Until 1950 graduates of British universities used to have two votes. They could vote in the constituency where they lived and they were also entitled to a second vote for a university MP. Some graduates today might like the sound of this, as a sort of ‘buy one, get one free’ voting offer in return for having paid tuition fees.
The university seats were Cambridge (2 MPs), Oxford (2 MPs), London (1 MP), Combined English Universities (2 MPs), Combined Scottish Universities (3 MPs), University of Wales (1 MP) and Queen’s University Belfast (1 MP). The MPs who represented these seats had little canvasing to do and received virtually no constituency correspondence. Some MPs might be tempted by this.
Many high-profile political figures represented university seats, including Gladstone, Palmerston, Peel and Ramsay MacDonald, along with able independents, such as AP Herbert and Eleanor Rathbone. Campaigners for higher-calibre candidates and more independent MPs could find something of interest in this.
A system of proportional representation was used for university seat elections (the Single Transferrable Vote). Electoral reformers might like the sound of this.
Perhaps this quaint and undemocratic system was not such a bad idea after all!