Tag Archives: first past the post

Why electoral reform and Black Lives Matter go together

In a fair, free and open society, we would expect the makeup of our parliament and councils to reflect the demographic makeup of the area in which they serve, however this is not always the case. When some groups are over-represented, and others not, this can be symptomatic of systemic inequality, a potentially vicious cycle where an under-representation of voices from those the victims of this inequality means solutions to address it are not championed and prioritised.

By design, First Past The Post is designed to amplify many small majorities into a large majority on a representative body. By and large, many consider this feature to be unfair, but analysed through the lens of a system which already causes inequality, it also means the amplification of inequality such that those who either benefit by, or at least not penalised by, such a system are then over-represented on our electoral bodies.

This flaw of First Past The Post is one that’s not easy to rectify. When looking through a lens of gender, the mechanism of the All Women Shortlist was created to address this inequality, and by one mechanism it appears to have been effective – certainly within our parliamentary party, women have not only achieved parity, but have exceeded it! And in parliament as a whole, female representation has continued to rise. But the All Women Shortlist also has many critics, and puts into tension an individual freedom by suppressing a free and open selection process from all suitable candidates, with the systemic freedom of removing hidden barriers to entry for all genders.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

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

Opinion: why the voters are right to be annoyed, but not at the Lib Dems

So, another week, and more policies announced that are definitely not Liberal Democrat in origin. Particularly one close to my liberal heart on the issue of paying for University education. Now that debate will rumble on and on, but I want to look more closely at whether the Lib Dems did indeed “sell out” on their principles, or whether they …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments

Iain Dale’s voting system confusion

Iain Dale yesterday posted a piece attacking the Alternative Vote system which doesn’t bode well for a well informed campaign.

That’s a shame because there’s a sensible debate to be had – with Lib Dems being the first to admit that the Alternative Vote system isn’t the best of all possible options, though most would rate it as a great improvement on what we have now.

Dale writes

There’s a reason only one other country in the world uses AV. It’s a half way house. It tries to be a PR equivalent of the First Past the Post system, but in reality

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

A graphical demonstration of just how broken our electoral system is

I’ve blogged before about how if you are under 40, nearly half the seats in the country have never changed hands since you were born. That isn’t a system that gives real power to people’s votes. Nor is it a system in which MPs are held accountable for their behaviour.

Now this great map has been put together illustrating the point (click on map for larger version):

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment
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