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Blog Archive

World Cup 2018

Submitted by editor on Sat, 20/11/2010 – 09:26


FIFA decides by exhaustive ballot where to hold the football World Cup and will do so again to choose the host nation for 2018. The exhaustive ballot is a variation of the Alternative Vote (AV), which is the system proposed for electing UK MPs. There will be a referendum on this on 5 May 2011.

Both systems ensure that the winner is supported by more than half the voters.

With our present system for electing MPs, more than two-thirds of them were elected this year by fewer than half the votes.

So FIFA already uses a more democratic system than the UK does, but we’ll have a chance to put that right on 5 May 2011.

STV would help Oldham East and Saddleworth

Submitted by editor on Sat, 13/11/2010 – 21:29


An election court has unseated Phil Woolas (Labour) as MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth because of remarks he made during the election about his Liberal Democrat opponent whom he beat by just 103 votes.

That leaves the people of the constituency without an MP until either a court reinstates Mr Woolas or the local voters elect a replacement in a bye-election. The same situation occurs when an MP dies, resigns or becomes a peer. It can be similar when MPs become Ministers because loyalty to the Government may inhibit them from representing their constituents robustly.

This would not happen with STV because constituencies would be larger than they are now and there would be a number of MPs for each one. If one of a constituency’s MPs became unavailable for any reason, other MPs would still be there.

Commons passed Bill

Submitted by editor on Mon, 08/11/2010 – 19:19


The Commons passed the referendum Bill on 3 November and it has gone to the Lords now.

Is Cameron 2nd best?

Submitted by editor on Mon, 04/10/2010 – 19:33


One of the objections to the Alternative Vote (AV) is the allegation that the 2nd best wins. At least, that is what Baroness Warsi (Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party) said on The Politics Show (BC1 TV) yesterday.

So does she think David Cameron is only 2nd best and David Davis is the rightful Conservative Leader? The Party uses a version of AV to elect its Leader and David Davis led at the end of the first round so he would almost certainly have been elected under First Past The Post even though he had only 31.3% of the votes; i.e. more than two-thirds of the voters had voted AGAINST him. After transfers, David Cameron eventually won with 67.6% of the votes (i.e. over two-thirds voted FOR him), which gives him a genuine mandate to speak on behalf of the party.

MPs should also be elected by AV so they too will have a mandate.

Other party leaders also elected by AV

Submitted by editor on Tue, 28/12/2010 – 10:20.

It’s worth noting that the Laour and Liberal Democrat leaders are also elected by AV or a variant of it. It makes sure that the leader is elected by at least half the voters.

New referendum question proposed

Submitted by editor on Thu, 30/09/2010 – 09:56


The Electoral Commission proposed today that the referendum question should be redrafted as:

“At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the “alternative vote” system be used instead?”

You can see the full report at….

Parliament will take the final decision on the wording.

The Commission will provide every household in the UK with information on both voting systems and on how voters can cast their vote in the referendum.

Labour’s new Leader supports AV

Submitted by editor on Sat, 25/09/2010 – 15:54


Ed Milliband was elected Leader of the Labour Party today, so he is also Leader of the Opposition and, in effect, “Shadow” Prime Minister. We were neutral during the election, but we congratulate him on his election.

Electoral reform supporters will be pleased to know that The Independent reported on 28 August that, when asked whether he would campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum next year, he replied “Yes. I am in favour of AV and will campaign for it if there is a referendum.”

The party elected him by AV so he is in the very strong position, unlike more than two-thirds of MPs, of knowing that he can speak for more than half the voters.

If the Labour Party uses AV to elect its own leader, surely the party and its members will campaign for “Yes” in the referendum so we can all elect our MPs by AV instead of by the present, inferior, system. After all, the present system is not good enough for Labour Party members.

Labour chooses candidates by AV

Submitted by editor on Wed, 29/09/2010 – 14:17.

Ron Medlow (former Chair of Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform) has commented:

“When selecting their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) Constituency Labour Parties use AV.

In their Rule Book it is called the Single Transferable Vote but we know when (s)electing one candidate this is also known as the Alternative Vote.”

AV referendum bill passes first stage

Submitted by editor on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 22:46

MPs today passed the first stage of the bill to hold a referendum on changing the voting system. They voted 328 to 269 for the bill.

