coalition talks

Interesting day in UK!

I’m without internet for now other than handheld, so please discuss and I’ll lurk.

7 thoughts on “coalition talks

  1. Last night I was discussing the “Con-Dem” coalition talks in the U.K. with one of my relatives, and I mentioned the AV referendum as a possible way out of the deadlock over electoral reform. As such, I’m not surprised that option has emerged after all, although I’m surprised about how quickly it has happened.

  2. I don’t follow UK politics a lot, but I was wondering if there’s genuine interest for electoral reform among the population?

    I’m asking, because every time a province in Canada has tried to reform or dump FPTP, it was push by a small but motivated coalition of academics and intellectuals. But when the electorate got to vote on the issue, they didn’t want it … or much worst, didn’t care.

    If a referendum on the issue was held in the UK, would it have a reasonable chance to pass?

  3. Last I heard from the NY Times on Saturday, Clegg wasn’t committing to either party and was sticking to his guns on PR.

  4. To Australians and Americans, for anti-PR MPs to object to even holding a referendum on PR and/or AV seems highly suspect “job protection”. However, Britain does have a long tradition of parliamentary (rather than popular) sovereignty and there are those who (like, er, Enoch Powell) who object to holding referenda on principle, whatever the topic. Heck, many MPs were quite prepared to take Britain into Europe by the same procedure (a vote of 300+ MPs) as is used to amend the Pig Marketing (Levy) Act.

    So asking for Parliament to call a referendum on PR/ AV, rather than to enact PR/ AV immediately, is good strategy for Clegg; (1) Harder for PR opponents to argue against “let the people have a say” – especially since a referendum is a much more “decisive” avenue for “majority rule” than 650 local FPTP races. (2) Makes it harder for The Spectator and the fish-wrap tabloids to jeer about “Loser Nick Rewriting the Electoral Rules to Entrench the LibDems In Power”. They’ll still do it, of course.

  5. I would interested to hear views about what type of electoral system match would match the parties’ interests/priorities in Lib-Con or Rainbow coalitions: For example, the Lib Dems would not get their stated preference of STV from either big party, both of which would probably want a system that allows single party majority government on a biggish (say 40%+) vote and present the usual normative arguments about decisive outcomes and the legislator-constituency link. The Lib Dems are not a small party which needs a high proportional system- but seem to favour PR because their support is geographically so evenly spead – so they too presumably would want something that left open the possibility for them to grow into a party that could be a major party of government and not leave them vulnerable to small challenger parties the Greens or indeed radical splinter from the Lib Dems, especially if they ally themselves with the Tories…

  6. Maxime:

    Canada has had four such referenda, three of which lost by significant margins. But one attained 57%–less than the needed 60%, sure, but hardly an indication that the electorate “didn’t want it”. The New Zealand referenda were wins for PR, and the in the Irish referenda FPTP was rejected. So voters in historically-FPTP-parliamentary countries can indeed vote in favour of PR.

    The Canadian results can be mostly explained by the people’s attitude towards recent elections. After two ridiculous results in BC, voters wanted change. But once things settled down for an election or two, they thought everything was hunky-dory. In Ontario and PEI there weren’t too many glaringly obvious problems with FPTP, so voters didn’t care for change. Why did New Zealand change so much more easily? Proximity to Australia? I welcome explanations.

    In any case, polling seems to indicate that voting reform is among the top issues of concern to the public in the UK. We’ll see if that’s enough for a referendum win…

  7. Very glad AV/STV has been put on the table! I have a preference for preferential voting systems.πŸ™‚

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