Friday, January 15, 2010

TUC Survey on Electoral Reform

I’ve just taken part in the TUC ToUChstone on-line survey on Electoral reform. It has analysed my responses and worked out that I am in favour of the “Alternative Vote” system. Which actually is a pretty accurate refelction of my views. While I don’t think that such reform is a particular cutting edge issue amongst the general populace - I do think it is important.

I can understand other systems such as Party lists etc are in theory more “democratic” but I do worry about the lack of accountability and would always want a fairer system that still makes MP’s answerable to their “manor”.

Anyway this is what was said on the Touchstone site about my choice of “Alternative Vote”. I think it’s not perfect but it is better than "first past the post" and ticks all the other boxes IMO.

As with the current “First Past the Post system”, the country would be divided into roughly equal constituencies that elect a single MP. But under Alternative Vote (AV), voters put candidates in order of preference.

When the votes are counted, candidates’ first preferences are tallied. If one candidate has more than half the first preferences, they are elected. If not the candidate with the fewest first preferences is eliminated and their second preferences are added to the other candidates’ totals. If necessary this process is repeated until a candidate gets more than half the total vote.

This is the system operated in Australia. One strength is that people no longer need to vote tactically. They can vote for their top choice of party, but do not have to worry that it will be a wasted vote as they can continue to express other preferences. The other strength is that every MP can claim that they have at least some support from over half of those voting.

AV can make an overall election result more proportional by boosting the third party, but less proportional by benefiting the winning party at the expense of the second party. The system favours centre parties that would gain second choices from both right and left, but doesn’t help parties with a low but geographically wide level of support. So in the UK, it could favour the Liberal Democrats and disadvantage the Greens for example.

Hat-tip thingy Johninnit!


Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on the lambeth militants blog (they dont allow comments so am asking you John to publish on yours which is read by real people) They claim some victory at the lambeth agm election but the majority of key officer positions (those who have power in the branch) have been won by the other lot (and they are as bad..) so lambeth militants have won assistant type of jobs? Well one election anyway. And some of the people they refer to as militants are more right wing than D Cammeron. Get real? I know of two who are well known right wingers. Should the swp be looking at this? (not sure the 3 people who organised this are swp but they belong to some mad organisation on the far left)

John Gray said...

Hi Selwyn

I'm sure that Nick would publish this and also respond as well?

I'll be interested in his views.

Anonymous said...

we urgently need electorial reform

additional member with regional top up

cannot believe Labour never introduced it

as socialists we dont believe in dictatorship by the minority

but thats what we have in the uk