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Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Old Feb 3rd 2020, 9:56 pm
  #61  
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
What about the party list system, as in Israel? As I understand it, it would mean the end of geographically based constituencies. That would be a major change. Also, there are incentives for parties to successively split, so you end up with too many parties.

I realize that Israel has some serious issues to deal with in terms of forming effective administrations, and then governing effectively, but it’s not clear to what extent those are Israel-specific problems, or weaknesses in the party-list system..
The party list system has its issues...... It's the system used in Portugal and in our area a mayor of good standing was persuaded to stand for the national assembly. This meant he had to resign as mayor before the election, where he was third on the list. After the vote, his party only had enough for the first two candidates - so yer man was now left without a job, not mayor and not an MP.......

The system of PR used in Ireland (PR-STV) (seems to overcome many of the issues seen elsewhere - it still allows for stable government, doesn't see fragmentation but allows smaller parties to gain representation. It was designed to overcome the issues of the FPTP system by people who knew it well and has stood the test of time. It still allows votes to be cast for individual candidates rather than for parties and party machine-controlled party lists, and removes the "wasted votes" (votes being wasted on losers and surplus votes being wasted on sure winners) by transferring them to other preferred candidates.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 1:41 am
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
The party list system has its issues...... It's the system used in Portugal and in our area a mayor of good standing was persuaded to stand for the national assembly. This meant he had to resign as mayor before the election, where he was third on the list. After the vote, his party only had enough for the first two candidates - so yer man was now left without a job, not mayor and not an MP.......

The system of PR used in Ireland (PR-STV) (seems to overcome many of the issues seen elsewhere - it still allows for stable government, doesn't see fragmentation but allows smaller parties to gain representation. It was designed to overcome the issues of the FPTP system by people who knew it well and has stood the test of time. It still allows votes to be cast for individual candidates rather than for parties and party machine-controlled party lists, and removes the "wasted votes" (votes being wasted on losers and surplus votes being wasted on sure winners) by transferring them to other preferred candidates.

Can you recommend any particular helpful source to read about the Irish system? I don't mean just the way the votes are cast/weighted, but also pros and cons of the system, etc.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 2:17 am
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

The Scottish parliament uses the D'Hondt system of proportional representation. It is odd, imperfect and specifically designed to prevent one party having a majority. It does however encourage somewhat less combative politics and a need for all parties to negotiate, compromise and find middle ground. It keeps the largest party in check with the opportunity for frequent defeat if it does not engage in cross party communication and prevents any party veering too far left or right.

I grew up being told that this electoral system was inferior to first past the post, with Italy used as an example of frequent changes to Government as a result. However seeing minority parties govern effectively over many years through negotiation and compromise has changed my view and I find it to be much more representative of the population (of Scotland) as a whole. I think the UK population would be better served by a similar system (look at the Liberal Democrats population share versus seat share as an example) but I think attitudes in England favour the status quo and it is therefore unlikley (given Englands population share of the UK electorate) that anything will change any time soon.

A small and effective short term improvement would be to abolish the antiquated, unelected house of lords and introduce a more democratically accountable upper house, in my view.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 3:11 am
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Can you recommend any particular helpful source to read about the Irish system? I don't mean just the way the votes are cast/weighted, but also pros and cons of the system, etc.
Try this: https://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics.../esd02/default

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Old Feb 4th 2020, 3:16 am
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
Thanks, appreciate it.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
What about the party list system, as in Israel? As I understand it, it would mean the end of geographically based constituencies. That would be a major change. Also, there are incentives for parties to successively split, so you end up with too many parties.

I realize that Israel has some serious issues to deal with in terms of forming effective administrations, and then governing effectively, but it’s not clear to what extent those are Israel-specific problems, or weaknesses in the party-list system..
I think breaking the link between an MP and their local constituents would be, in general, a bad idea. In addition to their role in the legislature, an MP is there to represent the interests of their consituents, on an individual or small group level, on the national stage - to bring the case of a hard-done-by constituent to the attention of the relevant Minister, for example, or to go in to bat for a local cause (whether that's supporting cultural heritage status for geographically restricted foods, or advocating for or against development proposals, or many other instances).

For this reason I think a straightforward party list system would be a step too far for any UK electoral reform. My own opinion is that a STV system would be a reasonable compromise: it would mean, for example, that all voters can vote their conscience and would eliminate tactical voting at a stroke. It would eliminate vote-splitting amongst parties on either wing of the political spectrum. So, for example, if both Labour and Conservative candidates polled at around 30%, with the LibDem at 25%, the Green at 10% and others taking 5% between them, the "least-worst" choice of the voters for the losing candidates would decide which of Lab or Con would be elected. If more LibDems posted a second choice for Con than Lab, then those votes would transfer to the Tories and their candidate would win that constituency.

