Archive for April, 2011
Next week, the UK voting reform referendum will take place, but no-one really wants the Alternative Vote do they? Nick Clegg famously referred to it as a “miserable little compromise”. As the campaigning hots up and tempers flare we start to lose focus of the real issues.
All UK electoral reformists really want a proportional system where every vote counts; AV is just a little step in the right direction. The Green Party see AV as a step towards a proportional voting system (their preference is the Additional Member System). As do the Liberal Democrats, although their preference is Single Transferable Vote.
Currently a candidate needs 50% of votes to get elected, then only half of the MPs get to make decisions. Therefore only around 25% of the population are represented. There are some simple graphics on the (assumed) result 2010 general election run under the AV system and the proportional STV system on the Electoral Reform Society’s blog.
The question should really have been ‘would you like a proportional voting system?’, but when you see how much the Conservatives have to lose, they could never let that happen. You can also see why many Labour folk aren’t too keen on it.
Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Austria, Hungary … I could go on.
Do you know any European countries that don’t use a proportional voting system in their elections?
Note: The alternative vote is not a proportional voting system.
On April Fools day, the Right Honourable Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech launching the start of the No to AV campaign. He warned the electorate against a voting system “so obscure that it is only used by three countries in the whole world” and that “it’s a system so unfair that the candidates that come second or third can end up winning”.
These words were spoken by the Conservative party leader who was selected by his party using a voting system incredibly similar to AV (see the rules on the Conservative party leadership elections, House of Commons library). Note page four of this document, in particular the ballot on Tuesday 18th October 2005. Using the ‘fair and right’ voting system of first past the post, David Davies should be leader of the Conservative party and now Prime Minister.
On April Fools day too! Incredible.