Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Changing the Goalposts Again?

According io the Libdem Blogger Ffranc Sais
"Another special factor this year, which affects Liberal Democrats disproportionately (no wonder Labour and the Conservatives were keen to see it in the legislation), is that the names of list candidates will not appear on the ballot paper".
When did this go through?  I've searched for any reference via the Web and found nothing though I've not looked in the and found no mention on the web   . Though my Library hasn't had its copy of the latest Wales Yearbook yet).  But if if Ffranc is correct, then I can see some argument for it. In that it can result in large unwieldy ballot papers. But why not reduce the party list to a realistic number of 4 names.

This is not the first rule change on the Regional List prior to the Last Assembly elections a candidate could stand in a consistency and be on the regional list. Again there was some justification for this, in that it resulted in candidates with a relatively low vote in the consistency still being elected to the Assembly.
Howeve this suited Labour in Wales who changed the law as they are not largely dependant on the Additional Member List. But in Scotland where they are there was no change. So the rule was changed because it suited Labour.
Similarly Ffrank is correct that could aversely affect the Libdems (and this applies also to Plaid) in that having a name of a prominent candidate on the top of the regional List may attract extra votes.
As people who read this Blog are aware I'm no fan of Peter Black but he is a AM who is prominent and presumably would be noticed as the top spot of the Libdem list and attract extra votes.
So I can only see the reason for this is to give advantage to the Labour and the Tories and ask again who passed this?

If the Parties see that the Additional Members List iis not working , then making it more undemocratic or twisting it to serve Labour or Conservative interest is not the answer.

There is a way of making elections to the Assembly more democratic and proportional its called STV but with Labour to dominate (as I expect) the assembly for at least a decade and the Conservatives Westminster for the same period, coupled with the fact the Assembly can't run its own elections or make the rules I can't see any change coming.


  1. As you say that is the second time that Labour have changed the electoral system to suit themselves in the space of 2 elections.

    Heaven help us if they get a majority. Their ambition is clear - to get rid of the additional members completely and ensure an eternal majority for Labour on a minority of the vote and to hell with democracy.

    Carwyn Jones has been talking up the AV system, and if there is a yes vote in the referendum in May they will almost certainly push for the assembly to be elected by AV without a referendum.

    Jeff Jones has been singing from the same hymn sheet on Wales home - talking up the importance of the constituency link etc etc.

    Thw worst thing is that if the referendum votes no Labour will claim it an endorsement for FPTP and push for the Assembly to be elected by FPTP instead.

    I suppose the best strategy we can adopt is to campaign for people to spoil their ballots in the referendum and to vote tactically for which ever party can defeat labour locally, in the hope that we can stop them getting a majority.

  2. That is a blow for Assembly members like Peter Black, nick bourne, veronica german, Bethan jenkins . It is also a blow for candidates in small or less known parties who may want to push themselves more than the small party they represent.