From the desk of the Scriptorium
Election series 2010: The UK
I realize that most of the people in the US could care less about the elections in the UK…..I think they are mistaken…….
I have been asked why I subject myself to the agony of politics…..the answer is easy….my education made me a political addict….it is the most fascinating of subjects…..I meet a lot of good friends and a bunch of crazies….both are interesting in their own way….and the exchange of views is almost a good exercise…..I have also been asked why I would be interested in the politics of another country….that is easy also…they have a different type of government and it plays differently than the Federal system we have here……I also depend on my friend Quin from Quintessential Havoc (blogroll will get you there) to help me understand better and to fill in the gaps that I will no doubt have in my posts concerning the UK and the EU…….
The election for PM of Britain is under way…..they have Brown from Labor, Cameron from the Tories and Clegg from the Liberal Democrats….as best I can tell it is pretty much a draw right now, but the LibDem Clegg is making lots of noise and could be a spoiler for one of the dudes….
The voting system is a bit unique , at least I think it is……..Rather than marking an ‘X’ against their preferred candidate, each voter ranks candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of first place votes, he or she is elected. However if no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the second choices for the candidate at the bottom are redistributed. The process is repeated until one candidate gets an absolute majority. (Quin maybe able to expand this a bit)
The UK currently operates a simple plurality, first-past-the-post system. In this voting system the single winner is the person with the most votes; there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes.
Uses multi-seat constituencies and transfers votes that would otherwise be wasted to other eligible candidates. STV initially allocates an elector’s vote to his or her most preferred candidate and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, transfers surplus or unused votes according to the voters’ stated preferences. (Thanx to Reuters reporters for some of the facts in this post)
With that said…there is a push for electoral reforms in the UK….the issue is popular as it is in the US?
– Referendum early in the next parliament on whether to move to the Alternative Vote* system for elections to the House of Commons
– Free vote in parliament on reducing voting age to 16
– Legislation to ensure parliaments sit for a fixed-term
– Commission to chart a course to a written constitution
– Statutory register of lobbyists
– Completion of reform of the House of Lords
– Full implementation of a new system of independent regulation of MPs pay, pensions and allowances.
– Oppose change to ‘first-past-the-post’ system**
– Reduce the number of MPs by 10 percent to 585 from 650 (The US only has 435 Reps)
– Work to ensure consensus for substantially elected House of Lords
– Give House of Commons more control over own timetable
– Reduce discrepancy between constituency electorate sizes
– Right to kick out MPs found guilty of wrongdoing
– Ensure that legislation on devolved issues that only affects England, or England and Wales, can only be passed with the consent of MPs from England, and where applicable Wales
– Introduce new rules on lobbying
– Prefer Single Transferable Vote system***, which would allow them to cut MPs by 150
– Right to vote from age 16
– Fixed-term parliaments
– Replace House of Lords with fully elected second chamber with fewer members
– Introduce written constitution(Wait! There is NO written constitution?)
– Right to sack MPs who have broken the rules
– Curb influence of lobbyists
This will make the Brit system of electing a PM as clear as mud for most, but I think that what effects one country may ultimately show up in others and that includes the US……once again I apologize of my UK readers if I screwed up any of this…..I look forward to hearing from them….