Local Elections – Are Rotten Borough’s creeping back into out creaking democracy?

The Electoral Reform Society has an illuminating and worrying article on it’s website – see link below:-

www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Election-Cancelled-Uncontested-Seats-Breifing-April-19-ERS-EMBARGOED.pdf

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

Moderation! – Bugger that for a lark I’m too angry about what’s happening to the UK

Do you feel angry about the state of the UK at present because I do. We seem to be being run by pygmies when we need giants. Just look at the House of Commons; it’s not at all an inspiring place full of MP’s we can have confidence in.

Our NHS, Police, social care and economy are on the slide big time yet we are one of the richest counties in the world.

The human race is systematically trying to destroy the very planet we depend on via pollution, global warming and poor environmental husbandry generally. This is frankly well beyond the fringe issue which it generally is treated as, except when when an environmental/human disaster takes place of course.

I’ve had enough of it myself and here’s my radical list of things that need to be done starting yesterday:-

* No more privatisation of public services – only genuine, not for profit, Co-Ops and mutuals being possible alternatives to publicly run services.

* Get rid of of UK’s nuclear deterrent and spend the money on decent public services.

* Back the Right to Die; stop making excuses on this human rights issue.

* Campaign hard for Proportional Representation so everyone’s vote matters.

* Reject Brexit and everything it stands for to save jobs and our economy.

* Make sure the UK has the best/highest green/environmental credentials/policies.

* Campaign against killer air pollution before it kills us all.

* Fund the NHS and social care properly via general taxation.

* Promote a citizens universal wage/income.

* Wage a real war on poverty and the excesses of the super rich. Our economy needs to be seriously re-balanced before our society breaks down completely.

Oh I could go on but I do feel better for getting that off my chest….

Tories want to entrench our appallingly unrepresentative voting system even more!

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/josiah-mortimer/general-election-2017_b_16699764.html

The Huffington Post has the story on its web site – see link above

Well just look what the Tories are trying to slip through in their manifesto, an extension of our appalling electoral system that gives us governments which less than 40% of those who voted have supported!

Yes I know that many Labour people back the First Past the Post too because it gives them parliamentary constituencies where they are also guaranteed a win. Trouble is the FPtP system gives the Tories far more of such seats. Time to wake up and smell the coffee Labour.

Oh and are you wondering why you are not getting many if any leaflets through your door in this general election? It’s probably because our warped electoral system makes your constituency one where either Labour or the Tories are all but guaranteed a win so the political parties, who understand this, don’t bother to waste their time in such constituencies. Probably only a 3rd to a half of constituencies are where the real campaigns and fights are taking place.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Brexit – Why did it happen and will it hasten PR?

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07mj400/britains-vote-in-the-eu-referendum

I am grateful to my friend Bob for pointing me in the direction of the link above on BBC I Player, which is in the form of a series presentations from knowledgeable people who have tried to understand why people voted the way they did in the recent referendum.

The first speaker to my mind makes some cutting and accurate remarks about how Blair took power away from working people and thereby created the vacuum for UKIP to move into.

The video is quite long but it is worth sticking with it so that all the shades of opinion can be taken on board.

Where it leaves us to my mind and indeed to that of Bob is that we desperately need an electoral system where every vote actually counts as opposed to the present one where in many constituencies it simply does not.

In the recent referendum folks voted in reasonably large numbers because they knew their vote was of equal value to that of other voters. They also voted to bloody the nose of the establishment that had disenfranchised them on an almost bugger the consequences basis.

Obviously as a ‘Remainer’ I feel the result was one hell of an own goal for the UK and that the dire consequences will take years to unfold. But at least I am getting a clear view as to why the electorate took what at face value was an irrational decision with such worrying consequences.

Knowsley – And you wanted evidence that our warped ‘first past the post’ electoral system does not work!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-elected-without-winning-single-11266602

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.

Still life in Proportional Representation despite our love of a ridiculous electoral system?

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/owen-winter/proportional-representation_b_9615964.html

Now it can be no surprise that an old Liberal like me thinks we should have a fair electoral system and yes I know that probably two thirds of you readers would probably rather stick with a demonstrably unfair one. There got that bit off my chest but stay with me for the hell of it.

The link above is to an interesting Huffington Post article which rehearses many of the arguments for PR/Fair Votes. It also makes it clear that what we were offered in that odd referendum (remember it in 2011?) was not PR/Fair Votes. To be honest I don’t know why we had that referendum at all as it probably put back the possibility of a fair electoral system for a generation, then again that’s probably why we had it?

With thanks to my Research Assistant Roy Connell for spotting the Huffington Post article.