19 Jul 2010

Miliband vs Miliband - AV in Practice

There’s talk about how the upcoming Labour leadership election may define the coming referendum on the Alternative Vote. Well let’s take a look. Britain isn’t lacking in examples of AV in practice. Variants are used in almost every internal election for Labour and Lib Dems , by all MPs in selecting Speakers and Committee chairs, anyone who's been to university (and remembers what a Sabbatical […]
6 Jul 2010

AV: A bigger and better change than people think

Nick Clegg yesterday confirmed a date – 5 May 2011 – for a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV). Since the Coalition agreed to a referendum on AV, we in the Electoral Reform Society research office have been inundated with queries from sitting MPs. More often than not, they’re after projections of how AV might have affected the most recent general election. In short, they’re worried about how […]
5 Jul 2010

What does a mandate look like?

You might find this question being revisited a few times over the next 10 months. And that’s because we heard today that the proposed referendum on the Alternative Vote will take place on May 5 th 2011. AV requires every MP to have support of at least 50% of voters. Doesn't seem like a big leap, that is until you look at the numbers, and the General Election gave the majority of our MPs power […]
25 Jun 2010

Does Size Matter?

We’re hearing a new line on the proposed reduction of the House of Commons. Nick Clegg told the Commons yesterday that “We have a more oversized lower Chamber than any other bicameral system in the developed world.” By our reckoning, there are only ten countries with bicameral systems in the developed world (fourteen if you include presidential systems with bicameral legislatures), so it’s a […]
2 Jun 2010

8 out of 10 Cats prefer PR

Good news for reform. Well sort of. Polling today is suggesting overwhelming support for a shift to PR. As many as 8 out of 10 people are agreed that a shift to a more proportional system would be a step in the right direction. Welcome news. But some commentators are already picking up on the contradictions in this poll. And it’s worth taking a closer look. 78% agreed and 18% disagreed with the […]
19 May 2010

The New Politics of Coalition Government

Here we find ourselves, trapped in the dreaded hung parliament scenario, and despite some nightmarish predictions from our tabloid fortune tellers— economic collapse , societal breakdown , nuclear apocalypse —things seem to be ticking along okay. Since the result became clear, the leaderships of all three major parties acted in uncommonly diplomatic fashion to reach a workable outcome. While […]
10 May 2010

The Election that might have been

Britain’s new political map is simple. Just take a look . We have a blue south, a red north, and a few spots of yellow in between. But it’s not a map most voters would recognise as legitimate after last week's broken election. Whole counties and cities are now the personal property of one party. Once again First-Past-the-Post has generated results that stretch the idea of ‘representative’ […]
3 May 2010

Where to with coalitions?

Talk is now firmly on coalition building. But how do you start? The idea that the party with most votes has the ‘strongest’ mandate must be treated with caution as our voting system gives a very distorted picture. This is not a national contest for a national leader. This is a series of 650 local contests for local representatives, under a blunt winner takes all system. That’s why both main […]
22 Apr 2010

Gambling on change

Which site would you go to first when you log in of a morning to see how the parties are faring? It might help to limit the field to just two: UK Polling Report and Politcal Betting . Polling or Gambling? Which discipline is it to be? Well national polls have to be taken with a few dozen pinches of salt because of the system. The popular vote after all is meaningless thanks to First-Past-the-Post […]
8 Apr 2010

Follow the Leader

We guested on Newsnight Scotland last night with our story about all the seats where the campaign is already over. And they picked a pretty arresting comparison for their intro. And we're wishing we'd thought of it first... Why is much of Scotland like Mississippi at election time? they asked. Because their voters are invisible too. So we had a little look across the pond. Our US opposite numbers […]