miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
miss_s_b ([personal profile] miss_s_b) wrote2012-04-18 10:08
Entry tags:

The London Mayoral Contest and my problems with our political system.

So I just watched this video:



... which is an unofficial Paddick supporters' vid, the first half of which attacks Boris and the second half bigs up Brian. And the bit that stuck in my mind was a joke's only funny the first time around.

Londoners have a choice on May 3rd between a joke that's not funny any more, an apparently corrupt hasbeen who keeps rising like Zombie Mr Grimsdyke, an environmentalist, and a former police chief who knows what he's doing and loves the city he wants to be mayor of. And the media keep talking like the fight is between the first two and not the last two. In any sane political system this would not be the case: the fight in any election ought to be between the most competent candidates, not the least.

Why is our political system so utterly fucked up that all we hear about in the London mayoral race is Ken V Boris and Boris V Ken, certainly up here, when I want to hear what Brian and Jenny have to say? Mainly I'd like to hear what Brian and Jenny have to say because they are the two who seem like they might have a cat in hell's chance of not totally cocking everything up the second they take office like Ken or Boris would/will.

Argh. I don't know. Our political system is so frustrating. All my training at school and uni pushes me towards scientific method: an idea should be evaluated on it's merits by examination of evidence and careful study. Our political system does not reward this approach. Our political system rewards diatribe, hysterical screaming, hyperbole, totally ignoring evidence, paying off the media, throwing money at a campaign rather than ideas; and joining a party not because their ideals accord with yours, but because they are the best route to power.

Changing the electoral system might have made a dent in that, but the London Mayoral Race is not run on FPTP and the campaign still seems to go the same way.

It's depressing.
ext_390810: (Default)

[identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/ 2012-04-18 09:34 (UTC)(link)
It's not FPTP, but the problem with Supplementary Vote is that it it encourages the election to be portrayed as being being two main choices with the rest as also-rans - it's basically saying you can have your protest vote to start, but the important one is the one you cast for Boris or Ken. Basically all of the flaws of the French system with none of the strengths.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

[personal profile] matgb 2012-04-18 09:36 (UTC)(link)
This. SV ios basically worse than FPTP because both the first and second vote has to be tactical and it doesn't measure actual preferences.

And of course the media likes nice simple X vs Y stories, anything more than that is complicated.

[personal profile] po8crg 2012-04-18 16:31 (UTC)(link)
My description of the referendum was "We're being asked whether we want to replace the worst democratic electoral system with the third-worst.". Of course, AV is the third-worst; FPTP the worst, but SV was in my mind as the second-worst.

You'd think that having Lib Dems in government, the least we could do is switch all the mayors and the police commissioners to AV and flip the euro-elections to STV.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

[personal profile] matgb 2012-04-18 16:51 (UTC)(link)
I actually think closed list PR is in there as well, I dislike the effect that has on the polity almost as much as what FPTP does.

And yeah, hindsite says we should've gone for STV for the Lords, allow triggered referenda for STV for councils and sortign out the mayoral systems instead of the miserable little compromise, but hindsite's a wonderful thing.
gwenhwyfaer: (Default)

[personal profile] gwenhwyfaer 2012-04-18 09:49 (UTC)(link)
Not Siobhan?
jo: (Default)

[personal profile] jo 2012-04-18 11:03 (UTC)(link)
Same problem on this side of the pond (Canada). The idiot elected Mayor of Toronto actually makes me wish we had Boris Johnson as mayor - that's how bad Mayor Ford is. The race started off with 7-8 candidates, but when it became clear Ford was leading in the polls, most of them dropped off to throw their weight behind the only other candidate who had a shot at beating Ford, George Smitherman. We don't have political parties at the municipal level, but it was clear Ford was aligned with our Conservative parties (both provincial and federal). Smitherman had been a former provincial Liberal minister. All the others were former councillors. We use FPTP for EVERYTHING in Canada, so Ford won with 47%. If Joe Pantalone had dropped out of the race, Smitherman probably would have won.

It's tempting to blame the media, but they were almost all largely quite negative about Ford, pointing out that his promises and claims made zero sense. He appealed largely to the suburban parts of the city - probably because he promised to build subways all over the place while at the same time cutting taxes and the "gravy train" that he claimed City Hall was drowning in.

(Anonymous) 2012-04-18 12:46 (UTC)(link)
even here in London it seems pretty KvB.
Doesn't help that the Evening Standard is so biased. Not sure there are any other London papers that aren't very local specific. (ie Ham and High, or Camdel Journal)

As far as I can see the only way to get a better idea is to go to a hustings, although these tend to be issue specific. or to dig around the websites.

I think we get a flyer soon telling us who the candidates are.
daweaver:   (pluralism)

Vote Bean

[personal profile] daweaver 2012-04-18 18:52 (UTC)(link)
Oh, the supplementary vote is capable of perverting the will of the electorate. Take, for instance, the town of Doncaster in 2009. Labour stood a candidate, the Conservatives stood a candidate. The Lib Dems and Greens didn't stand a candidate, but supported one of three independent candidates. The BNP and English Democrats also stood. The first round was remarkably close, topped by the supported Ind on 22.9% of the vote. The ED secured 22.6%, Labour 22.1%, with the others trailing.

Voters on the Responsible end of the political spectrum had to guess which Responsible candidates would make the final two, and if their first preference didn't make it, which would be their second choice. Voters on the Racist end could go 1) BNP 2) ED, or vice versa, and be done with it.

And that's what happened. The BNP vote transferred almost exactly to the ED candidate, while three-quarters of the Responsible transfer was lost when the voters guessed incorrectly. The result is that the English Democrats have complete control of the town, based on the active support of less than a third of the voters (and barely 10% of the population), at least until the next mayoral election next year.

Or, if I'm to believe Channel 4 News tonight, until Doncaster decides that mayors were a bad idea and return to something more sensible.
gwenhwyfaer: (Default)

Re: Vote Bean

[personal profile] gwenhwyfaer 2012-04-18 21:26 (UTC)(link)
Which is exactly why I'll be voting against a mayor in Sheffield's referendum. At least if the council chooses a mayor, the council can kick him out again. Being intractably stuck with the worst numpty on the charts for four years - as happened in Doncaster (and let's not forget that the fascist in question is the father of notoriously dreadful Member for Shipley Philip Davies) - is just not something I can let happen.

Of course, given my unfailing political nose, this means that Yes vote will win by a country mile. *sigh*