Author Archives: Adrian Pellas-Rice

Opinion: Getting things out of proportion

Finding things to complain about in The Guardian is hardly difficult, but here are two little blemishes that bleed deep:

First we have a quote from editor Alan Rusbridger in 2013, touching on the AV referendum:

They came up with such a weak version of proportional representation that they could not get anyone excited or enthused.

And second, a report from earlier this year on a Guardian staff ballot:

Staff of the Guardian and Observer have voted in favour of Katharine Viner… using the single transferable vote system… he successful candidate is guaranteed a place on the shortlist of three that will go forward to the next round of interviews conducted by the Scott Trust.

Claiming that AV is a form of PR, or that you used STV for what turns out to be a single-winner election, is incongruous at best, and probably just plain wrong. And, of course, the article doesn’t mention that Labour was the party that “came up with” AV as a 2010 election commitment.

If you want to get technical, it is true that AV is essentially STV-1 (STV electing a single member).  But the two names are used distinctly with good reason. STV-1 is a degenerate case, with less complexity and none of the proportionality of its multi-winner siblings. Important connotations of “the single transferable vote system” do not apply to AV, and vice versa. Even if this kind of equivalence was intended, the bold passages still needed qualification in order to make sense to the Guardian’s general readership. It seems far more likely the editorial process just got it wrong.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

Opinion: Achievable electoral reform for 2015

Securing an initial cross-party agreement is rarely enough to deliver constitutional reform. The dilemma for proponents of proportional voting is that such a fundamental change will always require a lengthy period of consultation. This time is a boon for the backroom operators in the big parties looking to backpedal, backstab, and poison the water. Ask Labour or the Tories for proper voting reform and what you will get is a long-term commitment that is lukewarm and effectively worthless.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 50 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 18th Feb - 11:26pm
    Paul Holmes, "What especially qualifies someone from the private sector or the military.." Have you not read Plato's republic?
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    TCO, The old age dependency ratio is about 29% compared to 18% in 1960 and will continue to rise. At present, the retirement age is...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 18th Feb - 11:12pm
    The original article very massively overstates it's case. As Thatcher said, advisors advise, ministers decide. Clearly there is always a tension in a government or...
  • User AvatarJeff 18th Feb - 11:08pm
    marcstevens 18th Feb '20 - 9:52pm: In a mixed economy we should also be stating the case for some nationalisation including public ownership of the...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 18th Feb - 10:23pm
    Have its terms of reference been published? A lot of people have said publicly what they think went wrong (seed the latest Liberator, passim). I...
  • User Avatarmarcstevens 18th Feb - 10:10pm
    I would concur with Katharine. Isn't your strand of liberal thought as you call it more at home in the SDP or Liberal Party as...