[EM] Question for STV-PR supporters

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Thu Jul 17 14:29:02 PDT 2003

> James Gilmour said:
> > But locality is a real and important issue for electors.  When asked
> > relevant questions in surveys, there is strong support in 
> Scotland for
> > the idea of having a local representative.  And I have seen at first
> > hand in an STV-PR election in Northern Ireland, voters 
> transfer their
> > preferences across the parties to secure local 
> representation.  To those
> > voters, PR of their locality was more important than PR of their
> > preferred party.

Alex replied: 
> I don't know that it's even locality per se.  I think it's 
> more "This is MY Representative." 

Here is Scotland there is definite evidence of both of these factors.
One of our present 32 councils is an amalgam of five or six burghs that
existed until the early 1970s.  The council would now like to introduce
a devolved structure for service delivery and control because the
electors in this largely rural area still relate to the old burghs as
each had a small town (large village) as its focus.  This council has 29
members.  If the old burgh structure were used as the basis of districts
for STV-PR, one district would have 3 members while another would have

The Scottish Social Attitudes survey certainly revealed a genuine
electors' preference for "My representative".  It has, however, to be
borne in mind that the questions and context were heavily influenced by
the Scottish Parliament election of 1999 which produced two very
different kinds of MSP, constituency MSPs and Regional MSPs, because we
use AMS = MMP to elect the Scottish Parliament.  However, the same
electors in the same survey also indicated they wanted what may be
described as the benefits of PR.  So the electors wanted two things that
were mutually incompatible!  Welcome to the real world of democracy!!


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