Monday, 14 May 2007

Wales and Proportional Representation

Now I have no idea who Richard Wyn Jones is other than the blogger who runs Ordovicius had a conversation with him during a programme called Etholiad 2007.

Well the guy made some interesting points about the Regional List Assembly Members and how they do not really reflect "local" AM.s. in Wales.

Well this Richard went on to make the point that a National List would entail a stronger element of Proportional Representation and that the 20 Assembly Members appointed would have a genuine national mandate rather than a fake local mandate.

Well you can read what this would have meant for Wigley and Davies returning to the Assembly here. However when they looked at the figures shown below it revealed that the British National Party under this fairer system would have actually gained the first two seats as shown here.

  1. Labour - 24 + 0 = 24
  2. Plaid - 7 + 5 = 12
  3. Conservatives - 5 + 7 = 12
  4. Lib Dems - 3 + 3 = 6
  5. BNP - 0 + 2 = 2
  6. UKIP - 0 + 2 = 2
  7. Greens - 0 + 1 = 1
  8. Trish Law - 1 + 0 = 1
And that now presents a problem because the writer finishes with: Without a doubt this would be a result that reflected Welsh opinion but it would also be a parliamentary foothold for the BNP.

And that prompted a comment from a Peter Black: The obvious thing to do would be to impose a minimal threshold that each party needs to exceed before being entitled to an AM. That would have excluded the BNP this time.

The British National Party - The National Party for all of the United Kingdom.


johnofgwent said...

You are SPOT ON on this one

I had to look DAMNED HARD to find out how the system works, but in essence it goes like this.....

You voted for a candidate in the first past the post system, and then you voted again for a regional seat.

The votes are counted.

For EACH PARTY you take the total number of REGIONAL votes, and divide THAT the "number of First Past The Post Seats They have Won ALREADY plus one"

Whichever party has the biggest result of that arithmetic gets the FIRST regional seat awarded to the FIRST name on the regional list.

OK ? Good.

Now we do it again. But this time we take the total number of votes and we divide it by the total number of FPP seats PLUS total number of REGIONAL seats plus one.

And we go on and on like that until all the regional seats are awarded.

Lets do an example.

Lets say Labour won 14 First Past The Post Seats in the region in question, and in the REGIONAL election 30,000 people voted for them. Now let's say the BNP and Miss Whiplash put up candidates in the regional list, and although they've won NO "first past the post "seats, 2,600 people voted BNP in the REGIONAL election and 2,400 people voted for Miss Whiplash and the Rubber Manifesto.

OK the maths works like this

30,000 regional votes for labaah divided by 14(+1) actual seats won in First past The Post = 30000/15 = 2000

2,600 BNP votes divided by 0(+1) FPP seats = 2,600

2,400 Whiplash votes divided by 0(+1) seats = 2,400

So the BNP win a regional seat.

And so lets do it again as thetre are more seats left

Labahh still have 30,000 / 14+1 so they still have a result of 2,000

This time the BNP have 0 First Past the post but they have One Regional seat so THEIR score is 2,600 / 1(+1) so that comes out at 1300.

And Miss Whiplash's score is 2,400 so SHE gets the second seat.

And so on.

BUT with so few seats in each of the five regional elections (4 seats divided between fifteen or so minority parties) the only way in to the assembly is to have NO FPP seats, AND have lots of people vote for you so the RATIO of your votes divided by (no seats won+1) outstrips the ratio enjoyed by the labour sheep herders.

And I'm sorry, but with the regional elections rigged like this, minority parties just don't get a look in.

Fact is, if the list WAS national, the large number of labour plaid and tory seats WON in the First past The Post system would ABSOLUTELY ensure that the ratio of votes to seats for them would be so piss-poor even parties failing to secure their deposit WOULD have enough votes to claim one of the 20 seats

And Rhodri, and Tony B-Liar, And Gordon, And Ming The Merciless, and even that nice young man the tories have as their leader - god I've actually forgotten his name, I'm not taking the piss, you know, the one who smoked pot at college .... well they ALL know that if we had a NATIONAL list we'd have what they's see as a "rainbow coalition of the nutty disposssed" sitting in the chamber making life awkward.

But do you know what ... that's called DEMOCRACY. Something we don't get much of round here. So BRING IT ON I say.

johnofgwent said...

Coming back to say one more thing.

The comment from Peter Black says it all. Because if they really did impose that higher threshold, then not only the BNP, but also UKIP and the Greens would be out. Which of course they are.

Trish Law, of course, is there by virtue of winning the FPP seat that I believe used to be the second largest labour majority in great britain, so she wouldn't be affected by this corrupt sleight of hand, but it shows the lengths to which those opposed to the "vox pop" will go.