——唐宁街内部人士将其戏称为一位自由的保守党与一位保守的自由党的合作——在意识到AV的争夺会是一场零和博弈的时候气氛骤降。若AV不得通过,克莱格先生则不得不向他的党派解释他们到底从和托利党共组联合政府中得到了什么好处。同时,很多保守党担心AV通过后他们的政党很可能永远都无法赢得大多数支持。

For both Clegg and Cameron, the AV fight is a zero-sum game
不论是对克莱格还是卡梅隆,AV争夺都是一场零和博弈。

Many of the mud-slinging claims of both camps, though, fall apart under scrutiny. Modelling data from previous elections, the New Economics Foundation, a think-tank, suggests that AV would merely trim the number of safe seats, so that 16% rather than 13% would change hands at a typical election. For all the Yes camp’s talk of fairness, the 1998 Jenkins commission on electoral reform concluded that, in a landslide election, AV exaggerates the swing to the winning party: in 1997, Labour would have won 452 seats rather than 419. Nor would AV eliminate tactical voting. AV allows supporters of small or fringe parties to cast a first-preference vote for their favoured candidate, confident that their second preference will probably be in play and hence a matter for tactics.

两个阵营间相互的恶意诽谤,在调查之后都大都瓦解。新经济基金会(New Economics Foundation,智库)表示,之前选举的数模和数据显示AV只会消减安全席位,因此有16%而非13%的席位在选举后会易手。对于赞成方阵营所说的公正,1998年詹金斯委员会在选举改革上总结到,对于有着压倒性胜利的选举,AV会扩大获胜一方的势力范围:1997年,工党因此只获得419个席位而不是452个。AV也不会消除策略性投票。AV允许小型边缘政党的支持者将他们最喜欢的候选人列为首选,但是有信心这些人的次选很可能会获胜,以此作为战略。

That does not mean fringe parties are easily elected under AV, as some No campaigners claim. Extremists are unlikely to pick up enough lower-order preferences from other rivals to get over the 50% line. But AV can result in large hauls of first-preference votes for minor parties. One plausible effect of moving to AV in Britain would be hefty first-preference votes for small parties such as the anti-European United Kingdom Independence Party, but without a corresponding haul of Westminster seats. Demands to move from AV to a full PR system would surely follow.

反对者表示这不意味着采用AV后边缘政党就很易获胜。极端主义者很难从喜好排在后位的竞争对手那里获得超过半数的选票。但AV很可能导致小党派成为选民首选。英国采取AV似乎会带来的好处就是大量的首选票投给诸如反泛欧英国独立党的小党派,但在议会的席位并不会因此巨变。从AV改革为完全的PR的呼声将接踵而至。

Other countries, however, use AV without ill effect. By holding primaries in which one candidate has to win over half the vote to avoid a second round, many states in America operate a variant of AV. France also has a two-round system designed to ensure that the ultimate winner has the backing of a majority of the voters.

然而其他的国家采用AV并没有不良影响。为了获胜候选人需要在第一轮选举取得超过半数的选票以避免进行第二轮,美国的很多州也在使用AV的变体进行选举。法国采用两轮制,旨在确保最终的获胜者取得大多数投票人的支持。

Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji use AV in parliamentary elections, and Ireland uses it to elect its president. In Australia the voting system is utterly uncontroversial. During the 93 years that AV has been in use (for the lower house, and for state elections; the Senate is elected by proportional representation), it has produced conservative governments for about two-thirds of the time, Labour governments for one-third; hung parliaments, though Australia has one at the moment, are unusual. The system is widely popular.

AV在澳大利亚、巴布亚新几内亚和斐济用于议会选举,在爱尔兰用于总统选举。AV在澳大利亚完全没有引起争议。在采用AV的93年间于(用于下议院和州选举,参议员有PR选举产生),政府三分之二的时间由保守党掌权,三分之一的时间由工党掌权,尽管澳大利亚曾一时出现悬浮议会,但这是很少见的。该体制很受欢迎。

It is not, however, a form of proportional representation, and can sometimes be less proportional than the current system. It does nothing to fix the problem of a divided Britain, in which FPTP leaves the left artificially dominant in Scotland and Wales, and the Conservatives unduly dominant in England.

