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UKIP WATCH
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Tarrel



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
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Location: Ross-shire, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutomaticEarth wrote:
Had someone from outside the UK posing a really good question:

'How come from a vote-share basis that the SNP can have over 50 seats and UKIP have 1 seat even though they have over 15% of the vote'?

I said 'First past the post buddy, first past the post'.

They said 'what's that?'

I said 'Exactly buddy'


Yes, but playing the Devil's Advocate for a moment, surely the person chosen to represent people in a particular constituency is the one that most of the people in that constituency vote for? In all bar one constituency that person was not the UKIP candidate.

If UKIP had polled the majority of the votes in 50 of the constituencies in which they were standing, they too would have had 50 seats. But they didn't.

Don't get me wrong; I do see the absurdity of the mismatch between seats and national vote share. However, to change it, one would have to question the whole idea of electing a local person to champion the needs and views of the constituents in parliament. Maybe that should be questioned, as the current system has mutated beyond that elegant simplicity; the candidates aren't always local, and once in the chamber, they aren't always permitted to vote on what's right for their constituents.

I suppose it hinges on what we think is the most important function of parliament; providing a national arena in which local people can have their say via their representative, or providing a broad church of political views with which to reach consensus on national issues.

If the former, I'd say stick with FPTP but introduce a local residency requirement of, say, at least five years prior to the election. If the latter, then introduce a system that more accurately reflects national share of vote, so a richer mix of parties ends up sitting in parliament.

Maybe we need both. Off the cuff idea; replace the Lords with a National Council who are elected on a share of the vote basis. These debate and recommend policy. Policies then go to the Commons to be ratified by local representatives who are locally elected on FPTP and always have a free (non-whipped) vote. These representatives wouldn't even have to be party-aligned.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a read here.

The current UK voting system was always clearly absurd.

Quote:
UKIP and the Greens, whose combined vote of almost 5 million won them precisely two MPs. On a proportional basis UKIP would have won 80 MPs and the Greens 24.


PR is not perfect - I can't vote for a specific party if they don't have a candidate in my area, for instance, so I'm stuck with voting 'for' parties I hate - but surely, surely, virtually anything's fairer than FPTP?
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AutomaticEarth



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very fair points Tarrel.

Do you think we'd be better off with an Alternative Vote system or stick with what we've got?

IIRC we had the option of AV but we rejected it. I personally voted, but was in the minority.

Btw not anti-Scottish btw, was just trying to point out the unbalanced voting system.
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Tarrel



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutomaticEarth wrote:
Very fair points Tarrel.

Do you think we'd be better off with an Alternative Vote system or stick with what we've got?

IIRC we had the option of AV but we rejected it. I personally voted, but was in the minority.

Btw not anti-Scottish btw, was just trying to point out the unbalanced voting system.


Personally, I think the whole system needs a wholesale overhaul, with the devolution of decision-making to regional assemblies in a federal-type system, combined with a much smaller national assembly to debate common federal issues such as defence. However, if we were to stick with the current set-up, my instinct would be to stick with FTPT, subject to the concerns I listed above (i.e. Candidates being parachuted in and too much whipping of the votes).

Something that also occurs to me is funding. I'm sure the present model contributes to maintaining the status quo with the larger parties. On that point I'd suggest that anyone who supports the policies of a smaller party should join that party.

I was one of the avalanche of people who joined the SNP after the independence referendum. At a recent campaign meeting we were addressed by Angus Robertson. He said for the first time the SNP had been able to start distributing leaflets via direct mail rather than just relying on volunteers. The reason? A boost in funding created by a swell in membership numbers. Although the subscription is very small, it all adds up if there enough members.

We have a proportional system in Scotland for the Scottish MSPs. I can't see that it makes a huge amount of difference to be honest. SNP won a majority in the last Scottish elections, which shouldn't often happen in a PR system, and they've come from behind and overturned massive labour majorities yesterday in a FPTP system, as UKIP could have done if they'd won enough hearts and minds.

IMHO, anyway. Smile
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Tarrel



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
Have a read here.

The current UK voting system was always clearly absurd.

Quote:
UKIP and the Greens, whose combined vote of almost 5 million won them precisely two MPs. On a proportional basis UKIP would have won 80 MPs and the Greens 24.


PR is not perfect - I can't vote for a specific party if they don't have a candidate in my area, for instance, so I'm stuck with voting 'for' parties I hate - but surely, surely, virtually anything's fairer than FPTP?


Yes, but they still didn't convince their local electorates.

To suggest that a party is entitled to more seats just becasue they got a bigger share of the vote nationally would be akin to me,say, sitting 10 GCSE exams, getting 10% in each of them and then demanding one GCSE diploma out of the ten by adding up my marks. Not only that but I'd want an "A" bacause I got 100%!

If seats in the Commons were adjusted to represent national vote share, it raises at least the possibility that a candidate who polled most votes in a town wouldn't be able to go to parliament because his seat on the bench had been taken by someone else to get the proportions right. How is that fair?

