Tag Archives: av referendum

Opinion: Voting reform must take a back seat to maintain #LibDemFightback momentum

Standing at a North London bus stop the evening after Britain went to the polls, I overheard a man give his take, on David Cameron’s surprising majority, to a friend:

You see people that don’t live in cities just don’t understand…they’ll always vote right-wing.

As someone from the countryside who has now voted for a hat-trick of different parties, I took offence in a quietly British way to his throwaway analysis of the left’s failure to make gains outside of London. And yet of course he had a point, too.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments

Why 40% is the magic number in the Scottish referendum

Brazil v Scotland 22For some reason, 40% is a figure which has long exerted political significance.

That devolution for Scotland wasn’t introduced in 1979 wasn’t because a majority of those who voted didn’t want it: by 52% to 48% the Scottish voted in favour of establishing a Scottish parliament. However, a Labour MP, George Cunningham, introduced an amendment to the Scotland Act (1978) specifying a minimum turnout threshold of 40% of the electorate. The actual turnout of 33% meant Scottish devolution had to wait a further two decades.

I was reminded of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 41 Comments

The compromiser’s dilemma: House of Lords reform

House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentYou propose something. Someone objects to it, giving many reasons. You offer to make some changes to meet some of the objections. A deal is made and progress is achieved.

A perfectly normal sequence of events, both inside and outside politics and whether the matter is as mundane as what to eat for dinner tomorrow or as public as the wording of Parliamentary legislation.

One big …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 17 Comments

Q: What links the AV referendum, boundary changes & Lords reform? A: The Coalition Agreement

It appears the Tories are attempting a sneaky re-write of some very recent, and well-documented, history. What prompts me to say this? Let’s look at the FT’s Kiran Stacey’s report of Nick Clegg’s feisty performance at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions:

asked why he was so focused on House of Lords reform when there were so many other more important issues to tackle. Clegg’s response was very telling:

There are other issues like changing the boundaries which I know are close to his party’s heart…

The Tories will absolutely hate that. They say the original agreement between the two parties was

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 6 Comments

What part of Yes do you not understand?

We don’t normally republish lengthy pieces from other people’s blogs, but in the case of James Graham’s review of Don’t Take No For An Answer by Lewis Baston and Ken Ritchie, which doubles up as a detailed post-mortem on the AV referendum, we’re happy to throw those rules out of the window because of both the post’s excellence and the importance of the issues to future campaigning and hopes for electoral reform.

So here is a slightly revised version of the post which first appeared on James’s blogYou can also read Mark Pack’s (much shorter!) review of Don’t

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 21 Comments

Don’t Take No For an Answer: Lewis Baston and Ken Ritchie on the AV referendum

The May 2011 electoral reform referendum is not a happy memory for Britain’s electoral reformers, which makes this book from two long-standing electoral reform campaigners surprisingly positive. As the title indicates, their view is that the overwhelming No vote does not signal the death of electoral reform in the UK.

In part the optimism comes from the gory details it gives of the appalling mistakes and mismanagement in the referendum Yes campaign. This was not a superbly organised push for electoral reform that got defeated; the weakness of the campaign gives some hope for a future if, as the authors express the hope, the book helps people learn from the mistakes made.

Posted in Books | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Electoral administration lessons from the AV referendum: the Electoral Commission’s view

Last week, the Electoral Commission published its report into the administration of the May’s AV referendum. Despite the high political temperatures during the campaign, the administration got little criticism at the time and so the report rightly reflects that. However, amongst the details are some important pointers to issues that are likely to come up at future elections.

10pm cut-off for voting

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments
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