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
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.
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.
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.