Sunday, May 08, 2011

UK elections

The UK went to the polls on Friday for a national referendum on the voting system. Sadly, the marginal improvement of preferential voting could not compete against the desire to kick Nick Clegg in the bollocks for crawling into bed with the Tories, and so FPP will be retained. They say people get the government they voted for, and in the UK's case its going to continue to be unrepresentative and unaccountable. Hopefully it will be a lesson to them.

Meanwhile, those parts of the UK with fairer voting systems had regional elections. In Scotland, which uses MMP, the Scottish National Party won an absolute majority - something no-one expected to happen. They're taking this as a mandate for greater autonomy, and there is likely to be a referendum on Scottish independence within the next four years.

Meanwhile, in Wales, Labour came within a hair's breadth of an absolute majority, winning 30 of the 60 seats on only 37% of the vote. Wales uses MMP, but a broken version which proportionalises regionally rather than nationally. With only 4 list seats in each 12-seat region, the result is massive, structural overhangs which benefit Labour and shortchange everyone else. The overall result is highly disproportionate; the Gallagher Index for the Welsh election was 10.4 - practically an FPP result. By contrast, Scotland, which proportionalises across larger regions with a better balance between list and electorate seats, had 7.5; New Zealand's last election, out most disproportionate under MMP, was 3.8.