Tag Archives: disenfranchised

Low Majority Dangers

Mark D’Arcy BBC Parliamentary correspondent writing about the prospects for the next Parliament and Government notes:

… the arithmetic of the next Parliament is only part of the reason why it will be so difficult to construct an administration capable of lasting even a couple of years.

The rise of UKIP, the Greens and the SNP means more MPs than ever before may be elected on an extremely narrow mandate.

Take a look at the 2010 result in Norwich South, where Lib Dem Simon Wright won on 29.4% of the vote, a hair ahead of the former Labour Home Secretary, Charles Clarke on 28.7%, with the Conservatives on 22.9%, the Greens on 14.9% and UKIP on 2.4%.

Many more seats will see three, four or even five party politics at the next election, so it’s not hard to imagine plenty of the next generation of MPs taking their seats on the basis of less than a third of the votes in their constituency.

They would have an acute sense of vulnerability. They would be under huge pressure to bring back the goods for their constituency, to deliver bypasses or new schools, fight local hospital closures, or fracking or whatever. And they could be vulnerable to constituency pressures on big votes.
BBC News Website 19 December 2014 : The next Parliament: Coalition 2.0 or confidence and supply?

This raises an interesting reflection on what we might mean by democracy. Continue reading

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What makes an election system democratic?

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

Messing with the boundaries

Recently the four national (Parliamentary) Boundary Commissioners were being grilled by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee (HC 437-i) about implementing the Coalition Government’s desire to:

  1. Reduce the number of UK Parliamentary constituencies (to 600)
  2. Make all constituencies roughly equal in size

Questioning seemed to revolve around maintaining “natural communities” and avoiding splitting electoral divisions (local government electoral units).

It is also rumoured that the Labour Party is about to start selecting prospective candidates for the existing 650 constituencies.  This will inevitable force the other parties to do the same (a sort of PPC-war).  Then if the constituencies change, there will have to be some frantic reshuffling – and no doubt internecine fighting as prospective candidates fight to keep a constituency – any constituency. (So much for loyalty to a constituency and the “constituency link”!)

It is a totally foreseeable mess – and totally unnecessary. Continue reading

AV: The foundling of British Electoral Reform

So who wants AV (Alternative Vote) – this pathetic unloved low-fat wilted fig-leaf attempting to cover the embarrassment that is our first-past-the-post voting system?

  • Not the Conservatives – they may be whipped to support the referendum bill as part of the coalition agreement but will campaign against change.
  • Not the Liberal Democrats – they want STV – proper full-fat reform.
  • Not the Labour Party – although it was in their manifesto.
  • Not the Nationalists – because they object to the timing!

Continue reading

What I want to be enfranchised

To be considered enfranchised I need:

  1. To be able to express a preference or preferences for individuals.
  2. For that expression to have some effect.

Continue reading