Monday, 9 May 2011

STV for Wales in 2016.

You don't have to be a Conservative supporter to think that it is patently absurd that their leader lost his seat because his party had won an extra constituency seat.

The current method of Constituency and Regions which Top up parties is plainly not working.

Firstly there was the original spectacle of rejected candidates at a constituency level being elected on the regional list. Although this was clearly not particularly democratic. It was somewhat even more undemocratic for Labour through Peter Hain.to unilaterally change the rules in Wales to prevent candidates for standing in constituencies from also standing on the regional list.  a situation which did not affect Labour because of its strong showing at consistency level. Though strangely (or not)  they did do so so in Scotland where Labour candidates who were defeated at constituency level were more likely needing the regional list option to get elected.

Labour also changed the rules for the recent election  to simplify the ballot paper for the regional list by not placing the candidates names. We were told that the names would be displayed at the polling station, but at the one I voted in there was  no display of the list candidates and when I queried this, I was only shown the list of people who signed the nomination papers. The political parties did not help us by failing to tell us who was on the list in their election communications. So unless you were like myself a political junkie you may not have known who you were voting for

Then we had the case of .parties like the Greens and UKIP  contesting only the regional list. This meant that the concept of Top Up did not apply to them . Nevertheless the possibility of Parties getting AM's from the regional list and yet not standing in any constituency was there, which despite the fact I would have liked to see a Green AM (But not UKIP) this somewhat goes against the intention of the two ballot system.

In a true "British Democracy"  manner this does not happen in Northern Ireland where STV is used.

As a supporter of STV . I rejected the AV choice last week because it was in reality no better than FPTP and whilst I accept out current  system is better than FPTP it is hardly the best option especially when we consider that.

It was introduced in Scotland to ensure that the SNP could't get a majority and use this as mandate for independence. Well that hasn't worked.

It was introduced in Wales to placate Non -Labour voters who were afraid of a huge Labour majority  whilst ensuring Labour remained the dominant party.

It seems that Labour had considered STV  but had rejected it because  Ron Davies is quoted that......
"Had we done that of course we would have had to have had a Boundary Commission and that process would have taken forever and a day and that would have frustrated our overall political timetable. So we had to settle on the existing constituency arrangements, parliamentary constituencies and European Constituencies"
We have 5 years before the next Assembly elections.In the meantime the Westminster Constituencies will be considerably redrawn despite the rejection of AV and the number of Welsh seats will be reduced. So by  20166 the Welsh Assembly Constituencies will no longer be the same as those at Westminster. So the boundary commission will be now obliged to redraw separate constituencies for the two legislators on a regular basis.

Taking in to account the inadequacies of our current system, any understanding that either Plaid or the LibDems  have with Labour government without a overall majority should include the introduction of STV for the 5th Welsh Assembly in 2016.

3 comments:

  1. Good point Glyn. It also seems to me that we'll have to move to 80 (or at the very least 70) AMs quite soon as the Assembly now has more powers and so needs more scrutiny.

    My concern is that Labour will go for FPTP so that Glamorgan and Gwent Labour can rule Wales for ever. This would also have the added bonus for anti-devolutionists of undermining and support for the Assembly by those who don't live in Glamorgan and Gwent and are not Labour - the majority of us.

    If the LD go into coalition with Labour then, for their sake, and more importantly, Welsh democracy, then a movement towards the Richard Report with STV would be a very bold and positive step. To the LD's credit - they pushed Labour into doing the Richard Report the last time they were in coalition.

    Like-wise, this could also be a cross party thing and would put Labour and Carwyn in good light for being 'above party politics'.

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  2. Funny -

    33% vote for AV 'resounding defeat'

    35% vote Labour in 2005 - thumping majority in Westminster.

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  3. Yes probably an increase in numbers would be a good idea but it would be easier argue for this if Policing and criminal justice were devolved.

    But with say fifteen constituencies of 4 AMs under STV it would be a simple matter to add an extra AM to bring the number up to 75 or 90 just by adding an extra member without redrawing boundaries.

    Indeed there would be no need to change the boundaries to take in account future population changes but simply cut or add a AM as required.

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