I’m completely in favour of changing to the Alternative Vote system (in which you number the candidates in order of preference, and then the candidate with the fewest first preferences gets their votes shifted on to the second choices, and so on until someone has a majority of the vote).
Whether more proportional reforms than that might be a good idea I’m less sure, but AV clearly has a few things going for it:
It’s easy to introduce. You don’t need any changes to constituency boundaries or new types of MP. You just have to print the ballot papers a bit differently and spend longer counting them.
It keeps the link between an MP and a local constituency as clear as it is already.
It means that no MP will get elected without having some degree of endorsement from the majority of people voting.
It puts an end to the concepts of a ‘wasted vote’ and of tactical voting – or rather, it institutionalises the latter. If one of the no-hoper minor parties is your favourite, you can put them first and then pick between the likelier winners with your other preferences.
And that, in turn, means an end to those god-awful dodgy bar charts on election leaflets (I’m looking at you, Clegg) trying to prove that ‘in Burblington South it’s a straight fight between X and Y’ or ‘Z can’t win in Gurnchester – only X can keep Y out!’
Surely it’s worth it for that alone.