It's not perfect - in fact, it works against the interests of minority parties in some cases because the choice will inevitably come down to which of the two major parties takes the second preference of lower-placed candidates most of the time. The Green party would likely struggle to win seats under an STV system, for example, whereas under a party list system they'd probably end up with representatives in Westminster. But IMO the vital component in the UK context of maintaining strong local constituency ties would outweigh such failings.

A hybrid system (local STV in slightly larger constituencies, and a regional party list "top-up" to redress vote-share imbalances) would lead to a fairer representation in Westminster, but is fraught with complication and the potential for confusion about who those "list" MPs answer to at a local level. That's a step too far, I think. But I've supported electoral reform in the UK since I was old enough to understand the issues. I also support it in Canada (which shares the FPTP system) and was extremely disappointed when it was one of the first and most significant campaign promises abandoned by Trudeau during his previous administration.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Perhaps somebody could have a word with the Dems in Iowa, they seem to be having problems.
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Old Feb 4th 2020, 2:50 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Perhaps somebody could have a word with the Dems in Iowa, they seem to be having problems.
Funny, I could have sworn this was a thread about the UK constitutional and electoral system And one that's going really well, with some very reasoned debate and no trolling.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 11:49 am
  #69  
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

It will be interesting (and informative) to see how STV pans out as the Irish GE results continue to come in.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by BuckinghamshireBoy View Post
It will be interesting (and informative) to see how STV pans out as the Irish GE results continue to come in.
There is a thread on this, incorrectly titled "Sinn Fein Win in Ireland", although there is much ignorance of Irish politics, STV and a lot of wishful thinking expressed.
The first preference votes do seem to have thrown a cat amongst the pigeons and look to make the formation of any government difficult, however, in my opinion, it represents current public opinion far better than FPTP could have done - because the First preferences clearly show that many in the electorate have little time for either of the old duopoly and therefore they will not be able to form a government without reflecting the views of others. The big unknown in all this is what would have happened had Sinn Féin have had the foresight to stand more than 42 candidates across the 39 constituencies (you need 80 TDs to form a government without relying on confidence and supply).
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 12:40 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
There is a thread on this, incorrectly titled "Sinn Fein Win in Ireland", although there is much ignorance of Irish politics, STV and a lot of wishful thinking expressed.
The first preference votes do seem to have thrown a cat amongst the pigeons and look to make the formation of any government difficult, however, in my opinion, it represents current public opinion far better than FPTP could have done - because the First preferences clearly show that many in the electorate have little time for either of the old duopoly and therefore they will not be able to form a government without reflecting the views of others. The big unknown in all this is what would have happened had Sinn Féin have had the foresight to stand more than 42 candidates across the 39 constituencies (you need 80 TDs to form a government without relying on confidence and supply).

Having done at least some of my homework from the link you provided, I'm becoming more and more convinced that some sort of STV system would be much better for the UK than what we have now. Watching (again) how despite the fact that the majority of the electorate of the UK that actually voted, voted for something other than the Tories but got the Tories anyway with an unassailable majority of seats makes me think that FPTP should be dead and buried. I used to worry about PR giving extremists a toehold, but when I look at what we have...
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
There is a thread on this, incorrectly titled "Sinn Fein Win in Ireland", although there is much ignorance of Irish politics, STV and a lot of wishful thinking expressed.
The first preference votes do seem to have thrown a cat amongst the pigeons and look to make the formation of any government difficult, however, in my opinion, it represents current public opinion far better than FPTP could have done - because the First preferences clearly show that many in the electorate have little time for either of the old duopoly and therefore they will not be able to form a government without reflecting the views of others. The big unknown in all this is what would have happened had Sinn Féin have had the foresight to stand more than 42 candidates across the 39 constituencies (you need 80 TDs to form a government without relying on confidence and supply).
I'm fully aware of the other thread, also aware of the incorrect title, which is why I made the comment on STV in here... Should I start on the Swiss system as well?
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Having done at least some of my homework from the link you provided, I'm becoming more and more convinced that some sort of STV system would be much better for the UK than what we have now. Watching (again) how despite the fact that the majority of the electorate of the UK that actually voted, voted for something other than the Tories but got the Tories anyway with an unassailable majority of seats makes me think that FPTP should be dead and buried. I used to worry about PR giving extremists a toehold, but when I look at what we have...
I blithely stated up-thread that my preferred option would be for a STV system of some sort. I actually like the Irish approach a lot: enlarged constituencies returning multiple MPs; that provides a degree of local accountability that a national party-list PR system cannot, while reflecting more accurately the wishes of the electorate on a national level.