Why Conservatives should vote “Yes”

Submitted by editor on Fri, 03/09/2010 – 09:27


By Keith Best, Chair of Conservative Action for Electoral Reform:

The Conservative-led coalition has promised a referendum next May to let the people choose between the present voting system (first past the post) and the Alternative Vote (AV) for electing MPs. What should Conservatives do in the referendum? A fully fair proportional system would be the single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies but this will not be an option in the referendum and, in any event, is not favoured by many Conservatives.

The basic difference for the voters, if the change takes place, is simply that they will be able to vote 1, 2, 3 according to their real preferences, instead of with X sometimes based on whom they want to keep out. The other change they will notice is that their MP will enjoy the support at least half the valid votes whereas over two-thirds of current MPs were elected with a much smaller share of the vote. For example, Madeleine Morgan (Labour, Bridgend) had only 36% of the votes in May 2010 while Ian Murray (Labour, Edinburgh South) had only 35%.

For Conservatives, there are many attractions for this relatively small change to the electoral system. AV will:-
• retain single-member constituencies;
• strengthen the link between MPs and constituents because each MP will be elected by at least half the valid votes;
• and, because of that, also strengthen MPs’ authority in Parliament;
• give voters more influence because it will encourage them to vote positively for the candidate they most want and (if they wish) to rank the candidates in order of choice;
• demonstrate by preferential voting the true level of support for the Conservatives in metropolitan and other areas where the Conservative Party has been squeezed. For example, in constituencies like Dundee East and Rochdale, the party’s true strength will emerge because Tory voters will be able to make the party their first choice without fear of letting the “wrong” party in by splitting the vote.

Furthermore, it is not a proportional system, which Liberal Democrats would have preferred.

Overall, AV will be better for voters because more votes will influence the results and will not be wasted, and better for the country because MPs will carry more authority with the support of more votes.

Please visit for more information on Conservative Action for Electoral reform.

Labour’s view on AV

Submitted by editor on Wed, 01/09/2010 – 12:13


Q. Which was the only party that promised a referendum on AV in its General Election Manifesto in 2010?
A. Labour.
Q. Which party is electing a new leader by AV right now?
A. Labour.
Q. Which is the only major party now threatening to vote against holding a referendum on AV?
A. Labour!

To be fair to Labour, a Shadow Minister has assured me, “I do not believe that there was any element of Shadow Cabinet election tactics or other internal party politics colouring the decision in any way. Nor was there any suggestion that we should resile from our manifesto commitment to a referendum on AV…. Labour has some straightforward points of principled opposition to the boundary change proposals and there is simply no need for these proposals to be in the same Bill as the AV referendum.”

I have no reason to doubt that Shadow Minister’s sincerity but, although I would have no objection if the referendum legislation was separate from that for boundary changes, it is clear that it won’t be. My guess is that the Government has calculated that it will be easier to persuade reluctant Tory MPs to support the referendum legislation if it is coupled to the other. I hope that, if Labour really wants the referendum as it says it does, it won’t oppose the legislation despite its views on boundary changes. Otherwise, many may think, rightly or wrongly, that it is being hypocritical and opposing the legislation for which it campaigned merely to try to split the coalition and defeat the Government.

Once the legislation is passed with or without Labour support, Labour will have to make the real decision – whether to campaign for a “Yes” vote. If its only objection to the legislation is its link to boundary changes, then it will be difficult to see how it could not support the “Yes” campaign for the system it uses itself.

ERS’s new Chief Executive

Submitted by editor on Fri, 27/08/2010 – 12:02


STV Action congratulates Katie Ghose on her recently announced appointment as the Electoral Reform Society’s Chief Executive.

Katie is an experienced campaigner and a barrister. She is currently the Director of the British Institute of Human Rights; she is also a trustee and the company secretary of Stonewall.

As she said in the announcement of her appointment, she is joining “the Society at an exciting time. The coming referendum will be the first time the British people have had the opportunity to decide how they elect the politicians who speak in their name.”

We wish her well first in winning the “Yes” vote in the AV referendum next May and then in her subsequent time with the Society.

The Electoral Reform Society is a natural step for Katie because the right to a fair vote that counts is a human right and Katie has campaigned for many years for human rights.



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