Category Archives: List Systems

Candidate Priorities under List Systems

A BBC Article (Looking ahead to the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections 4 January 2016) contains this revealing snippet about Scottish Labour:

Consider Kezia Dugdale, first up in the Hume programme. Right now, her Labour comrades are understandably expending energy in getting themselves as high up their party’s Holyrood regional lists as possible.

Ms Dugdale decided to reopen the lists, removing the special status accorded to sitting MSPs. In addition to those, there are one or two eager ex MPs who rather fancy an early return to elected politics.

But why on the list and not a first-past-the-post seat? Why seek regional election and not a constituency? Because, of course, Labour stands to win relatively few Holyrood constituencies if current opinion poll indications are borne out. And of course, they won just one seat at last May’s general election.

This says so much about why list and hybrid systems are inappropriate if you want candidates to focus on the electorate rather than their selectorate! Continue reading

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Local Government Reform

In the first article of the ‘Merger, He Wrote’ series, Steve Brooks director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru reflects on the Welsh Government’s new white paper on local democracy.

So many of the issues he identifies could be improved by the introduction of STV. Continue reading

Kicking the F’ing Tories

The Huffington Post (10 September 2014 Cameron Pleads With Scots Not To Choose Independence Just To ‘Kick The F-ing Tories’ – other citations are available) reports Cameron as saying:

“People can feel like it’s a bit like a general election. That you make a decision and five years later you can make another decision. If you’re fed up with the f-ing Tories give them a kick and then maybe we’ll think again. This is totally different,” he said.

The Conservative Party only has one MP in Scotland. Alex Salmond has had some success in framing the debate as a chance for Scots to never again be governed by the Tories.

It’s a pity he could not go one stage further and suggest that Scots stick with the union so that in May 2015 they could give the Tories a Glasgow Kiss as well as an f’ing good kicking.

Only he wouldn’t, he didn’t and he can’t. Continue reading

STV as a tug-of-war

In a previous post having another go at the horse race analogy used by supporters of FPTP (First Past The Post) electoral systems, I tried to compare AV (The Alternative Vote) to a tug-of-war:

Initially the die-hard supporters of the two established foes (usually Labour and the Conservatives) take an end each. As they start pulling they scream out promises and threats to bystanders to try to persuade

  • their stay-at-home supporters to pick up their end of the rope and pull
  • supporters of minority parties to lend their weight (if only to stop the other side winning)
  • the apathetic to look at how things are going and if they don’t like what they see to also lend their weight.

As all of this happens you may find a few people changing ends, but the result is determined by who has the greatest weight of support and can pull themselves over the line at the close of polls.

Electoral Tug-of-War

Electoral Tug-of-War as an AV analogy

I also suggested that STV (the Single Transferable Vote – usually in multi-member constituencies) might be a multi-dimensional version of this tug-of-war with each candidate having a rope. I have since been trying to visualise this! Continue reading

Myth Busting: The Constituency Link

“The Constituency Link” is often claimed by opponents of reform to be a vital element of the operation of representative democracy.  By this they mean single member constituencies.

But how real is this link and to who does it matter?  I suspect that outside the politorarti it is far less sacrosanct than claimed. Continue reading

Myth Busting: The Israeli Example

Israel is often quoted as an example of the dangers of electoral reform.

In essence Israel is treated as a single constituency country and members are elected in strict proportion to the votes cast.  A consequence of this is that parties with very little support can get elected and have a possibly disproportionate impact on the government.  However, no one is suggesting this particular system for the UK – Proportional Representation is not a “single system”.

Continue reading