Maclian, as ever, makes some very sound points about SF's decision to stand so few candidates: I guess the size of the protest vote caught even their own party machine off-guard. But with the STV system, it's not (yet) clear how many of the candidates that did stand will be elected; the latest predictions I've seen (with around 100 of the 160 seats declared) puts FF at a bit of an advantage through second- and third-choice vote transfers, whereas SF and FG perform about at the level of their popular first-choice vote. That seems to make sense to me, given the relative political positions of those three and the other smaller parties.The Greens may pick up slightly fewer seats than their polling numbers would suggest; independents and others (and Labour) will also drop a couple of points through transferred preferences.

To relate this system to the UK's political map is a little challenging, but as a matter of principle I still think, given the evidence of Ireland's experience in this and previous elections, that the STV system would be a good way to go for Westminster.

It won't happen, of course. The Lib Dems are the only major party committed to changing the FPTP system; they had their chance to make this a thing while in coalition with the Tories from 2010 to 2015, but it came to nought. The irony is that, with the current FPTP system in place, there's little chance of a LibDem government being in a position to make the change in the foreseeable future. More's the pity (a former LibDem voter writes...)
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by Oakvillian View Post
I blithely stated up-thread that my preferred option would be for a STV system of some sort. I actually like the Irish approach a lot: enlarged constituencies returning multiple MPs; that provides a degree of local accountability that a national party-list PR system cannot, while reflecting more accurately the wishes of the electorate on a national level.

Maclian, as ever, makes some very sound points about SF's decision to stand so few candidates: I guess the size of the protest vote caught even their own party machine off-guard. But with the STV system, it's not (yet) clear how many of the candidates that did stand will be elected; the latest predictions I've seen (with around 100 of the 160 seats declared) puts FF at a bit of an advantage through second- and third-choice vote transfers, whereas SF and FG perform about at the level of their popular first-choice vote. That seems to make sense to me, given the relative political positions of those three and the other smaller parties.The Greens may pick up slightly fewer seats than their polling numbers would suggest; independents and others (and Labour) will also drop a couple of points through transferred preferences.

To relate this system to the UK's political map is a little challenging, but as a matter of principle I still think, given the evidence of Ireland's experience in this and previous elections, that the STV system would be a good way to go for Westminster.

It won't happen, of course. The Lib Dems are the only major party committed to changing the FPTP system; they had their chance to make this a thing while in coalition with the Tories from 2010 to 2015, but it came to nought. The irony is that, with the current FPTP system in place, there's little chance of a LibDem government being in a position to make the change in the foreseeable future. More's the pity (a former LibDem voter writes...)

This actually leads to my next question - what would actually have to happen in order to change the UK system. Act(s) of Parliament? None of the big parties have any interest in that I don't think, despite Labour's current interest in destroying it self from within. Our fairly new Supreme Court? The Lords? How would such a thing even get started, and what precedent is there for it other than something from the 13th century that would probably involve chopping some people's heads off (as attractive as that seems sometimes).
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 3:26 pm
  #75  
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Default Re: Sensible thread on change of UK constitutional and electoral system

Originally Posted by BuckinghamshireBoy View Post
I'm fully aware of the other thread, also aware of the incorrect title, which is why I made the comment on STV in here... Should I start on the Swiss system as well?
I can't comment on the Swiss system, I know FPTP as in the UK, the Party List system (as practiced in Portugal) and STV (as practiced in Ireland) - the system in the USA doesn't seem to have much to recommend it, either... However, from my visits to friends in Switzerland, I would think the federal organization and emphasis on local independence would have a large impact - which is not directly applicable to the UK - but that's also true of Irish-style STV, because there are many other differences that come into play.

I am ever amazed by how much Ireland got "right" in the reforms made post-independence, because the Irish governmental and legal system is still "based" on the UK one, just with a few tweaks - A constitution, but with a legal system comprising constitutional, statute and common law (which overcomes the dead weight of constitutional law as in Portugal); The retention of the bi-cameral system, but with the upper house a senate populated by nominees (a complicated system, but one which avoids knee-jerk mirrring of the lower house); and a President, who is elected, but has no executive power and acts like the crown in the UK (thus avoiding presidential edicts, etc - seem better to me!!)

So the adoption of STV wouldn't necessarily give the same outcome in the UK as in Ireland - just a more representative and fairer electoral system (in my opinion).
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