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House of Lords Reform

by Gary J Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 08:08:28 AM EST

The UK is launching itself on another experiment in constitutional reform - only one hundred and one years after starting reform of the House of Lords.

Edited highlights - previously on Westminster, a story about lawmaking folk ...

In 1911 the House of Lords, then composed of hereditary peers and a few Law Life Peers (the Lords Temporal) and some Church of England Archbishops and Bishops (the Lords Spiritual), lost its equality of legislative power with the House of Commons. Now if the House of Commons passed the same law in three successive sessions it became law even if the Lords did not consent (or even in one session if the dispute was over a money bill).

In 1949 a Labour government reduced the Lords delaying power to two sessions.

Various schemes, over the decades, were proposed to make the Lords more representative. Few changes were made (life peers 1958, seats for all Scottish peers and  female hereditary peeresses and power to disclaim unwanted peerages 1963).

The House of Lords Act 1999 removed most hereditary peers (leaving only 91 representatives of the old order). This ended the traditional overwhelming Conservative majority, but did nothing to make the House more democratic.

See after the fold for the latest instalment - an actual government bill introduced today! Could anything be more exciting?

front-paged by afew


The House of Lords Reform Bill (text available on the Parliamentary website), is designed to produce a long term solution to one of the longest running issues in British politics.

At the next House of Commons election (due in May 2015) the first transitional period will begin. At the general election after that (so long as it is after May 2017) the  second transitional period will start. Then at the third qualifying general election (more than two years after the second) the new style House will be in full operation.

The powers of the House of Lords are left unchanged.

At each qualifying General Election, one third of the elected members will be returned. That is 120 members. 117 of them will represent the same national and English regional areas as are used for European elections (East Midlands 9, Eastern 11, London 14, North East 5, North West 14, South East 16, South West 11, West Midlands 11, Yorkshire and the Humber 10, Scotland 10 and Wales 6). The remaining three members are allocated to Northern Ireland.

True to recent British tradition, a new version of an electoral system has been devised which is not the same as that used in any other UK election. The electoral system is a party list method. Seats are allocated between lists on what looks to be the d'Hondt method, but with an opportunity to cast a personal vote to alter the order of candidates on a list as long as the affected individual candidates get five per cent of the vote. Northern Ireland will use the single transferable vote, instead of a list system (as in European elections).

During the first traditional period, two thirds of the old style members will continue to have seats. In the second transitional period, one third will remain. They will be all gone thereafter.

In addition to the elected members there will eventually be ninety appointed members. Thirty appointed members will be selected at the time of each qualifying election. An appointments committee will propose a batch of the "great and the good" to the Prime Minister, who will then ask the Queen to make the appointments. This is a variant of the methods used now to appoint Bishops and Judges, designed to avoid partisan politics by making the role of the Prime Minister (like that of the Queen) purely formal.

The number of Lords Spiritual will be reduced, by stages, to twelve. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, will always be members but the Church of England gets to choose which seven of its remaining Bishops go to Parliament.

Finally there are to be a class of ministerial members.   Up to eight ministers, at a time, can be appointed but once they are in the House they retain a seat until the second qualifying general election even if they stop being ministers. As far as I can see there is no limitation on numbers except that only eight at a time can be ministers.

Politics
The Liberal Democrats are all in on this bill. This is Nick Clegg's project and probably his last chance to get something of lasting constitutional importance through Parliament. Having failed to change the Commons electoral system, proportional representation for the upper house would provide some consolation.

The Conservatives do not feel so strongly and some of the backbenchers are openly hostile. The fate of the bill will probably depend upon how many rebel against the timetable motion. If the committee on the bill is taken on the floor of the House (as is normal with a constitutional measure) with no timetable in place, the prospect for the bill consuming so much time that it has to be dropped to save other government business must be quite high. The sort of opposition, which Enoch Powell from the right and Michael Foot from the left, used to defeat the last comprehensive House of Lords reform bill in 1967 would be quite likely.

Labour supports the reform, in general, but sees the opportunity to make mischief by promoting extended debate and a referendum on whatever may pass Parliament.

