[EM] STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Fri Feb 17 16:58:27 PST 2012

David L Wetzell  > Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 7:31 PM
> > James Gilmour: But why would you want all these differences 
> > and complications?
> dlw: Because context matters. 

I have great difficulty in believing that there are such context specific differences.  I could believe that there are differences
in the hostility of the political parties to proposals for reform of the voting system at different levels of government and that
reforms that the parties might accept at one level would not be acceptable at another  - especially their own election!

> dlw: 1. There are benefits to party-list PR, relative to STV. 

I do not agree that there are any benefits of any party-PR voting system that outweigh the benefits to the voters of STV-PR.
"Elections are for electors"  -  or at least, they should be  -  and to change that balance in favour of the voters should be one of
the key objectives of any reform of a voting system.

> > JG: We had to accept local government wards electing only 3 or 
> > 4 councillors as part of our STV-PR package  -  that's 
> > practical politics.  But that reform has transformed our 
> > local government  -  no more "one-party states".
> dlw: Undoubtedly, and this is what made the AV referendum 
> possible, no doubt.

The reform of the voting system for local government in Scotland in 2007 had absolutely nothing to do with the 2011 UK referendum on
AV (= IRV, not "approval voting").  THE problem with the AV referendum was that no serious reformer wanted AV.  Some party
politicians wanted AV, but far more party politicians (especially Conservatives) were opposed to any reform at all.  The Liberal
Democrats (whose party policy is for STV-PR) decided that a referendum on AV was the best they could extract from the Conservatives
in the negotiations to form the coalition government.  The negotiating teams were under a great deal of pressure and wanted to
achieve an agreement before the UK financial markets opened on the Monday morning after the Thursday election.  

James Gilmour

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