这并不是PR的一种形式,侧重比例的程度有时还不及现行的体制。这也无法修缮党派分立严重的英国,FPTP使得工党人工主导苏格兰和威尔士,保守党过度主导英格兰。

Most damagingly to supporters of AV—for it undermines their core argument—it would not even stop MPs being elected by a minority of votes cast. The version of AV used in Australian federal elections obliges voters to rank all candidates in order. The version on offer in Britain would allow voters to give their favourite candidate a “1” and stop there, behaviour known to psephologists as “plumping”. Where plumping is allowed (eg, in some Australian state elections), most voters do it, turning AV into a messy version of FPTP. Even where plumping is not allowed, candidates who start with the largest haul of first-preference votes usually win.

最为打击AV支持者的是——这也损坏了他们的核心论点——AV甚至不能阻止国会议员由小部分人选举产生。澳大利亚联邦选举使用的AV版本要求投票人必须对候选人进行排序。而英国提出的版本允许投票人仅做出首选不再排序,选举学家将这种行为称之为“plumping”。如果允许plumping(如在澳大利亚部分的州选举中),很多选民就会采取这种方法,把AV变成FPTP的混乱版。甚至在禁止plumping的情况下,一次获得最多首选的候选人通常获胜。

What AV really meansAV究竟何物

None of this suggests, however, that a move to AV would be without political effects. With left-leaning Lib Dem supporters angry over their party’s decision to join a Conservative-led coalition, it would be perilous to predict how AV might affect future British elections. But most assume it would boost the Lib Dems. A University of Essex study based on polling after the last general election estimates that if AV rules had applied last year, the Conservatives would have gained 283 Commons seats (down 22 from their actual 305), Labour 248 (down 10) and the Liberal Democrats 89 (up 32). (See chart 2.)

这些都不能保证在向AV的转变过程中不会引起政治问题。在左倾的自民党支持者对于自民党加入保守党领导的联合政府很生气的情况下,预言AV对英国未来大选产生的影响可能会是很危险的。但是大多数认为这会有利于自民党的发展。一项艾塞克斯大学基于上轮大选的投票做出的研究显示如果从去年就开始就实行AV保守党就会得到283个下议院席位(比实际获得的305减少22个),工党会获得248个席位(减少10个)而自民党会获得89个席位(增加32个)。(见表2)

Just as important, FPTP is a winner-takes-all system, emphasising the clash of competing ideas as parties seek to become the most successful on the ballot. Under AV, candidates must seek instead to secure the broadest possible support. At a Yes campaign event in Dorset on April 11th, speakers vowed that divisive policies like Thatcher-era privatisations or the invasion of Iraq could never happen under AV.

同等重要的是,FPTP是个赢家通吃的机制,在政党寻求在选举中胜出时强调不同理念的竞争。采用AV,候选人必须争取可能得到的最多的支持,而不是仅仅确保获得支持。4月11日在多赛特的投票中,发言人郑重声明在AV下,像撒切尔时代的私有化或侵略伊拉克那样政治分裂事件决不会发生。

In short, the voting system chosen on May 5th will dictate the nature of British democracy. No great public tumult of ideas called this moment of change into being. Rather, the spark came from the accidental radicalism of the British electorate who were ready to be rid of one big party, Labour, at the last election, but not ready to entrust majority rule to another, the Conservatives. In their indecision and anger at politics as usual, voters called into life something alien and unexpected: a British coalition government, with a confused, only half-understood mandate to fix the political system. The British are now living through the next step of that revolution-by-accident. They will be living with the constitutional consequences for many years to come.

简而言之,5月5日选出的投票机制将会对英国民主的本质起决定性的作用。广大公众意见的混乱并不会带来现在的改革。改革的诱因是英国选民偶然的激进主义,选民们在上次大选即做好准备摆脱最大党派工党,但是并没有准备好接纳另一大党保守党。在他们对政治一如既往的迟疑和愤怒中,投票人呼吁一些外来的、从未想到的体系——英国联合政府——企图以迷惑的、一知半解的授权来修复政治体系。英国人现在正在经受那次偶然性改革的后果,并将在未来很多年忍受宪法改革的后果。

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  • ultimaten. 终极,根本,精华 adj. 终极的,根本的,极限的
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