2015 UK election & aftermath

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2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 11:30 am UTC

So that happened

As of posting, the tories have 325 seats which, what with sinn feinn not voting and the possibility of the SNP not wanting to press the west lothian question, is a de facto majority. Looks like we're going to get a pure tory government.

If any good can come from this election it'll hopefully be to highlight how shit first past the post is as an electoral system. The SNP won 50% of the scottish vote but ended up with 95% of the seats. This is a particularly dramatic discrepancy, but the trend of the smaller parties being screwed over by the system is true across the country.

A lot of this is because the vote has become a lot less bipartisan but not by enough to get them the seats. Sadly, I'm not sure the proportional result would have been much better (it looks like it would be 239 tories, 198 labour, 82 UKIPpers, 51 lib dems, 31 SNP, 25 greens and some others because of rounding, independents and welsh and northern irish parties). In particular, the UKIP vote was scarily large (although Nigel Farage didn't get in and so will be resigning which is some silver lining.

It does however look like the tory majority will be very small and it's tempting to hope that the opposition parties will be able to block a queen's speech or a supply bill and force another election but the lib dems have spent all their money and the tories are likely to have more left over than labour and, unless there's a big change, it'd be likely to just lead to a bigger tory majority.

It seems that labour mismanaged this election significantly. Labour was far too focussed on not losing seats to other left wing parties (including the fact that they didn't write the vast majority of scotland off as a lost cause straight away) rather than stopping the tories. Because they were so bogged down in attacking the lib dems, they weren't defending against the tory line that it was labour overspending which started the whole recession (which is total bullshit, seeing as the whole thing was a global crisis and sparked off in the states).

Personally, I'm particularly unhappy with this outcome because my local lib dem lost his seat to labour by 599 votes. Huppert was an excellent MP and pretty much the best voice for trans rights in parliament. The local fight was portrayed as between a good MP (the lib dem incumbent) and a good government (labour). We got neither. Now we have a shit government and lost an excellent voice.

Anyway, it seemed appropriate to have a separate thread for this now that there was actual news. Thoughts?
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Fri May 08, 2015 11:52 am UTC

Conservatives now have 326 seats. Enough for an outright majority. It really frustrates me that most of the backlash for the coalition has fallen on the LibDems because it means that we now have a Conservative Government. This could be because the Conservative Government appeared to do everything they said they would while the LibDems didn't appear to keep their promises at all.

I saw Nigel Farage standing down but he did say that it was for the summer and he might consider being the UKIP party leader after the summer. Also 3 party leaders have resigned.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 12:03 pm UTC

And, of the seven seats left, it looks like two will be labour and the rest tory (with a tiny possibility that the lib dems might hold one of them)
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 08, 2015 12:18 pm UTC

I'm barely containing my glee personally

firstly because it shows that there are still a huge number of silent right wingers

secondly because it means we can get to better economic position and opposed to continue to pretend that we aren't functionally borke

thirdly because everyone on facebook is so lefty and I love me a good bit of schadenfreud :)


The liberals are ruined though. One partial period in government has kind of shattered the idea of just being nice working

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Diadem » Fri May 08, 2015 1:07 pm UTC

Coming from a country with a lot more experience in multi-party systems, I'm not surprised that the Tories did better than in the polls. As a rule of thumb, comparing actual results with polls, voters tend to vote more strategically, which helps the established parties. Voters who like party A will say so in the polls, but during actual elections they see a race between B and C, and will vote whichever of the two they prefer. Experienced polling companies know these kind of tendencies, and will try compensate for them when giving their opinion poll results. But you need a lot of historic data to do that, and such data isn't very reliable in a quickly changing landscape.


But most of all this result is of course a scathing indictment of the district system:
Based on 649 of 650 districts reporting:
Conservatives: 11,316,429 votes, 330 seats
Labour: 9,339,818 votes, 232 seats
SNP: 1,454,436 votes, 56 seats
Liberal Democrats: 2,399,866 votes, 8 seats
UKIP: 3,875,409 votes, 1 seat
Green Party: 1,154,562 votes, 0 seats

UKIP got over 1/3rd of the votes conservatives got, but they got 1 seat vs. 330 seats. The Scottish National Party got less than half the votes of the UKIP, only slightly more than the Green Party, and got 56 seats. It is a horrible mess.