If the House of Lords is not reformed now, it may be generations before anyone tries again. Update 1 (10 July 2012) The House of Commons has just completed a two day debate on the second reading of the bill (where the House considers the principles of the bill). The bill was approved on a vote of 462 to 124. However the government did not try to pass the programme motion, to limit debate at the committee stage of the bill. This presumably means that the whips did not think the motion would pass. It remains to be seen how much more progress the bill can make, against determined Conservative back bench opposition and a Labour opposition more interested in causing mischief than in passing a bill they more or less support.

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Sadly, it is the usual special interests carve up.

I've never really thought about the best way to reform the lords, but I remember that Blly Bragg had a couple of smart idea back in the mid 90s.

I can't find a link to it now but it was something to do with having large constituencies and having 2 or 3 members per constituency.

What the heck are the bishops doing there ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:31:13 PM EST
There has never been a consensus on how to select members for an upper chamber. At least we now have a specific text, which could be amended, not just the ideas of individuals like Mr Bragg.

I imagine the Bishops have survived through a combination of institutional conservatism and a political calculation that excluding all of them will just add to the political problems of getting any bill through Parliament. Besides, the threat of losing representation in the House of Lords might discourage the Church of England from causing too much trouble over marriage equality.

by Gary J on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see the point of having spiritual lords. However, the "established church" thing is getting a bit old. I suggest that religious representation should be based on census declarations. What would that give : 4 or 5 C of E, a catholic, a couple of moslems, one or thw assorted protestants (but the methodists, presbyterians etc would never agree among themselves who should represent them), a rastafarian perhaps, and what about the atheists? Sortition?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:58:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistics

Muslims: 2.4%. No way.

C of E 19.9%, Roman Catholics 8.6%, so probably one more than you suggest

Presbyterian/Church of Scotland. In principle none, but the Scots won't like it.

No religion: 50.7%, so they deserve a lot. How about Dawkins as life peer?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:14:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the heck are the bishops doing there ?

Perhaps it still is as Laud said: "No Bishop, no King."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:05:27 PM EST
(Actually it was James the First's motto - which gave comfort to the Anglican hierarchy.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will they now be required to be domiciled in the UK?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:38:04 PM EST
Section 48 (1) of the bill.

"A person who is a member of the House of Lords for any part of a tax year is to be treated for the purposes of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax as resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom for the whole of that tax year."

by Gary J on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:57:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My personal take is that the House of Lords needs no reform while MPs for the House of Commons should simply be selected by sortition. That would certainly make the Commons far more representative than what the present electoral system provides.

The Lords have no real power save to stall bills for a couple of sessions and quite frankly many of them are far more decent than the useless prats that get elected in the Commons. The Commons as is is a borish postribolo of ayesayers and bench warmers that have little else to do but write letters home and go into rut during question time.

GB is nothing more than an electoral dictatorship, a nation run by a first lord of the treasury with his old cronies while a fistful of vain arses pride themselves in being perfectly useless members of the good Queen's Cabinet.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:31:43 PM EST
a pungently accurate analysis!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:49:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difficulty is that members of the House of Commons, on the whole, think the system that elected them is perfect. There was little support amongst them for the recent AV proposal. A minor change to the method of election, which might have led to a small number of the existing MPs losing their seats, was unacceptable. Think how ferocious the opposition would be to sortition, which would mean all the existing members losing their places.
by Gary J on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 06:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sortition would do away with parties and their obsessive war chest intrigues. Any sort of representation is presently mediated by the health of the party kitty, certainly not those straggling few that show up to vote now and then.

Not to say that British politics is all very lively and puts on a good show for the media but once you've gotten past the cheesy grins it boils down to an amazing amount of power concentrated in very few mittens.

Sortition of course is never going to happen.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 06:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deck chair re-arranging.
by asdf on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:15:23 AM EST
Added link for Draft House of Lords Reform Bill.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:40:51 AM EST
Thanks for the help. I could not work out how to do a link to the bill.
by Gary J on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:50:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not know what to think. Obviously a body like the house of lords is anything but democratic. But I find a couple of advantages in having a (somewhat toothless) upper house: (i) Long-term membership provides a counter-balance to short-termism. and (ii) in the specific case of the UK it seems that the house of lords has been used to give representation to groups that do not have it otherwise.

