Monday, 22 August 2011

Electoral Reform Society

In the Electoral Reform Society's election for its own council, which in these post-referendum circumstances is a dramatic one with 53 candidates and a fight of reformers versus STV purists, there are 2 candidates who have a writing involvement in some political media and who have ignored the court change. Jonathan Bartley and James Gray.

This is not to say that the other candidates all support the court change. These 2 had significant media connections to prompt telling them about it, and asking them:

"So as an indication of your standards towards democracy, are you in favour of the following "court change" being made publicly known and the media silence on it stopped and overturned?"

and "Remember of direct ERS relevance, that your position on the court change is your position on any legal issue around an election's fair conduct too." Which means the potentially difficult position they put the ERS in if they get elected and continue not to take any position on the court change.

The ERS's own election is hardly a good experience of its favourite system STV either. There are 53 candidates for 15 places, so that in any fair system you would have 15 votes, and there is one organised slate of reformers standing consisting of 15 names, while another more radical slate of 2 also endorse the 15. In STV, slates or parties are not distinguished into separate lists on the ballot paper, you are just wading through all these 53 names. But the worst feature of STV is it only gives you one vote, that's what "single" means, in electing multiple winners. A big voter disempowerment, you don't get your whole say over the result. It's absurd that such a mean system is the trendy favourite for fashionable reform groupies who don't actually study systems' merits. It means allies, including the majority of the names in the 15 name slate, are fighting each other by each appealing for your first pref vote for themself instead of their colleagues. They know they can't say it will be okay so long they are in your top 15 votes. In fact, all the prefs you cast beyond the first 3 or so are unlikely ever to be counted, all the way down to 53. Only very high prefs, much higher than the number of winners, are any use to any candidate.

ERS is clangingly showing why the faction moving an amendment at its AGM to change away from its long standing fixity on supporting only STV, are right.

No comments:

Post a Comment