The second thing to notice is that The Scottish National Party got 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland. Scotland is now a one party state. I really wonder if the union is going to survive this. I give it less than 50%.

eSOANEM wrote:If any good can come from this election it'll hopefully be to highlight how shit first past the post is as an electoral system. The SNP won 50% of the scottish vote but ended up with 95% of the seats. This is a particularly dramatic discrepancy, but the trend of the smaller parties being screwed over by the system is true across the country.

This has very little to do with first past the post. This is due to having a district system. It's district systems that are shit. The use of first past the post instead of some better system for selecting who wins the district is at most a distant secondary concern.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby HungryHobo » Fri May 08, 2015 1:22 pm UTC

PR still helps. I had to choose between voting for the party closest to my opinions and voting for the party most likely to beat the party I really hate.

I suspect that's a common scenario.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 1:35 pm UTC

No, there are plenty of district systems where the SNP would have got a more sensible proportion of the vote. STV (pretty much my favourite candidate to replace FPTP) would have get it a lot nearer the proportion of the vote. Hell, even AV might have helped because it would have pooled the pro-union labour and lib dem votes.

Alternatively, additional member systems wouldn't have prevented all the scottish seats going to the snp, but would have made that less significant.

Both of these systems would have significant advantages over a pure PR party list (particularly in a country with very regionalised politics, particularly in NI, Scotland and Wales) and would have made the result here more representative (helping the lib dems, greens and, alas, ukip at the expense of the snp, tories and labour).
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 1:46 pm UTC

I'm personally looking forward to Lord Ashdown eating a hat on the Daily Politics show - don't doubt mathematicians m'lord.

Surprised the Tories managed a majority and that Labour did so badly.
Not surprised they were the largest party (status quo).
Not surprised the Lib Dems suffered so - I think it's unfair on them, but I was pretty sure they'd come out of the coalition badly when they went into it five years ago.
Not surprised that UKIP only got one seat.

FPTP is pretty broken. We had the AV referendum several years ago (which would at least be a marginal improvement) but we voted No. It probably confused people...

Still waiting for the result of my constituency, although it's predicted to turn blue this year (like the rest of the county).

Diadem wrote:The second thing to notice is that The Scottish National Party got 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland. Scotland is now a one party state. I really wonder if the union is going to survive this. I give it less than 50%.

Well the Conservatives are likely to point back to 2014 and say "you had your chance and you voted to stay". The "Yes" side (to go independent) was a lot more energetic and that energy does not seem to have dissipated. Likely those that did vote do not think Westminster has made good on the promises they made in the run up to the referendum.
Also worth noting that, with a majority, they don't need to do any deal making with the SNP. On the other hand, Cameron really doesn't want to be the one to see the 400 year old union break.

eSOANEM wrote:It does however look like the tory majority will be very small and it's tempting to hope that the opposition parties will be able to block a queen's speech or a supply bill and force another election but the lib dems have spent all their money and the tories are likely to have more left over than labour and, unless there's a big change, it'd be likely to just lead to a bigger tory majority

330 seats now - sorry, that's not going to happen.
I suspect that even with the exit poll figures (316 - under majority), the Tories would just form a minority government - defeat at the Queen's Speech would require the uniting of almost every other party (Labour + SNP sure, but they would also require DUP, LD, and more).

But with such a small majority the government will be much more vulnerable to backbench rebellions.
The Chief Whip will have his work cut out for him.

I'm interested to see how Labour recover. How long before they can mobilise effectively against the Conservatives again?
This was far from a crushing landslide defeat, but the defying of expectations has dealt them a severe blow.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 2:11 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:
FPTP is pretty broken. We had the AV referendum several years ago (which would at least be a marginal improvement) but we voted No. It probably confused people...


It wasn't that AV confused people. It was that both labour and the tories flat out lied about AV, how it would work, how much it would cost and how complicated it would be. It was also a referendum no-one wanted. The lib dems didn't want AV, I think STV was their preference and lots of the other parties were very much in favour of fptp (because they did quite well out of it).



With the exit poll figure, it would have been possible to defeat a queen's speech depending on on-the-day attendance but would still be very difficult (particularly as the DUP and UKIP wouldn't want to whack it down). With the current figure I agree, it's not going to happen.

Also, what the hell's up with St Ive's? They had said they were going to declare over 10 hours ago.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Diadem » Fri May 08, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:No, there are plenty of district systems where the SNP would have got a more sensible proportion of the vote. STV (pretty much my favourite candidate to replace FPTP) would have get it a lot nearer the proportion of the vote. Hell, even AV might have helped because it would have pooled the pro-union labour and lib dem votes.

