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England let down by elections as Scotland leads the way
Posted by 9th May 2012
local
4 Comments
09
May 2012

 

Since Thursday’s local elections we’ve been crunching the numbers. Did voters get a fair deal? What has breaking from First Past the Post meant for Scotland?

 

Well what we’re seeing is a widening gulf between local democracy in England and Scotland.

 

We’ve focused on six English and Scottish cities and its’ clear English voters are drawing the short straw – with less choice and less chance of affecting the result on polling day.

 

A tale of 6 Cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Manchester:

City Edin. Glas. Dundee Portsm. B.ham Manc.
Voter Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candidates/Ward

7.47

10.67

7.75

3.86

5.23

4.91

Parties/Ward

6.41

8.38

5.63

3.79

5.20

4.75

Representation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voters getting who they voted for (%)

72.66

75.93

79.78

46.17

54.98

65.22

Women’s representation (%)

25.86

30.38

24.14

14.30

42.50

34.4

Voting system

STV

STV

STV

FPTP

FPTP

FPTP

Estimated National Turnout

Scotland 42%

England 32%

 

Scotland abandoned First Past the Post for local government elections in 2007 and adopted the Single Transferrable Vote form of Proportional Representation. This has brought competitive elections into all the local ‘One Party States’ that once blighted Scottish politics.

 

Scottish voters got more choice at the polls and more chance of deciding who speaks in their name in their town halls. And while most Scots got a councillor they backed for their trouble, most of the English just threw their votes away (33,000 in Birmingham, 27,000 in Portsmouth, and 90,000 in Birmingham alone).

 

Glasgow has transformed itself from rotten borough to a multi-party democracy. Scotland now has a local democracy we can all be proud of, and getting rid of First Past the Post made that possible. With the Single Transferable Vote people have got a real say on who runs their local authorities.

 

Voters in England should settle for nothing less.

 

 

 
Comments
  • Moira Scobbie

    Excellent news on the outcomes in terms of voter choice, but a disaster for women all round.  

    • electoralreform

      Indeed Moira. We advocate reform of the system because it can open the door to female candidates – but at the end of the day the onus is on the parties to get those candidates standing, and standing where they can win. Yes, we need a level playing field at the ballot box, but parties the will to make it happen. 

  • Seamus Bennett

    who’s going to get this on the national agenda? Presumably not the Lib Dems - or could they drop HoL reform in return for STV in local English elections? Would be more effective way of galvanising English democracy.

  • ASbeeman

    Do not agree.  All Independents defeated by STV in South Ayrshire even though they got more votes than those elected.  All in all some 6 Wards had the results altered in favour of major Political Parties bhy STV.  I had 1870 votes but another had 1400 and he was elected.  Why? because under STV transfered votes are not counted as whole numbers.  In some wards the difference was as high as 800 votes yet under STV the number did not count.