As mentioned above, I do think the system needs overhaul, but I don't believe awarding seats based on share of the vote in the current system of local representation is the answer, IMO.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't agree with your analogy at all but at least we few know that FPTP is, well, corrupt. The AV system ain't much of an improvement either. Being given a choice of FPTP or AV isn't much of a choice.

Some forms of PR work only on one level, which would lead to your second scenario. What is needed is more power devolved to regions, as you say, with party funding being severely limited.
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AutomaticEarth



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farage has announced that he might have summer before having another go:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/08/nigel-farage-quits-resigns-ukip-leader-may-return

Some retirement.
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3rdRock
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutomaticEarth wrote:
Farage has announced that he might have summer before having another go

Rolling Eyes Aw shit!
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AutomaticEarth



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was quiet interesting to hear that under a PR/AV system, UKIP would have had around 80 seats Shocked
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="emordnilap"]

Quote:
UKIP and the Greens, whose combined vote of almost 5 million won them precisely two MPs. On a proportional basis UKIP would have won 80 MPs and the Greens 24.


I think we have to be careful here. A lot of people who support Green Party policies, as evidenced by, for instance the voteforpolicies.co.uk survey, would vote Green if they thought their vote would not be wasted. That's why Brighton Pavillion voted 42% Green. The people thought they had a real chance of returning Caroline Lucas.

So that 24 figure in the quote could be much higher in a PR system.
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jonny2mad



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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in a fair electoral system both the greens and ukip deserve more seats in a national government because people voted for them .

its not up to us to say well they shouldnt have seats, in a democracy your vote should count

Together ukip and the greens had half the torys vote but they get two mps between them the torys get 325
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BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="biffvernon"]
emordnilap wrote:


Quote:
UKIP and the Greens, whose combined vote of almost 5 million won them precisely two MPs. On a proportional basis UKIP would have won 80 MPs and the Greens 24.


I think we have to be careful here. A lot of people who support Green Party policies, as evidenced by, for instance the voteforpolicies.co.uk survey, would vote Green if they thought their vote would not be wasted. That's why Brighton Pavillion voted 42% Green. The people thought they had a real chance of returning Caroline Lucas.

So that 24 figure in the quote could be much higher in a PR system.


In Australia and New Zealand where all votes do count the greens get about 15 - 20% and I think it would be the same in the UK. When the greens stop being watermelons and every vote does count I think they have a chance of being a government. Down under the greens have a reputation for being Labour lackeys and being very left wing on issues not to do with the environment.

As for the UK election result, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, I think they got the worst result possible, except for all the other possibilities. A Labour SNP coalition would have been a disaster.
The government can only really rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. I don't like to be pessimistic about the UK but it has really serious issues which are discussed at length on this forum ranging from economic, social and environmental issues. A small majority single party government especially comprised of MPs who generally seem to be fairly distasteful people will have its work cut out.

Five years from now I predict very little will have changed except the UK national debt will be a little higher. I think you can say the same regardless of what party was elected.
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jonny2mad



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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The greens and ukip and the liberals etc should forget they hate each other and mass protest for PR, forget all other issues .

Even if your a conservative voter long term the present system is not a good one, the conservatives under a PR system would still have won but would have needed a coalition .We just had a coalition Govt and from a conservative or right of center position was it a bad government .

Was the coalition we had in world war two a bad or weak govt, it won world war two
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jonny2mad wrote:
The greens and ukip and the liberals etc should forget they hate each other and mass protest for PR, forget all other issues .


Good Lord. j2m said something sensible. Hate suspended for the duration. Smile
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marknorthfield



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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I can wholeheartedly recommend the whole of Caroline Lucas' book 'Honourable Friends?' for an outsider's view on how our anachronistic parliament lurches ever onward, pages 218-223 are directly relevant here. In particular her willingness to work with (the then Conservative) Douglas Carswell. As she herself writes:
Quote:

'We didn't see eye to eye on much else politically, but Douglas had consistently fought for genuine democratic reform and I was more than happy that we should collaborate on this issue.'


She also writes:

Quote:
'In my view, a system does not have to be 'purely' proportional. Proportionality should be one of the main considerations, but others, such as the constituency link and the openness to independents, matter too. There are voting systems which can do both...'


She also mentions how in New Zealand voters were first asked if they wanted to change to a new system, then in a second question asked what that system should be.

I've had a few (non-Green) friends express the opinion that because 80 odd UKIP MPs would have been the result of PR, then they're content to stick with the system we have. I disagree with them on principle, because I think a system giving 5 million or so people 2MPs breeds contempt.

I also suspect that if the 2017 EU referendum happens as planned, then this is UKIPs high water mark, and that with 80MPs they would possibly implode with media embarrassment. But even if that weren't the case, I still think the principle matters more than anything else.
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