Thursday, 5 May 2016

Not voting

Today is local election day here in the UK and for the first time since I got the vote in 1981, I am not using. The 2 main elections today are for Liverpool Mayor and Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner. The 2 Candidates I am not voting for are Joe Anderson and Jane Kennedy, in both cases I have personally been abused by them. In Joe's case walking down Dale Street and in Jane's Case when she dismissed a complaint about her staff with the phrase "my staff are above suspicion". Which is not a good attitude to have if you are supervising the police!
I don't like the other parties, so I will not be voting for their candidates. In theory, the Mayoral election is AV, so if no one wins the first vote then everyone but the top two is eliminated and those voters second votes are redistributed. The thing is the Labour party didn't put up 2 candidates, so I cannot vote for another candidate and stay with my party. In essence in Liverpool and Merseyside, the winning candidates will have been picked by the local party selection committee's not the voters. This suits people like Joe and Jane well, it means they can rely on part loyalty and arm bending with the party. It, however, means that the voter is short changed.
The US primary system gets around this but it is an expensive circus, PR ignores the problem completely, the real solution is a proper AV system where each party puts up more than 1 candidate, preferably a number based on the votes the party got at the last election. Then each candidate is eliminated 1 by 1 till a candidate gets over 50%, it is complex but fortunately, we have computers to do the work.
I'm not talking about electronic voting, it could all still be done on paper and then the paper scanned in and the data read, any papers that cannot be read are rejected and entered by hand. Once they have all be done the eliminations would take seconds, though it could be padded out for drama.
This would destroy the power of the selection committees and make the parties more responsive to the voters without the expense of primaries. Joe, in particular, hates it because he couldn't win a popularity competition if he tried, Jane would hate it because her record means that large chunks of the electorate would vote anyone but Jane. This seems to make it ideal as far as I'm concerned, it is more democratic.
There are various pro-PR campaigns knocking around but if you scratch the surface, they still don't want to tackle the power of the selection committees, they just want to have a central list starting with the central parties favourite candidate and working all the way down to canon fodder. Don't be fooled by the PR campaigns they do not want to empower the voter.Just get a better chunk for themselves in opposition.


  1. Only the PCC thing here. I was tempted to draw a most exquisite set of genitals on the ballot paper to demonstrate just how much I value that particular role, but I was fairly crippled, time-wise, so I voted for someone who wasn't already in the role.

    Incredibly, one of the candidates here was a serving police officer. Being as how the police farce round here is rubbish, I really do wonder why he was wasting him time.

    1. Not as much fun as one of the other PCC candidates here.

  2. *Him* time? His time, obviously... ;-)