Saturday, 24 March 2012

I'd rather waste my vote Than ignore my beliefs.

There's under two weeks to go before nominations close for candidates intending to stand in the council elections in May.

I had my first canvass over two weeks ago from Labour  where a supporter handed me a leaflet and asked me to support their candidate.

When I said that I usually voted Plaid. I was given the line "They can't win here".

He was visibly shocked when I stated that the fact that the party you support "can't win" was no reason not to vote for them.

Actually I might vote for the Labour candidate he puts in the work nursing the ward and hopefully if elected would bring the same energy as a Councillor

Another factor would be if there was no Plaid candidate or they lived well outside the Beddau area. The Labour candidate lives in the next Ward which is OK . The current councillor, an Independent lives a few miles away and has been largely invisible.

I also don't think that National Politics should always come in to play when voting locally and the record of your council and councillor should play a part in who you vote for .

Indeed I have some sympathy for those hard working decent LibDem Councillors throughout Wales who will probably join their colleagues in the rest of the UK in a very bad night on May 3rd.

But they were probably elected partly due to a National swing. So they  previously  benefited from the system so they can't really complain.

Nevertheless there will be swathes o f people who voted for a Party on May 3rd who find that there is not one councillor from that Party in their local Authority.

I may be a bit out of date  But

There are only 4 Labour councillors and no Tories on Gwynesdd council  out of a 75
There's 1 Tory and 3 Libdems on Rhondda Cynon Taf out of 75
There's no Tory and 1 Labour on Ceredigion out of 42
There's no Plaid No Tory and 2 Libdems on Blaneau Gwent.out of 42
There's no Libdem on Vale of Glamorgan out of 47
There's only 1 Plaid on Flintshire out of 70

This despite the clear support the Parties have in these areas and we must ask . How democratic is this?

Is it not about time we copy Scotland and introduce the Single Traversable Vote (STV) to Local Authority elections .

We should have wards of an average of 4 councillors elected by STV.

The situation in Scotland has  clearly resulted in a much broader political spectrum than previously.

There are now only a few councils that one Party has an overhaul Majority which some may not relish but itt has meant  that in comparison to  1995 under the previous First Past the Post system in Glasgow there were  77 Labour, 1 SNP , 3 Tories and 1 LibDem on the council   .  The current Make up before a spat of Labour resignations and expulsions saw 47 Labour, 21 SNP, 5 Libdem ,5 Green and 1 Tory  ( There have been changes in the Labour make up and they have lost their overheat majority (but this was not due to elections).

The Scottish Council make up is more diverse an has resulted in some strange coalitions but it does mean people  have  a greater chance of having a councillor closer to their viewpoint.

You can see a slightly out of date list for both Wales and Scotland here

The May elections in Wales will undoubtedly see Labour regain control of a number of Welsh councils but as a result thousands of people will be disenfranchised  even to the extent that there will be no councillor on their local authority from the Party they support.

STV will still enable people to punish a Party for its National politics but still vote for popular and hard working councillor from that Party.

Unfortunately the Welsh Assembly does not have the powers to change the voting system in Wales . Though as we have seen in Anglesey they can interfere in the demographic as they enforce Ward changes and and a delay in this elections on the Island.

Perhaps the delay could be used  as experiment to introduce STV on the Island for elections next year, that might just benefit us all in the future. At least It will mean that people will not be told that their wasting my vote because the Part they intend to support "Can't win here"..


  1. Actually now the National Assembly can change the electoral system for local government in Wales (but not for the National Assembly its self). We need it badly, in the last elections in Cardiff the Lib Dems came third in terms of the votes cast but first in the number of seats. Plaid is under represented too. With STV you can split your vote between parties, give preferential votes to hard working councillors and in general have more control over who is elected. In urban Wales most wards are multi member so a switch to stv would be relatively easy. In rural areas its a bit more complex with single member wards being the norm. But with multi member wards there is less chance of unopposed elections.

  2. The main beneficiary of the current undemocratic voting system is Labour, so don't hold your breath waiting for the Welsh government to change anything.

  3. Cibwr.

    Scotland seems to have solved the problem in rural areas . Though it will mean that councillors will need to be able to drive to be effective (But that's probably the case now in most parts.

    You are right of course. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas often. But after the May elections I a expect Carwyn may be looking for coalition partners and STV should be either the Libdems' or Plaids line in the sand .