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It looks like a Silly landslide - The Ex-Communicator

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May 7th, 2010


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06:20 am - It looks like a Silly landslide
I've been waking up at 5am all this week out of anxiety. That meant there was no possibility of staying awake for the count. I saw David Mitchell announce the first exit poll at 10pm and zonked out. I have just woken up and spent some time on the BBC site trying to figure out what's going on. The Tories might just scrape it. However, as fjm just said on her blog, any majority may be rapidly whittled away by the personal peccadilloes of individual members. My constituency stayed Labour, with a 3% swing away.

My prediction is another election this year, like in 1974. The Lib Dems will begin by supporting the Tories, on various ghastly measures, gain a concession on PR and then find a pretext to renege on the deal as soon as there's an opening.

Obviously if they can gain traction the Lib Dems will attempt to use it to introduce PR: arguing that with 23% of the vote they are very under-represented in Parliament. This is because they represent an economic stratum which is not clustered geographically. I think however that people voting under PR will vote in new and unpredictable ways. The long term consequences may be splits in the major parties, but even the short term consequences at the next election are hard to call. It won't be 'take the current vote and run it through the electoral machine I just thought of'.

(ETA - delightful to see a high turnout for a change, though I am startled that people were turned away; that should never happen)

You might like this handy BBC flowchart of what happens next. My header is taken from Monty Python's election night special sketch.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:huskyscotsman
Date:May 7th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
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I'm pleased at the high turnout, but very confused and disappointed that it didn't benefit the Lib Dems. I feel like lots of people who never voted before must have been scared into voting this time.

My election result bets have come out as a no-score draw. (I thought the Tories would be under 300, which they're about to overhaul, but I correctly called the Lib Dem squeeze.) My bet on the final outcome is a straight Tory minority with ad-hoc support. They're in a strong enough position to tell the Lib Dems to go jump.
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From:communicator
Date:May 7th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
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They aren't offering the Lib Dems enough at the moment that's for sure. It appears Cameron is doing just enough to say he tried.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:May 7th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's absolutely the Tories' best strategy. The Lib Dems are pretty much screwed either way. If they make a deal, they'll get a sniff of power; the only thing they'd have to pay is a few small principles.
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From:iainjcoleman
Date:May 7th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
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The Lib Dems' voting reform policy - single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies - does not involve party lists and would actually make it harder for the BNP to gain a seat.
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From:iainjcoleman
Date:May 7th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
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STV isn't either of those. It's a system where the voter ranks the candidates in order of preference (1,2,3 and so on), and if your first choice doesn't get enough votes to be elected your vote transfers to your second choice, and so on until a candidate has enough votes to win. This continues until a set number of candidates for the constituency (typically 3 or 4) have been elected. More details here.

It's the system used in local elections in Scotland (having been brought in by the Lib Dems as a condition of coalition with Labour in the Scottish Parliament), and it works well. Although the counting procedure is a bit finicky and tedious, the actual voting is simple and intuitive.

Strictly, it's only a proportional system within a single constituency. However, it achieves rough proportionality overall while maintaining the constituency link for MPs, allowing voters to vote for individuals rather than parties, and making it very hard for highly disliked parties to get elected.
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From:communicator
Date:May 7th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
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I think any likely electoral reform will give more power to the smaller parties - that is of course why it is favoured by the smaller parties. I don't see there's any way to avoid the problems associated with that.

PS I think he might be evil too

Edited at 2010-05-07 07:12 pm (UTC)
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From:iainjcoleman
Date:May 7th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
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STV makes it very difficult for widely disliked parties such as the BNP to get elected, as they don't pick up transfers from other parties. A small party with broader electoral appeal, such as the Greens, benefits from STV in constituencies where it is able to pick up enough first preferences to avoid early elimination.

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