Westminster’s voting system turns elections into a tactical guessing game

As voters go to the polls, we can be sure that tactical voting has the potential to play a decisive role in who gets elected. Recent research commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society in Britain suggests that one in five electors there will vote for a candidate or party best positioned to keep out someone they disliked. This is also a familiar feature of Northern Irish political life, with the truth being that in First Past the Post elections people … Read more

Irish Elections: Chasing the Democracy Dream

DEMOS RETURNS: The Athenians and the Romans shared many things, but they had radically different ideas on government. In Rome, most State power was reserved to the winners of elections. Athens focused instead on intensive citizen debate, frequent direct votes, and lottery-appointed officials to handle the bureaucracy.

Penrose resignation underlines the need for political reform…

I would never suggest that Willie Penrose is not a true supporter [erm, ex supporter – Ed] of the Irish Labour party… but he does represents a constituency (Longford Westmeath) that’s right on the edge of the Labour’s natural Pale… Feverish talk of an unravelling may be extrapolating from a near exceptional example, at least in Labour’s case… Penrose resigned, because he failed to do what his constituents put him into Leinster House to do.. That is defend his parish … Read more

The AV Showdown – Belfast Skeptics Alternative Vote Debate

What is AV The Alternative Vote (AV) is very much like First-Past-the-Post (FPTP). Like FPTP, it is used to elect representatives for single-member constituencies, except that rather than simply marking one solitary ‘X’ on the ballot paper, the voter has the chance to rank the candidates on offer. The voter thus puts a ‘1′ by their first-preference candidate, and can continue, if they wish, to put a ‘2′ by their second-preference, and so on, until they don’t care any more … Read more

Vote often, vote often?

Just how many ticks and crosses might you be asked to make in May 2011? Council elections (for 26 councils) NI Assembly elections Electoral reform (Alternative Vote) referendum All of these opportunities to exercise your democratic right are pencilled in for Thursday 5 May next year. The Welsh Assembly elections were also expected to be held on 5 May. There is all party support in Wales for those to be delayed for a week to prevent voter confusion. No doubt the … Read more

Lib Cons bring in provision for minority government…

House of COmmons logo

Interesting switch in the detail of the new legislation proposed by the Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. The fixed term can actually be thrown out before the five years are up. But not on a simple majority. You have to get 55% to get em out. So Gerry Fitt and Frank Maguire would not have been able to buck Jim Callaghan out in favour of what turned out to be the Thatcher era. David has the detail: The parties agree to the … Read more

Nationalists face decision on electing Lords

At last! A firm-sounding but gradualist plan for an elected second chamber at Westminster, based on the government’s White Paper, if the Guardian story comes to pass. The Labour cabinet seems to have sorted out an internal wrangle at the last minute. Just as well, as the Lib Dems might have sorted it for them. Under leaked Labour plans a new House of Lords probably called the Senate has been thrust higher up the agenda in the present storm of … Read more