And the winner of our Liberal Voice of the Year award is… Edward Snowden

liberal-voice

It's a fortnight since we launched our search for the Liberal Voice of the Year with the aim of finding the individual or group which has had the biggest liberal impact in the past 12 months. This is LibDemVoice's seventh such annual award, and as is our tradition, we looked beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the liberal who’s most impressed our readers and is NOT a member of our party.

We unveiled the shortlist here on New Year's Day. In total, 363 readers cast a vote in the past two weeks using a preferential voting system. The final (13th) round of voting gave the following result:

1st: Edward Snowden

LIBVOICE Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and NSA contractor who disclosed intelligence files to the media, triggering a global debate about how far the state's spying activities exceeded the law.

2nd: Malala Yousafzai

MalalaYousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, who expanded her campaign against the Taliban’s ban on girls from attending school by addressing the UN to call for worldwide access to education.

3rd: Coalition for Equal Marriage

coalition equal marriage

Coalition for Equal Marriage, the campaign group created in 2012 by Conor Marron and James Lattimore, championed the same-sex marriage legislation passed in 2013.

As last year, the person well ahead on first preference votes in the initial round was eventually confirmed as the outright winner once the votes for losing candidates were re-distributed - but only just. With not everyone using all their available votes, Edward Snowden emerged the winner with 43%, narrowly ahead of Malala Yousafzai.

My thanks, as ever, to Ryan Cullen for devising the preferential voting technology and calculating the results.


The results

Counting votes using ERS97 STV. There are 14 candidates competing for 1 seats. The number of voters is 363 and there were 363 valid votes.

The bar charts below show the vote counts for each candidate in each round. Place the mouse over a bar to see the number of votes.

  • Yellow — Votes carried over from the previous round.
  • Green — Votes received in this round.
  • Red — Votes transferred away in this round.

A candidate's votes in a round is the sum of the yellow and green bars. Since the green and red bars represent votes being transferred, the sum of the green and red bars is the same.

The exhausted bar represents votes where the voter did not indicate a next preference and thus there were no candidates to transfer the vote to. The threshold bar (where shown) indicates the number of votes that ensures that a candidate will win a seat.


Round 1

(next)

Count of first choices. The initial quota is 181.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 2

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Don't Judge My Family. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 181.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 3

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Candidates Caroline Criado-Perez and Tom Daley were tied when choosing candidates to eliminate. Candidate Caroline Criado-Perez was chosen by breaking the tie at round 1. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Caroline Criado-Perez. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 181.00. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 4

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Tom Daley. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 180.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 5

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Lindiwe Mazibuko . Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 180.00. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 6

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Pussy Riot. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 179.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 7

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Alan Rusbridger. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 179.00. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 8

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Candidates Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen and Jose Mujica were tied when choosing candidates to eliminate. Candidate Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen was chosen by breaking the tie at round 1. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 178.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 9

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Jose Mujica. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 177.00. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 10

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Pope Francis. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 174.00. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 11

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Jo Shaw. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 171.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 12

(prev) (next)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Nelson Mandela . Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 167.50. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.


Round 13

(prev)

All losing candidates are eliminated. Count after substage 1 of 1 of eliminating Coalition for Equal Marriage. Transferred votes with value 1.00. Since no candidate has been elected, the quota is reduced to 154.50. Candidate Edward Snowden has reached the threshold and is elected.


Winners

Winner is Edward Snowden.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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30 Comments

  • Perhaps you could hold the vote a few weeks earlier this Year, before we all get caught up in Xmas.

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jan '14 - 12:33pm

    Joe Otten: Please explain why this is not a sound methodology for 2nd place, at least? (I’m a novice at these things) – it looks like Malala, the 2nd placed candidate was in 2nd place at all stages.

    Surprised that Mandela was not preferred by more people; whatever one feels about his early history of opposing the South African state with the threat and exercise of force, his securing a significant and largely peaceful transition from racist oligarchy to multiracial democracy is unequalled in the modern era. I suppose people felt that Mandela was yesterday’s news. A bit sad, that.

  • dennis parsons 15th Jan '14 - 12:53pm

    Matt (Bristol) – on your logic, Winston Churchill would win every year. Dying was not a major contribution to a more liberal society. Surprised Nelson Mandela got so many votes.

  • Geoffrey Payne 15th Jan '14 - 12:58pm

    Matt – if it were for lifetime achievement then Mandella would have got first place from me. However for year 2013 it had to be Snowden – a worthy winner this time.

  • Well THAT could have been a lot more depressing than it was.

  • Andrew Martin 15th Jan '14 - 2:07pm

    I’m pleasantly surprised…the daft ones (I won’t say which!) were eliminated pretty early

  • Anybody who aids Russia and China to the detriment of democratic nations is not a liberal.

    Snowden is many things, brave certainly, foolish undoubtedly,traitorous perhaps, but a liberal he is not. Liberals do not act without care of consequences for innocents.

