Electoral Reform and PR

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by sniper_bob, May 9, 2010.

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  1. I haven't found anyone recently who doesn't believe we need some form of Electoral Reform, so what is the best system for the UK?

    The First Past the Post system has worked reasonably well for hundreds of years. However, it is open to abuse by cynical boundary adjustments providing the current mess where results are skewed to benefit the Labour Party. The Tories on 36% only get 306 seats, whereas Labour in 2005 got 35% and 356 seats and were able to continue to ruin the country for a further 5 years.

    Cameron seems to favour having fewer MPs. Since 1802 we have had around 650 constituencies and the Boundary Commission's guidance says no significant variance from 620 (+30 is considered on the limit of variance). How many does Cameron envisage - would 300 be too few? 500 not a significant change? Basically, he wants to engineer a system where the Tory vote in the larger countryside constituencies is reflected in a higher proportion of seats to the detriment of Labour's smaller urban constituencies.. It could work, but would it be any fairer?

    If we're sent down the Lib Dem route of PR, which system works best and again is it any fairer? The open or closed List systems are operated by most democratic Governments but opens the door to more career politicians. I actually like having a local MP who I feel is accountable to me every 5 years. If I was suddenly foistered with the likes of Jacquie Smith, Hazel Blears or even Edwina Curry, I'd be mightily p*ssed off..

    Do any ARSSERs have views or experience of what works and what doesn't in other countries they'd like to share? I do believe we need to change but don't want to see us all pushed down to route of a fudged compromise. PS The question relates to HoC representation - the reform of our 2nd House is a completely different can of worms!
  2. I does seem a bit stupid that our system of government is based on the ownership of a horse,as that was the reason the first past the post system came in to use, MP had to have a means of travel to get to Parliment. In this electronic age the fact we need MPs is outdated, surely there is a better alturnative to haveing 646 thieving cnuts in Westminster. We, the British invented Parliment, and I think that it is now the time for some other form of democracy
  3. Sniper_bob. Every eletoral system is rigged! For all the spin, hype and faff every system is there to serve the powers that be, and preserve the status quo, this includes PR. I know, it's the system they use here in Oz. Boundaries are still fixed, nothing changes! The only thing that does is explaining the voting system to all people (which you don't have at present in the UK) as in PR, preferential votes count! Can you imagine re-educating the entire British voting public about this! I wish you luck.

    I am not sure when this sudden love affair with PR began in the UK, however, I can assure you it is an affair doomed to disaster, and to be honest I cannot see any form of electoral reform taking place there in the near or distant future.

    The fact is, regardless of your location in this world, the only way you can effect true change is to be active at the grass root level. In other words, you have to become one of them to effect change, and that may I add is no easy task, as they will fight you tooth and nail!
  4. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    One problem with the boundaries is that they don't keep up with the dynamics of today's society. Changes take ages to analyse and put in place, which is understandable, and the present boundaries are necessarily based on the 2001 census, since when of course the flight of people with at least half a brain from the northern Labour Soviet republics has continued apace.

    Clegg needs to accept that there is no instant answer to PR as it can take so many forms, and if there is to be any change there needs to be a deep, country-wide debate as to what is finally to be put before the electorate. What in my view we DO NOT want is the Euro-election system where we are grouped in huge areas that make no sense, and the lucky winners are selected by the party leaders - who have thus been handed a huge new slice of patronage; any accountability of the MEPs to their electorate has totally vanished.

    One change I believe we need is for Scotch and Welsh MPs to be constitutionally barred from speaking or voting on issues that only affect England, particularly education and health.
  5. There's been a lot of discussion on this in the other post-election threads, notably the most recent pages of "Will Gordon go quietly?".

    Do we really need a separate thread?

    FWIW: I'd stick with FPTP in it's current form. The issues with unfair boundaries only became significant in the last decade, and thus should be pretty straightforward to adjust.
  6. zazabell - the current trend to PR is being pushed by the Lib Dems. Ever since they lost their position as the second party of choice to Labour they have been whining about how unfair the FPTP system is. Now we have a hung Parliament both Labour and the Tories want to make concessions to them on PR. I think you've answered my question though - PR doesn't provide a fairer system.

