Category Archives: Winner should win

Achieving Political Fission

Ian Birrell in the Guardian (Monday 27th September 2014) ponders whether a Conservative split may be the catharsis the party needs, concluding:

Yet what really binds the many decent and tolerant conservatives to those misanthropes filled with fear and rage against modernity?

Fear.

To be “conservative” implies an element of holding on to the past – because it has to be better than an uncertain future. Too often this can overpower any search for change for the better.

Two problems stoke this fear.

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 winner should win (take 2: The Tug-of-War)

Julian Ware-Lane in his blog reflecting on the Conservatives reaction to losing control makes the point:

The Conservatives, it could be argued, won in the Borough [with 30.29%]. I think a more accurate telling of the story is to state that with 69.71% voting for other parties it was quite a rejection.

To be fair to them this would be consistent with their approach to AV. Remember their comparison to a horse race and the slogan “the winner should win“. It is written into their political DNA which means that a lot of the behaviour that he complains about is actually instinctive rather than rational.

The problem with their analogy is that they rig the race. Continue reading

Who we vote for

One of the little understood issues with our present system – indeed with all Parliamentary systems (as opposed to Presidential systems) – is what we are actually voting for at a General Election.

We are voting for representatives not governments – despite what the media coverage says. From this flow a number of consequences and not a little confusion. Continue reading

STV for MPs electing a Speaker, but not for us!

So in the by-election for a new deputy speaker there are seven candidates and according to the BBC News website (15 October 2013 Deputy Speaker: Seven Conservative MPs to contest ballot):

The election will be conducted under a system known as single transferable vote, where MPs will be able to list their preferred candidates in order of one to seven on the ballot paper.

If no candidate secures 50% plus one of the votes in the ballot, the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated and their preference votes re-distributed to other contenders. This process will continue until a winner emerges. Continue reading

A system to blow your mind

Just come across this as a voting system – and have severe brain-ache. It does however appear to have something going for it when it comes to wanting to vote for or against candidates or indeed for or against “the system”.

It’s called chiralkine logic. Continue reading

What makes an election system democratic?

How offended can you be before an election result is “not democratic”? Continue reading

UKIP Vote split

Nigel Farage stated today (BBC Today in Politics 1 March 2013)  in response to UKIP pushing the Tories into third place in the Eastleigh by-election (result):

The UKIP vote was split by the Tories

Daniel Hannan (Conservative MEP) blogging on the Daily Telegraph (The Eurosceptic Right wins more than half the vote, the Europhile Left gets in with less than a third) urged the Tories and UKIP to come to a pact.

Between them, the two Centre-Right parties secured 53 per cent; yet the Lib Dems got in with 32 per cent. This is worse than the SDP/Labour split of the early 1980s. It is more like the Conservative/Reform split in Canada in the 1990s, a split that gifted the Left vast parliamentary majorities on a minority of the vote for over a decade.

Imagine Eastleigh being replicated in 100 constituencies at the 2015 general election. Or in just 50. Yet again, the first-past-the-post system would see an essentially Eurosceptic electorate return an essentially Euro-integrationist House of Commons.

Oh dear, what to do? Continue reading

Supplementary Voting

Some commentators have tried to explain away the high number of “spoilt ballots” in last weeks PCC election as the public being confused by the voting system.  Detailed analysis of the spoilt ballots might confirm this, but I am left wondering why they did not use the simpler Alternative Vote?  Oh, yes they screwed up a referendum on that issue earlier this year. Continue reading

Broken Promises and the Westminster System

I can’t help but notice an occasional Labour refrain, “The Lib Dems are breaking their election promises” – admittedly, not quite as regularly as the Conservative refrain “The mess we were left with”.  Both should be dropped. Continue reading