I am not defending the thing, just saying that if I could change something, my very very first would be to replace first-past-the-post with proportionality in parliament. That would bring real democracy to the UK, more than anything else.

by cagatacos on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 08:15:40 AM EST
In addition, the Lords, since they don't depend on the favour of the party apparatus for their position, have the luxury of voting on principle. Some of the worst attempted abuses of civil liberties attempted by British governments in the past decade were thwarted by the Lords.

So this is not a hypothetical, but an actual advantage of a second unelected chamber.

Replacing the Lords with another chamber elected on similar rules and on a similar calendar to the lower house is just a waste.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 08:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Throwing out the bishops and replacing with a selection of ordinary folk chosen by sortition would make life interesting.

Of course members of the upper house are supposed to be educated and literate and all. But if the bishops can get a few seats, there's no reason why ordinary people couldn't be co-opted for a few years and paid a decent salary while they're sitting.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 09:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Abolish the House of Lords, rename the remaining chamber the House of Posh and create a House of Commons filled by sortition with 20% renewed every year

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 10:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who runs the sortition? Diebold?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 10:40:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sortition selection would have to be run as part of the National Lottery. The winner gets lots of money. The runner up gets a seat in Parliament
by Gary J on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 10:58:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the National Lottery is voluntary. If you would be eligible to be on the voter rolls you should be eligible to be selected by the Parliament Sweepstakes. It's a civic duty to serve if you're able, not a choice (like jury duty).

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 01:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By enabling a mechanism of civic duty, it may in the long term lead to a better informed public. Voting is not a duty in most countries and even where it is a duty (Italy for example), it runs up against the bottom line of what electoral systems are all about: the possibility to choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, both the object of investments of enormous sums of money that expect to reap future dividends (It appears the combined warchests of Obama and Romney have passed the billion and a half dollar mark).

In effect voting is a one shot deal once every few years that tends to encourage infantilization of the citizenry and a disaffection towards the civic good. Voters express poorly considered opinions rather than exercise judgement, the latter a question of investing time, thought and one's personal repute in making a decision.

Unfortunately, electoral systems are equated with "democracy" and are largely considered a sine qua non. However, the present use of the term began with Woodrow Wilson. Before him, the term "democracy" had a very bad reputation. Our present forms of governments were literally created in a very rich period spanning perhaps 80 years from the American and French Constitutions to the invention of proportional representation in Europe in the 1860's. None of these experiments were conceived as "democracy" at the time but as a means to limit or eliminate hereditary aristocracy, by creating systems of checks and balances and ostensibly encouraging the advent of an aristocracy based on merit and time limits on magistracy. Considering the levels of enfranchisement at the time it was all very upper class with a healthy dose of self-glorification. The new elites just loved their new toy and generally dreaded the idea it could fall into the hands of the plebs. (An exception would be Jefferson's good friend and muse, Destutt de Tracy, who advocated female equality, universal suffrage and no contest divorce.)

Getting back to the specific case, as some comments make evident, there is utterly no "democratic" reason to change the House of Lords. It would only be a pale copy of the poor Commons, hostage to parties and the codswallop they shovel, in turn hostage to the ever present financial elites that keep those parties alive through "loans."

The House of Lords is quite the contrary a very "democratic" institution precisely because its members are not elected but generally selected on merit, some outstanding, many not so much. Since they haven't to respond to parties or an electorate, they have the leisure to use and express their judgement for the common welfare, which is probably why their House is now so powerless.

Much of this discussion has been affronted by Keith Sutherland in his essay A People's Parliament. Beyond Sutherland's advocacy of the use of sortition in the House of Commons, the dilemma of "democracy" and our present day "democratic regimes" is very much debated by the better minds on Sci Po Square. For a sobering and illuminating foray into all things democratic, I recommend Adam Przeworski's Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:23:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the present use of the term began with Woodrow Wilson. Before him, the term "democracy" had a very bad reputation.

That probably goes all the way back to Aristotle.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 06:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually Plato. I can't remember off hand who said it but philosophy was invented as an elite tool to justify an anti-democratic concept of the state.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 02:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Party politics is not absent from the House of Lords. Most of the existing nominated members take a party whip and many of them are professional politicians or party donors. Once appointed the life peers are not so dependent on party patronage as MPs, but most are still loyal to their party.

