The Electoral Reform Society has an illuminating and worrying article on it’s website – see link below:-
Quote from the ERS article – ‘Since moving to a proportional voting system (STV) for local elections in 2007, the scourge of uncontested seats has almost vanished in Scotland.’
The article is sobering indeed because of the number of seats where a single candidate is unopposed and where the electorate for the wards where this happens is denied a vote because there is no election – they get the only nominated person whether they like it or not.
Of course those of us who have been campaigning for electoral reform for generations know what the solution is – proportional representation via the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system in multi-member seats, be that for Council, Westminster or EU elections. Presently in England we only have a vaguely proportional system (where the number of seats a party gets is near to the % of votes that party receives) for EU elections.
My thanks to Bob Robinson for the lead to this posting
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above
If this story does not show why our warped electoral system is failing people I don’t know what does.
What’s the point of standing against Labour in some Knowsley wards – the result is a foregone conclusion so candidates have stopped even putting up against Labour. This places our democracy under threat as voters end up with no choice because they don’t have an election through which to make a choice. Labour will get re-elected in some Knowsley wards no matter what local people think of them.
Credit to the Liverpool Echo for exposing this important issue and thanks to my spotter Keith.
The Independent has the story – see link above
I must admit that I felt that electoral reform had been killed off for at least a generation when in the 2011 referendum British voters voted 2 to 1 to keep our wholly unrepresentative first past the post voting system. Indeed, I thought the referendum itself was a bad move as the result, at that time, was always a forgone conclusion. Sadly, this was another misjudgement from Nick Clegg who could not get his head around the fact that once he U-turned over Tuition Fees nothing else he headed up (in this case electoral reform) stood a chance of ever being approved by UK electors.
But then the 2015 election threw up one of the most unrepresentative results in living memory with a Tory Government that over 63% of the electorate voted against. All of a sudden other parties found the electoral system was rather unrepresentative! I wonder how many of their members voted against electoral reform or ignored the referendum in 2011 but now want to see it happen?
Labour have always been against electoral reform although to give him his due their last leader, Ed Miliband, does support it. Labour’s problem is that in inner city seats our warped first past the post system always gets Labour MP’s elected just like it helps get Tories elected in the leafy suburbs and countryside seats. However, Labour can’t now win a majority of seats without taking many of those areas where the Tories usually win; even more so now the Tories are gerrymandered the system in their favour for the 2020 election and beyond. So what will Labour do? Oppose electoral reform and settle back to be an opposition party for at least 2 generations or smell the coffee and embrace fair votes?
Vested interests in the Tory and Labour parties will oppose electoral reform until their last breath so it’s a tough ask indeed. Or look at it this way can you imagine the Bootle Labour Party backing electoral reform before hell freezes over?
I don’t know about you but all this will they, won’t they over whether we are to have a Elected Merseyside Mayor is getting to be tedious. As far as I can see there is no groundswell of support for an elected mayor across Merseyside with only the Labour Party in Liverpool and Sefton wanting one.
And what of Joe Anderson’s statement when earlier this year he said critics of plans to devolve more powers to the region were “bringing the area into disrepute”.
I do not care for Joe Anderson’s approach to being Liverpool’s Elected Mayor and feel that he shines Liverpool in a poor light. So if Joe was to be the Elected Mayor for all of Merseyside!!!!! But why did he say this? Possibly because he was frustrated because few people agree with him over this matter. But anyway no one that I know is being critical of the principle of devolving more powers to the Liverpool City Region.
As a Liberal my whole political life has been one of trying to get powers devolved from Westminster to cities, towns and local communities and I have spent much of this time being opposed by Tories and indeed the Labour Party!
The issue with the Tory Government and indeed Liverpool Labour Party (supported by Sefton Labour so it would seem) is that they want any powers that could be devolved to be in tandem with Merseyside having an Elected Mayor. It is the Elected Mayor that we don’t want!
And another independent perspective about this imposition of Metro Mayors:-
Our crazy electoral system and the need for it to be changed to one that produces results proportional to the votes actually cast was probably the most significant national issue that brought me into Liberal politics in the first place back in 1980. Our rubbish electoral system usually produces governments that have only gained minority electoral support but are then given a Parliamentary majority. Not only that but it also gives us ‘safe seats’ where the election campaign usually ignores the voters in those constituencies altogether.
Any serious look at this ridiculous way of running a supposed democracy and you can only conclude that the Single Transferable Voting (STV) method should replace First Past the Post.