    Given that the combined BNP/UKIP vote was about the same as the DUP/SNP/Plaid/Sinn Fein/SDLP vote - we'd have about 25 BNP/UKIP MPs under a PR system. There is a freedom of speech argument that favours givng a platform to extemists - but I certainly wouldn't want them in Government!
  7. A lot of sense in that seaweed. A further point on the Euro election system is that Prescott should be held accountable for the enormous waste of the unelected Regional Assemblies, entirely based on the EU regional system - with one exception "Yorkshire & Humberside". That was created purely to satisfy Prescott's ego, when geographically it should have been lumped together with the rest of the North East Assembly.
  8. This thread is specifically a debate about Electoral Reform rather than a piecet of mudslinging - so yes, I think we do.
  9. OK, but there are several well argued views in there (p.10)
  10. I am inclining to the single transferable vote (STV) system. However, I am undecided about how many members there should be per constituency.

    Single-member constituencies simply avoids the vote splitting problem. Multi-member constituencies gets a degree of proportionality, the more members the more proportional.
  11. I agree with you 100% sniper_bob. My hope is that the Lib_Dem's don't get their way.

    To be honest I can't see any way that the people back home would ever adopt PR. It's what I have here, but I confess to hating it. The thought of putting a X next to 'One nation' or any other 'loony tunes' party in order to make my vote count fills me with dread!
  12. I'm trying to recollect my experience of STV. :? I think? that was what was used to select the Labour Party leader following the death of John Smith in 1994? I can't remember whether I voted as a Unison member or as a Labour Party member .... or both? I do remember that, being on the left of both organisations, I didn't want Blair. I recall having a single transferrable vote for both leader and deputy. So I voted 1) Leader: Margaret Beckett, 2) Deputy Leader: John Prescott. I'm not saying that my vote made any difference. 8O And I don't know how many others voted the same way. And, due to some lack of understanding, hadn't thought it through. :oops: I'm assuming that many people voted for Beckett ..... she seemed to be the canditate most representative of the left. I guess I needed to have voted for Beckett for leader AND deputy, for her to be in with a chance of deputy? Because voting for Prescott for Deputy didn't give Beckett a vote for that position.

    I suppose what I'm saying is that, if you only has ONE vote for ONE position, it might be OK. But to vote for a 1st and a 2nd seems damned confusing.

    My thoughts are that, in order to get some Socialist representation in Government, we need a system of PR. I think I must do some reading on the various systems. There are many people who would vote Green. But, under FPTP, we only have one Green MP.

    EDIT: Speaking with a friend about 20 years ago, who had lived in various countries ..... he told me that European socialists were very envious of the UK's FPTP system. The situation does NOW seem to have changed and FPTP appears obselete.
  13. Hope this helps because it still baffles me :)

    Voting system for the Scottish Parliament
    The Scottish Parliamentary election uses two systems:

    * A Constituency vote - First Past the Post (FPTP)
    * Regional vote - Additional Member System (AMS)

    The Scottish Parliament has 129 Members of Parliament (MSPs).

    Of these, 73 Constituency MSPs are elected via the traditional FPTP method. The remaining 56 are nominated via a proportional representation system known as the Additional Member System (AMS).

    Scotland is split up in to 8 regions for the AMS vote. Each region has 7 MSPs.

    Perth and Kinross is in the Mid Scotland and Fife Region which has 7 MSPs, and has two constituencies - Perth and North Tayside - which have one MSP each.

    For further information on both these systems, see www.votescotland.com


    Voting system for local government (council) candidates
    The elections on 3 May 2007 saw a change in the way councillors are elected, and new larger ward boundaries within Perth and Kinross.

    These changes were brought about by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004.

    Councillors are now elected under Single Transferable Voting (STV), a form of proportional representation which replaced the previous 'First Past the Post' system.

    This means that instead of the previous system where only one councillor was elected for each of the existing 41 wards in Perth and Kinross, there are now 3 or 4 councillors for each of the new, larger 12 wards in the area (see ward map below).

    During a local government election, voters will be asked to indicate their preference by numbering candidates in order of their choice, marking the ballot papers with a '1' for the first choice and a '2' for the second choice and so on. Voters can choose as many candidates, either from political parties or independents as they like.

    Counting your local government vote
    If your first choice has already won enough votes to be elected, or is eliminated because of having the least number of votes, then your vote is transferred to your second choice and potentially on to your third choice and so on, until enough candidates have been elected for the ward.

    For more information on how votes are counted, see http://www.votescotland.com/

    As far as the council elections, the meant there were a lot of hung councils.
    Only five councils in Scotland are now controlled by one party and 27 councils have no one party in control.
  14. They are discussing this on "The Big Question" on the BBC as I write
  15. Althing?