The plan, in the proposed new House, is to make members serve a non renewable 15 year term and to restrict eligibility for former members to be elected to the House of Commons (for 4.5 years after they leave the Lords). It is hoped that this approach will avoid creating a House of people obsessed with making sure they can be re-elected.

by Gary J on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 06:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The plan sounds good. It harks back to the Roman republic but has often gone array in South American experiences. (South America has always been a hotbed of regime experimentation.)

Now if the House of Commons were to chosen by sortition the 4.5 year hiatus would be out the window.

But then what powers would the House of Lords have, seeing that it is largely ineffective at the moment?

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 02:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably jury selection or drawing lots for manning electoral precincts or other civic duties is being done currently by reliable means without having to resort to Diebold?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 01:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Replacing the Lords with another chamber elected on similar rules and on a similar calendar to the lower house is just a waste.

Were it not difficult how this could facilitate accomplishment of any Lib-Dem government's goal, as the prospect of such a government is so remote, I might think that might be the goal. It would make more likely that a party with a large mandate could push through anything. Sounds like so many 'reform' efforts over the last two decades.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 02:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. What you would get is an assembly without a partisan majority, in which the libdems imagine being the perpetual swing group.

This is a largely mechanical result of the proposed electoral system : proportional by region, as for the European parliamentary elections. We can extrapolate the last result, that of 2009, to get an idea. There are 5 parties representing the UK in the EU: by size of group, Conservative, Labour, Ukip, Libdem, Green. There might be one or two more parties represented because of the smaller quota required (120 "lords" per election, compared to 72 EMPs), but you get the idea.

This is sufficiently different from the FPP Commons method to be a pretty good way to elect an upper house. But cut the "life senztors" crap please.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:29:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There have been a lot of enquiries and committees on the subject of Lords reform in the past 15 years. One of the generally agreed principles is that one party should not have a majority, which is why the proposals include proportional representation for the elected members and the largely non-partisan nominated members and Lords Spiritual.

It is likely that the non-partisan "cross-benchers" (who function as a technical group in the House of Lords) will be the third largest group in the reformed House. The Liberal Democrats will probably be the next largest. There will then be smaller numbers of members from various other parties.

Under the new order no one will serve for more than fifteen years, so the old idea of membership for life will disappear.

by Gary J on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 06:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. What you would get is an assembly without a partisan majority, in which the libdems imagine being the perpetual swing group.

Except they are the 3rd party in a first past the post system because they gained the status of second party in enough electorates.

A multi-seat constituency system is going to tilt over time more toward the Greens being the balance of power, as in the Ozzie Senate ~ indeed, the Ozzie Dems were the balance of power for a while, but in making a deal with the Conservative Coalition (Libs and Nats) on a VAT, they relegated themselves to irrelevancy.

It would be a small bit poignant if the Lib Dems got the House of Lords reform through as their last gasp before their already existing coalition with the Tories knocked them down in a similar way. The poignancy would be substantially tempered by the fact that the idiotic gits had it coming for being foolish enough to strike the deal.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 03:19:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is unlikely, with the proposals as they are, that a single party or group will have the balance of power between Labour and Conservative members in the reformed House.

I suspect that the cross-benchers would be the third largest group.

The Liberal Democrats have been weakened by participation in the coalition, but they remain the third largest party and I see no likelihood that they will lose that position or not be the 4th largest group in the House of Lords.

by Gary J on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 08:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The House of Lords is not as powerful a House of Review as the Australian Senate, so it may not be as big a driver of 3rd party dynamics ~ but the position of a 3rd party relying primarily on standing in first past the post constituencies will always be brittle.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 1st, 2012 at 02:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
I am not defending the thing, just saying that if I could change something, my very very first would be to replace first-past-the-post with proportionality in parliament. That would bring real democracy to the UK, more than anything else.

In light of this, I think the reformed proposed is a good thing. Having one chamber elected by proportional representation should over time increase the pressure on reform of the commons.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 03:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. I actually did not know that the LibDem proposal was proportionality for the upper house. Smart. Unexpected...
by cagatacos on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 11:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - House of Lords Reform
with an opportunity to cast a personal vote to alter the order of candidates on a list as long as the affected individual candidates get five per cent of the vote

5% of the vote on the list, of the votes in the constituency or of what exactly?

