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 AvatarDavid Raw 16th Sep - 9:47pm
    @ Yokel "Is Chuka Umunna the British Obama?" No, I'm afraid not by any realistic stretch of the imagination.
  • User AvatarRodney Watts 16th Sep - 9:46pm
    Whilst Chuka has demonstrated his considerable abilities in this speech I regret that he has chosen not only to criticize Jeremy Corbyn & the LP...
  • User AvatarColin Paine 16th Sep - 9:45pm
    Great speech.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Sep - 9:44pm
    @ Adam "Not saying that the £ might not take a hit, " It's probably escaped your notice that it already has..... it's floated down...
  • User AvatarGaryE 16th Sep - 8:59pm
    I'm hugely impressed by Chuka and Sam too. Very different personalities but both incisive, clear and compelling communicators. They will do the party proud whenever...
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 16th Sep - 8:48pm
    Is Chuka Umunna the British Obama?
Thu 10th Oct 2019