When 2nd best is actually best!

Another note on proportional representation. We elect MPs for two purposes, to represent us in Parliament and to choose a Prime Minister.

Sometimes the best and most supported answer is a compromise of 2nd bests which only a Parliament can deliver. i.e. the former role is more important.

Opponents of PR, within the LP, have a vision of a Labour Govt., exercising the powers of the elective dictatorship, (presumably without the corruption) ruling on the basis of a minority plurality. This always ends badly.

As other’s have said, the UK’s system i.e. FPTP is little used in democracies, and truth be told, not used in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or London.

PR may or may not benefit Labour or the progressives in the UK, but the UK is a ‘flawed democracy’ and something must change to ensure this kakistocracy is never repeated. …

The Senedd, proportionality and size

The Senedd, proportionality and size

I have been thinking how many politicians is the right number and how to build proportional voting systems, these came together in a chat about the Senedd, so I thought I’d share.

The Welsh Parliament is elected in two classes, one class (40 seats) is elected in constituencies by first past the post, the remaining 20 are elected in five super constituencies of four members elected using a D’hondt count. The D’hondt count is done allocating the first places won in the count by a party to their constituency assembly members. This means that the results i.e. the number of assembly members/party are proportional within the super constituencies subject to rounding. This is as is done in London.

Acadmemia may suggest that assemblies that are too small become dominated by the executive, which in Wales is limited to 14, while those that are too large become prone to low quality legislation and corruption. It has been suggested that the optimum size of the Welsh assembly would be 147 based on a cube root rule. See also, “Wales needs 20 or 30 more Members of the Senedd, says committee” at Wales Online.  Other work suggests that we, in the UK have too few elected politicians because we have the House of Lords and too few councillors.

Proportionality depends upon the ratio of list AMs to constituency AMs. In Wales it’s ⅓, 43% in Scotland, 44% in London and 50% in Germany, who also have very finely calculated additional seats to eliminate rounding errors and any ‘crowding out’ effect.  i.e. the Bundestag is not of a fixed size, but as one reduces the size of the top-up class of seats, we reduce proportionality. …

Labour’s rules & PR Lists

As far as I know, we already have proportional voting systems in the UK, in Scotland & Wales for the their Assemblies, in London for the GLA and for the Members of the European Parliament. I have experience of standing for and/or selecting/triggering Labour candidates in the latter positions.

While much focus of late has been on selecting/re-selecting MPs in the House of Commons these positions represent a special case.

Labour’s re-selection processes for “list” based seats in local government in England, currently only the GLA, unless we remain in the EU requires that incumbents are confirmed or otherwise as candidates (via a trigger ballot), and that new candidates are found and approved by panel. All the candidates are then ordered by a member’s vote, with the incumbents guaranteed the highest places.

This protection i.e. the guarantee that incumbents must get the highest ranking places on the list should be removed; the member’s votes should determine the order that incumbents and challengers are placed on the list, subject to the gender quota rules. The members should be offered an additional two candidates, who then become available for call up in the case that any of the selected candidates are unable to run. …

Counting

I am considering some issues relating to the conduct of elections in the UK. In Lewisham Labour we are selecting a candidate for Mayor and the election will be conducted using a simple eliminating ballot, sometimes referred to as an Alternative Voting scheme. This, it can be argued is a special case of a more proportionate voting system; the special nature being that there is only one winner and thus the result is not so proportionate. The rest of this article is a technical description of an alternative vote election, a single transferable vote election and a closed list proportional representation election using the D’Hondt counting system. …