  • Max Wilkinson 15th Jan '14 - 8:30pm

    As I understood it, this wasn’t a ‘who is the biggest liberal’ test. It was about specific action(s) during the last year that contributed to the cause of liberalism. On that basis, Snowden passes the test.

  • Peter Andrews 15th Jan '14 - 9:15pm

    Very happy with this result as I think Edward Snowden did a very brave thing to help protect all of our Liberties from state surveillance even if so far little seems to have change because of his actions.

  • Martin Lowe 15th Jan '14 - 9:28pm

    In my mind, Edward Snowden speaking out against the actions of the State reminds me of Harry Willcock saying “I’m a Liberal and I am against this sort of thing” when he refused to produce his ID card and was subsequently prosecuted.

    I hope that Snowden will eventually be as vindicated as Willcock was.

  • Pretty worrying that pope francis got to round 10.

  • Good result in my opinion. As others have said, if it was a lifetime achievement test I’d have gone for Mandela , and if it was 2012 I’d have gone for Malala, but for 2013 Snowden edges in front I think.

  • “Anybody who aids Russia and China to the detriment of democratic nations is not a liberal.”

    Sure, because America, despite being a democracy in name, makes it the standard bearer of all liberty and freedom in this world. Who cares if they spy on citizens?

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '14 - 4:16am

    g, I never thought I would find a lone accomplice on the “Snowden is not a hero” bandwagon from the left of the party, but here I have :).

    I don’t have strong opinions on this, but broadly I think he released too much information and to the wrong sources and then ran away. Liberalism is not anarchism.

    Parts of the left (the Guardian newspaper especially) are often too quick to support anti-western narratives, which aids regimes such as as Al-Qaeda and North Korea. g is right when he says “Liberals do not act without care of consequences for innocents.”.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '14 - 4:42am

    By the way, by calling him a hero, especially the liberal hero, we are encouraging others to do the same. It’s back to g’s criticism of acting without responsibility. I don’t mean any personal criticisms here, I just think we need to look at it from a slightly different angle.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '14 - 4:46am

    It is true doing nothing also has it’s consequences, so people shouldn’t be frightened into inaction, I just get worried that people actually agree with the bulk of what the Guardian writes, a large part of which says “the west is the enemy”.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '14 - 5:44am

    I don’t mind if people think Snowden was largely right, I just sense knee-jerk hero proclamations because some think being free to be blown up by terrorists is fundamentally liberal. It’s not, it’s anarchist. 🙂

  • Eddie – I would agree with a criticism of Julian Assange based on that logic. He released information indiscriminately, much of which showed activities that were embarrassing but not illegal or particularly immoral. (He also left Bradley Manning to face most of the consequences so I would add a charge of cowardice to one of irresponsibility. )

    Snowden is different. The information he released didn’t just highlight some slightly dodgy official activities that surprised no one. It brought to light the wholesale abuse of power by various UK and US intelligence agencies. Many of the powers that the “snoopers’ charter” legislation would have granted to the security services, for example, were already being used – with no legislative endorsement and without the knowledge or consent of parliament or the British public. That’s not just slightly dodgy or a bit embarrassing, that’s shocking. A piece of legislation that was dropped because it was too controversial, and which Nick Clegg rightly spoke out against (albeit somewhat at the last minute), turns out to have been unnecessary because they were doing it all already.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '14 - 7:51am

    Thanks Catherine, you have improved my view of Snowden. This is the high quality debate we need.

  • I’m not a Lib Dem!

    Neil,

    Sure, because America, despite being a democracy in name, makes it the standard bearer of all liberty and freedom in this world. Who cares if they spy on citizens?

    Are you really so naive as to think that Russia and China don’t spy on us too?

    Everybody spies on each other, they always have. There should of course always be scrutiny over just how much and arguments over the necessity, and these should be in public. Europe and the USA have the freedoms in place for us to discuss spying, and challenge our politicians about it. What do you think happens to people in Russia or China who criticise their state? A lot of then end up dead, in prison camps or, if they are lucky, under long term house arrest.

    (second attempt at posting this, first was using wrong name)

  • I tend to agree with g, Eddie and Catherine – mixed views of what Snowden did and how. I voted for the Uruguayan President as he seemed to make the biggest positive contribution.

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jan '14 - 2:40pm

    I felt Malala and Mandela (among others, including the Campaign for Equal Marriage) edged it over Snowden in that they effected major change in the law and/or culture in their countries; Snowden may prove with hindsight to be a significant actor in the history of liberalism, but at the moment his is (even viewed positively) a voice of protest and challenge, but not yet the leader or initiator of a movement for coherent longterm constructive change.

  • Chris Manners 20th Jan '14 - 4:21pm

    “Liberal” is a funny word. Whatever nonsense the current Orange Book front bench comes out with, someone will pop up to tell us it’s in line with “liberal” heritage and values.

    Yet “liberal” apparently also covers stuff that the same leadership would cross the road to avoid, like civil liberties.

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