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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Keeping things in proportion

Interesting editorial in the Western Mail this morning highlighting the plethora of coalitions that are forming in local Councils all over Wales:

Here is a huge irony in the fact that, despite Welsh Labour’s massive opposition to the introduction of proportional representation (PR) in local government, coalition politics is now predominant in Wales.

Since the council elections earlier this month, just four of our 22 local authorities are controlled by single parties – Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Monmouthshire and Vale of Glamorgan. Elsewhere, political groups – if they exist at all – have been forced to negotiate with others before new arrangements for running councils can be agreed. In every case, of course, the outcome has followed a “first past the post” election.

There are two ways of viewing what has happened. One is that the longstanding Liberal Democrat (and going back further, Liberal) argument that “fair” (that is, proportional) outcomes can only be achieved by introducing a PR voting system has been blown out of the water. Alternatively, it could be argued that one of the strongest objections to PR – that it would lead to no overall control – is itself redundant.

Of course, achieving a position where there is no overall control does not necessarily stem from a situation where a party’s seats are proportionate to its overall vote. And, as results from the past amply demonstrate, “first past the post” elections can end in a big majority for a party that, in terms of its proportion of the votes, it has not deserved.

Nevertheless, those who savour such things from a psephological point of view can be well pleased with this month’s results, which so defied conventional wisdom.

I will be bringing my legislative competence order to the Assembly on 11 June, in which I will be seeking powers for the Assembly to be able to change the electoral arrangements of local Councils. We will see whether the outcome of this month's elections has helped to persuade AMs to support it or not.
Good luck with it Peter. I think that the LDs rally need to sharpen up opposition to/criticism of the current system which, in its way, is as grotesque a distortion of voters' will as what occurs in Zimbabwe. All this talk of a huge Tory landslide if they can score a massive, err 42% of votes!
Saw you today Peter in the Welsh Assembly - but you didn't see me. This was because I was watching just for a few minutes on the web. You were great - a cut above the lot of them. Looked good in your suit. Real leader.

I note The Curly Top got rattled. Haven't The Labour Party shot him yet? He was there the last time I tuned in for a couple of minutes - I think it was back in 2001.

Why was that debating chamber empty? Don't tell me they are taking sickies because of the weather. Are we all paying inflated Council Tax to look at empty seats?

I also read this today.


It appears that this Withering dude is trying to write you out the script - before the script has been written by you. He is making up the news - or is he reporting it? Is all this stuff true? Is it right that you're going to be a horse for a woman? I'm truly shocked. Your Party ain't too democratic either. Democracy - China style. Your Party needs a real reformer, Peter, with guts and vision. Someone with a Hillary Nut Cracker to help him.

Well dear Peter, don't forget to e-mail me when you do announce your leadership bid. I'm not going to mention the leadership race anymore after today. I've been receiving complaints about my campaigning style.

I've admired you for lots of reasons ever since the garbage was opened (sorry, the garage was opened) down in old Tigger Bay. I admire you because you speak your own mind, and when you come under attack as a consequence, you stand firm, resolute and don't get pushed around. In many ways, Peter, you are like a pair of Marks And Spencers underpants. Firm, well put together, excellent support, a known and reliable quality and also very, very distinct. Above all else - you are dynamic and you don't crawl up anyone's backside.

Anyway, we've got your campaign theme song ready which we'll use with the slogan "Don't Go Back - Go Black". Note the big BLACK horse that appears in the video. Whatever you do make sure no woman rides on your back during the course of this leadership race. :-)

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