Friday, February 09, 2007

"Democrazy" goes live!

I mentioned this new website a few days ago ... it does now seem to have gone live! I'd highly recommend a visit - link here, or the full web-address:

There is a really urgent need to engage more voters generally (but especially young people) in the democratic process, and this initiative by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) in Scotland looks, to me, like an excellent vehicle for helping with just that task.

Just by way of background ... for all you political-anoraks out there ;-)) ... here's what I personally think (copy of a recent short-article) of the forthcoming move to STV-PR:

"On May 3rd this year the local government elections in Scotland will be conducted using the Single Transferable Vote system of proportional representation (STV-PR). STV-PR will put an end to the ‘one party states’ and the ‘electoral deserts’ that have been all too typical of local government in Scotland for many years. STV will also give voters real choice among the candidates, not just among parties, and that will increase the accountability of those elected.

At the local government elections in 1999 some two million votes were cast, but over one million of those were wasted (49% of the total). The voting system left those million voters without representation on their local councils. STV-PR will put that right: the overwhelming majority of votes will count and the voters will be represented by councillors of their choice.

Examples from the 1999 elections show every political party benefits unfairly from the distortions of first-past-the-post (FPTP): Labour in Midlothian (94% seats for 46% votes), SNP in Angus (72% seats for 47% votes), Liberal Democrats in East Dunbartonshire (42% seats for 27% votes), Conservatives in Stirling (41% seats for 27% votes). STV-PR will correct these distortions no matter which party has had the unfair advantage from FPTP elections in the past. The result will be fairly-shared representation in the ward and fairly-shared representation on the council as a whole.

Some politicians, of all parties, may not want STV-PR for local government elections in Scotland - ask yourself why? All of them are out of touch with their electorate who have no vested interest in maintaining the status quo and who overwhelmingly support changing the voting system. STV-PR will indeed eliminate the democratic deficit in local government. It will put power back into the hands of the voter and take it away from the party managers - no wonder they are worried."

As I've mentioned before ... despite my own best interests (or in spite of them!) I've always been a long-term supporter of PR ... I'm a Director of both the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) and Chair/Director of Fairshare ... and am wholly supportive of the moves to STV-PR for local government elections in Scotland.

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