I am not saying that having STV or AV wouldn't be better. But it's still a lot like worrying about a lack of life boats after you have hit an iceberg. Yes, not having enough life boats is terrible, and it is definitely something you should fix. And yes, a lack of life boats exacerbates your current problem. But a lack of life boats is not your root problem. Your root problem is the fucking iceberg you just hit. Even if you had enough life boats you'd still be in a huge mess, and no sane ship captain is going to think "Well, we have enough life boats, so no reason to care about hitting icebergs".

Even with STV or AV you don't get near proportional representation. Certainly not in all scenarios.

eSOANEM wrote:Alternatively, additional member systems wouldn't have prevented all the scottish seats going to the snp, but would have made that less significant.

True, having multiple representatives per district is a much better fix. Having 50 districts with 2 seats each is better than having 100 districts with 1 seat each. Even better is 25 district with 4 seats each, and even better than that is 10 districts with 10 seats each. You know what would be best of all? 1 districts with 100 seats each. Better known as "not having districts".

There is something very perverse about having multi seat districts. It's like seeing the iceberg and going "Wellll, let's only hit it at half speed". If you see the problem, recognize the problem, why on earth would you only half fix it?
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:It wasn't that AV confused people. It was that both labour and the tories flat out lied about AV, how it would work, how much it would cost and how complicated it would be. It was also a referendum no-one wanted. The lib dems didn't want AV, I think STV was their preference and lots of the other parties were very much in favour of fptp (because they did quite well out of it).

Well yes, they didn't provide any real arguments against it (of which there are some), they played on fear and uncertainty.
Of course, you tend not to rail against the system that got you into power.

eSOANEM wrote:Also, what the hell's up with St Ive's? They had said they were going to declare over 10 hours ago.

Counting wasn't due to happen until 10 am this morning; the result was never expected to come before this afternoon.
They have to fly ballot boxes in from the Isles of Scilly, I don't know much beyond that.

Edit:
Cornwall is fully Conservative, St Ives giving the Tories seat number 331.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 2:41 pm UTC

Local representation and the ability to choose specific candidates is an important advantage of district systems. This is particularly true in parties with quite big internal splits politically (such as the lib dems who still haven't fully assimilated since the liberal/social-democrat merger or ukip who have the stereotypical ukip voters and also the people who jumped ship from the bnp who tend to be more left wing economically). In my constituency for instance, I voted lib dem. I did this solely because the local candidate was excellent. He voted against most of the worst coalition policies and has written all three of the early day motions solely about trans rights. In a party list system (which is a necessity once the number of members per constituency gets more than about 5/7), he would have been even more likely to be thrown out with the lib dem bathwater than he was.

Party lists have massive disadvantages as well (not as big as those of fptp, but still enormous). A good system is a compromise between ability to choose specific candidates (as opposed to parties) & local representation and proportionality. STV allows you to tune this compromise by changing the number of members per constituency.

Xenomortis wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Also, what the hell's up with St Ive's? They had said they were going to declare over 10 hours ago.

Counting wasn't due to happen until 10 am this morning; the result was never expected to come before this afternoon.
They have to fly ballot boxes in from the Isles of Scilly, I don't know much beyond that.

Edit:
Cornwall is fully Conservative, St Ives giving the Tories seat number 331.


It's not a particular surprise that they were late, or that it was tory. It was mostly that the bbc page for them estimated their declaration as 4am so someone somewhere fucked that up a bit.

Oh well, time for me to draw some pie charts to explain to people on fb why fptp is terrible.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

Well, in a general election people tend to vote for the party you want in government (or make a tactical vote).
I know my vote would be different if there were an immediate by-election, where the advantages of district based representation can shine through.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Fri May 08, 2015 3:03 pm UTC

My SO (being a physics-er) was interested in what the seats per vote for each party was and so we worked them out:

Tory: 2.92 x 10-5, 1 seat = 33400 votes
Labor: 2.48 x 10-5, 1 seat = 40000 votes
SNP: 3.85 x 10-5, 1 seat = 26000 votes
LibDem: 3.33 x 10-6, 1 seat = 300000 votes
UKIP: 2.58 x 10-7, 1 seat = 3880000 votes
Green: 8.66 x 10-7, 1 seat = 1150000 votes

