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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Labour talk to their own navel

The rather sad pre-occupation of this weekend's Welsh Labour Conference on the way that opposition AMs are elected shows just how bankrupt Labour's ambitions for Wales have become. Instead of addressing the needs of the people of Wales and the issue of how to get an Assembly with meaningful powers that is representative of the way that people voted, they have become obsessed with how to keep their own seats and how to preserve their own power. Even their metaphors are tired.

One of the problems with banning constituency candidates (who may be virtually paperless in a particular constituency) from being on a regional list is that is incentivises failure on the part of those on the list who would previously have stood in a constituency too.

Specifically, if you were standing in a constituency seat and on the regional list, it is in your interest to get voters out in that constituency voting for you. But if you are solely on the regional list, you may well find yourself wishing your colleagues in the constituencies to lose by a few votes each so that there are enough votes to win a top-up seat from the list without it being taken by another candidate in the constituencies.

I hope that makes sense. I know it might be a rare occurrence, but it looked possible in the GLA elections. Labour should fix the problem, but not by tinkering with who can stand where under AMS. They should switch all assemblies and parliaments to STV.

Will Howells 10 September 2004
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