I ask because Sweden uses a list system with an opportunity to cast a personal vote to alter the order of candidates on a list as long as the affected individual candidates get five per cent (eight per cent to national parliament) of the vote on the list in the constituency. This has had a very limited effect, because the bar is set to high, in particular for larger parties. I would much prefer the finnish system that has no bar.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 03:29:45 AM EST
Sounds good. In the present Italian system the choice of MPs is entirely in the hands of the party boss(es) on a national level. "Candidates" are simply included in as many local lists as the party sees fit and then are juggled around once the elections have been held. Citizens have utterly no choice of preferences, a simple cross on a party symbol and that's that.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 05:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, using the proposed House of Lords electoral system, the electors right to change the order of the party list is likely to prove more theoretical than effective. However it is an improvement on the totally closed fixed order regional party lists, which are used for European Parliament elections in Great Britain.

There are better kinds of party list systems, which give more freedom to the elector and less control to the party, but none of them seem to be on offer.

The reason why we got a closed party list system for Europe, was that the Labour Party were paranoid about the risk that individual Labour candidates might try to compete with other Labour candidates. That was intolerable because the public might be more attracted to candidates with individual opinions than to candidates who could only repeat the pre-packaged party line.

by Gary J on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 08:04:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason why we got a closed party list system for Europe, was that the Labour Party were paranoid about the risk that individual Labour candidates might try to compete with other Labour candidates. That was intolerable because the public might be more attracted to candidates with individual opinions than to candidates who could only repeat the pre-packaged party line.

How democratic!

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 09:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Going through the small print, in the third schedule to the bill, I have found out that the 5% figure relates to a share of the party vote not of all votes cast in the election.

The actual text of the bill.

"6 (1) Seats allocated in an electoral district to a party are to be allocated to its candidates in the following order--

(a) qualifying candidates, in order of the votes given for each candidate (largest number of votes first);

(b) other candidates, in the order in which they appear on the party list.

(2) A candidate is a "qualifying candidate" if the number of votes given for the candidate is at least 5% of the number of votes given for the party as determined for the purposes of paragraph 4(2).

(3) As between qualifying candidates with an equal number of votes, seats are to be allocated in the order in which they appear on the party list."

I am not sure that many individual candidates will get 5% of the list vote, because the elector has the choice to vote for a list OR for an individual candidate on the list (which counts as a vote for the list so far as allocation of seats is concerned). I imagine most electors will vote for the list or the lead candidate on it, so it would be quite unusual for one of the lower ranked candidates to reach a personal vote of five per cent of all the votes for the list.

by Gary J on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 07:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds like the Swedish rule (except for parliament where it is eight per cent, but lowering that to five has been discussed).

In effect, in larger constituencies, there will be safe seats for large parties. If Labour and Conservatives each take 35% in South East they get about six seats. For the first name not to enter six candidates need to not only get more then number one, but also more then five per cent of the party votes each. And since it is a large constituency, with lots of people that means that six lower ranked candidates need to get their message out to lots of people.

On the other hand, all seats in Wales can very well be sorted on number of preference votes. And small parties has no safe seats as it only takes one other candidate to get more votes in order not to elect the top name where the party gets one seat. So it is a non-sensical barrier that only makes sense from the perspective of large parties (guess that is why it is proposed).

Btw, I can't get to the pdf. Even with adjusting for the link being incorrectly written. Anyone else can? Is it UK only?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 02:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have sorted out a link which seems to work to a page on the parliament web site, which includes a pdf link to the text of the bill as introduced.

DoDo kindly inserted a link to the page about the draft bills which were put forward for pre-legislative consultation. Unfortunately I tried to replace that with a link to the bill as introduced, but got the syntax wrong. Sorry for the confusion.

by Gary J on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 08:44:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you have party lists, the existence or absence of a threshold will not matter, because you will need far more than the threshold to beat the list votes.

For that matter, in a side-ordered list the party decides as well, because name recognition decides personal votes and name recognition depends on the resources the party allocates to each candidate. In Denmark party-lists are legal, but generally frowned upon. A few parties use them (principally the red-greens), but in practice you do not see any great difference between open and closed lists. In this respect, the parties are quite depressingly good at managing voter behaviour.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 2nd, 2012 at 05:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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