Electoral Commission & IRO

David Marsay djmarsay at dera.gov.uk
Tue Nov 3 05:58:09 PST 1998

Bart Ingles wrote:

> The relevant statement from Lord Jenkins's report:
> > On its own AV would be unacceptable because of the danger that in
> > anything like present circumstances it might increase rather than
> > reduce disproportionality and might do so in a way which is unfair
> > to the Conservative party.
> If I understand the situation correctly, the concern seems to be that
> Liberal and Labour Party voters would rank each other second, preventing
> the Conservatives from winning any seats.  It may be that the
> Conservatives currently have a small plurality edge in not quite half
> the districts, resulting in a rough semblance of proportionality.
> It doesn't sound like they would have been happy with any single-winner
> method on its own.  A Condorcet Winner in every district could wipe out
> that rough proportionality.
> Then again, I may have this all wrong.  Comments from the U.K.?

I don't know what the actual reasoning was, but I think that you may 
be right. UK Demographics mean that Conservatives candidates are more 
likely to benefit from FPP than labour. Hence with almost any 
alternative (including approval) Conservatives are unlikely to get a 
majority of seats. On the other hand, they sometimes get the most 
votes, and my guess would be that if we had a nation-wide ballot on 
who should form the government they would sometimes win under almost 
any system. Some may consider this demographic artefact undesirable. 
Hence the 'top-up' proposal.
Sorry, but apparently I have to do this. :-(
The views expressed above are entirely those of the writer
and do not represent the views, policy or understanding of
any other person or official body.

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