yodathedark: (biohazard)
[personal profile] yodathedark
Just did some maths about proportional representation.

Quick primer: proportional representation (PR) is where seats on government are decided by national vote share, not number of seats.

Now, I was for this before I did the maths - anyone can see it's an unfair system currently. But here's the brief run-down of how it worked out.

Con: 235 seats (36.1%)
Lab: 189 seats (29.0%)
LD: 150 seats (23.0%)

So we can already see that the Tory's have lost a significant number of seats (235 compared to 306). Labour are down 69 seats, but the Lib Dems are up 93 seats.

Onto the smaller parties, and we still see significant change.

DUP: 4 seats (0.6%) ~ -4
SNP: 11 seats (1.7%) ~ +5
Sinn Fein: 4 seats (0.6%) ~ -1
Plaid Cymru: 4 seats (0.6%) ~ +1
SDLP: 3 seats (0.4%) ~ +0
Green: 7 seats (1.0%) ~ +6
Alliance: 1 seat (0.1%) ~ +0
UKIP: 20 seats (3.1%) ~ +20
BNP: 12 seats (1.9%) ~ +12
UCU: 2 seats (0.3%) ~ +2
English Democrats: 1 seat (0.2%) ~ +1
R-U Coalition: 1 seat (0.1%) ~ +1
TUV: 1 seat (0.1%) ~ +1
Christian: 1 seat (0.1%) ~ +1
ICHU: 1 seat (0.1%) ~ +1
TUSC: 0 seats (0.0%) ~ +0
SSP: 0 seats (0.0%) ~ +0
Others: 7 seats (1.1%) ~ +6

Now, these numbers aren't perfect. They don't take into account the actual percentages for independent candidates or the smaller parties. (They also total to 653 seats instead of 650), but they represent the will of Britain better than the actual seats do.

Now, the BNP and UKIP might have 32 of the seats by my count, but they also have 5% of the national vote behind them. Are those 32 seats going to be able to achieve much without winning the local seats as well? Not really.

But what PR does mean is that the smaller parties are better represented. The Green Party, under PR, instead of having just 1 seat in the Commons, would have 7. SNP would have 11 instead of 6.

What PR has done (using yesterday's election results) is take 57 seats from the big parties (after more fairly distributing them between them) and given those to the smaller parties who weren't being represented - despite holding significant vote share.

So even though BNP and UKIP get 32 seats from PR, I'm still in favour of it. Giving power to the people who actually represent the people isn't a bad thing.

Date: 2010-05-07 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] derekct.livejournal.com
totally agree it's the way forward.

Date: 2010-05-07 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulaidhan.livejournal.com
You'd need to take into account the vagaries of the national variations: not only are there the assorted nationalist parties, you've got anomalies like Labour refusing to permit anyone in Ulster to join (let alone stand for) the party.

PR'd also shake up the local format of things quite a lot: the Tories, even on their present vote share, would have 9 or 10 seats in Scotland, while Labour'd lose its dominance both up here and in Wales.

Though it's not necessarily essential, it's also standard for there to be a minimum threshold (either total votes, or percentage of the votes cast) that parties have to pass to qualify for seats - so 0.2% would very rarely qualify for a seat in parliament. If the threshold's set at 5% or so, then quite a lot of the smallest parties would miss out on the present vote-share, giving some more seats to the bigger parties.

Northern Ireland, by the crudest version of PR, would work out at 4 (probably rounded up to 5) seats for each of the DUP and Sinn Fein; 3 for the SDLP and the UUP; 1 for Alliance... and 1 more for Sylvia Hermon.

Wales (40): UKIP 1, PC 5; LD: 8; Tory 11(?); Labour 15(?)

Scotland (59): Tory: 10, LD: 12, SNP: 12, Labour 25.

England (532 declared): Respect 1(?), English Democrats: 2(?), Green: 6, BNP: 12(?), UKIP: 19, LD: 129, Labour: 150, Tory: 206... and 7 seats for others (e.g. Independent Health Concern and the Christian party) or as further top-up for the larger parties. The one undeclared constituency (delayed due to the death of a candidate) is a safe Tory seat (in 2005, they took over 50% of the vote), so you can probably safely add another Tory to the list to round out the total.

Overall: Tory 228, Labour: 190, LD: 149, UKIP: 20, BNP: 12, SNP: 12, Green: 6, PC: 5, DUP: 5, Sinn Fein: 5, SDLP 3, UUP 3, English Democrats: 2, Alliance: 1, Sylvia Hermon, Respect: 1, Others: all the rest(7 seats?).

In terms of blocs: Centre-right 231; self-described social democrats: 153 (plus Respect, the SNP, Greens, and PC, in most ways - for a total of 178); liberals: 151 (including Sylvia Hermon); right: 20 (plus 5 if you define the rather anomalous DUP as "right", and 2 more if you put the English Democrats in here); neo-fascist: 12; non-sitting: 5 (Sinn Fein).

Not that the monolothic block-votes of 'safe constituencies' would be likely to stay in place under PR, of course: you could expect votes for the lesser parties to increase significantly when there's a chance of them actually meaning something. The SNP and PC, for example, would probably move closer to the levels they hit in local elections.


Personally, I favour the retention of a local connection to MPs, rather than pure PR - so that you +can+ have things like Independent Health Concern unseating a local MP in order to defend their hospital. There's at least the +potential+ for local accountability with the constituency system.

Date: 2010-05-07 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulaidhan.livejournal.com
Of course, for _actual_ proportional representation, the seats themselves should arguably be in proportion to either the votes cast or to the base population or to the registered electorate.

If you go with ~650 seats overall for the UK, then by current population you'd get something like Northern Ireland 19 (currently 18), Wales 32 (currently 40), Scotland 56 (currently 59), England 543 (currently 533).

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