More comments on Lord Jenkin's proposals

David Marsay djmarsay at
Fri Oct 9 04:31:18 PDT 1998

In response to:
>   ----------- Forwarded Message ----------
> From: Owen
> Subject: Re: More comments on Lord Jenkin's proposals
> In a message dated 25/09/98 10:13:01 GMT,
> [in a post by] donald at [David Marsay] writes:
> <<
>  3) A centre candidate will win unless it has the least support or some
>  other candidate has an absolute majority (as above).
>      This violates the Smith criterion. But maybe that is a small price to
> pay. In extremis, a centre candidate with 2 supporters could win using the
> Smith criterion.  Do we really want to elect the candidate who has least local
> support? Also note that methods that appear to respect the Smith criterion do
> not encourage honest voting, so may not 'really' meet the criterion. >>
> I think, if this is the only choice we have, that a centre candidate with only
> 2% first preferences but massive 2nd. preferences would be a better democratic
> choice than a left or right wing candidate with negligible 2nd. choice
> support.
I think I would generally agree with this, which means that the usual 
'majority criterion' is not quite precise. However, what if one has 
two parties 'L' and 'R' and an 'independent R', say. Both L and R 
supporters may put the independent second, so it looks like a 
compromise. Actually, it may represent very similar views to R. If L 
gets 45%, R 40% and independent R 15%, who should win? This is a 
problem for many methods. I think AV gets it right in this case.

> What I really regret is the apparent unwillingness of those in power to
> institute multi-member constituencies.   If you only have one elected member
> then by definition that member cannot be proportional.

I agree, but I guess it depends wether you live in a city or a very 
rural area. It is nice to have a representative that you can see in a 
Sorry folks, 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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