Worth noting that we did it a little while ago before St. Ives declared. In a shock to no one, FPTP did best for SNP and worst for UKIP (also worth noting that I've just worked out the 1 seat = X votes from just doing the reciprocal of the seats/vote so I've only given them 3 sf to keep it all good science, you can look up the correct number of votes for UKIP & Greens easily)
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Diadem » Fri May 08, 2015 3:21 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Local representation and the ability to choose specific candidates is an important advantage of district systems. This is particularly true in parties with quite big internal splits politically (such as the lib dems who still haven't fully assimilated since the liberal/social-democrat merger or ukip who have the stereotypical ukip voters and also the people who jumped ship from the bnp who tend to be more left wing economically). In my constituency for instance, I voted lib dem. I did this solely because the local candidate was excellent. He voted against most of the worst coalition policies and has written all three of the early day motions solely about trans rights. In a party list system (which is a necessity once the number of members per constituency gets more than about 5/7), he would have been even more likely to be thrown out with the lib dem bathwater than he was.

In a party list system you can still elect specific candidates. You can cast preference votes for specific people on the party list. The major difference is that those people will have to campaign nationally for those votes. I don't see that as a bad thing, quite the contrary. And you can still have regional representation through regional parties. The SNP would still get in in a party list. As for local representation, well, why is this a good thing? As far as I can tell it leads to lots of pork, but that's not a good thing. Let's not forget that these are national elections. The elected representatives will be deciding on national issues, not local ones. Deciding what to do with the local roundabout or swimming pool is not something you want to leave to people living on the other side of the nation. Local representation is awesome for that. But those decisions are already made locally. The national parliament isn't and shouldn't be deciding on issues like that.

Anyway, if you absolutely must have districts, go with Mixed-Member Proportional Representation. The system the use in Germany. It's the only district system that makes sense.

But then you still don't get the other advantages of going pure party list: A very simple system, stronger party discipline and representatives that don't need to constantly worry about re-election.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 08, 2015 3:28 pm UTC

Party lists have massive disadvantages as well (not as big as those of fptp, but still enormous). A good system is a compromise between ability to choose specific candidates (as opposed to parties) & local representation and proportionality. STV allows you to tune this compromise by changing the number of members per constituency.

There's another issue here. The UK system gives the winning party a lot of leeway to implement their program. That aids accountability: the winning party promised X, they had the power to do X, did they do X?

Coalitions diffuse responsibility. Party A promised X, they joined a coalition with non-X party B, X didn't happen. Did party A really try to get X but had to compromise, or was it an empty promise? You don't know.

There's a trade-off there as well. Systems like PR or STV give voters more meaningful choice at election time, but less control over what happens after election time.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

Stronger party discipline is not an advantage. Whips are an inherently undemocratic power structure and the extra ease with which parties can whip their members is a big disadvantages to party-list based systems.

MMPR is also far from the only district system which makes sense. I already pointed out STV which, whilst a bit less proportional than MMPR doesn't increase whipability and allows for the specifics of the individual candidates to be considered much more.

Even if you can specify a preference for people on the party list, they don't have the resources to campaign nationally. My incumbent was not a minister and the government and is not well known nationally and there is no way he'd have the resources to campaign nationally to an extent that could get him in. Locally though, he does have the resources to campaign on his personal record and, on a system other than FPTP may well have got in.

Significant backbench MPs like him can only be secure in district systems.

Zamfir wrote:
Party lists have massive disadvantages as well (not as big as those of fptp, but still enormous). A good system is a compromise between ability to choose specific candidates (as opposed to parties) & local representation and proportionality. STV allows you to tune this compromise by changing the number of members per constituency.

There's another issue here. The UK system gives the winning party a lot of leeway to implement their program. That aids accountability: the winning party promised X, they had the power to do X, did they do X?

Coalitions diffuse responsibility. Party A promised X, they joined a coalition with non-X party B, X didn't happen. Did party A really try to get X but had to compromise, or was it an empty promise? You don't know.

There's a trade-off there as well. Systems like PR or STV give voters more meaningful choice at election time, but less control over what happens after election time.


I think most of that is just that the general public doesn't understand coalitions because they're so rare here. In other countries, you may get bickering over who's fault something is, but you're not going to get a situation where the lib dems get given the shaft for everything and the public falls for it all.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 08, 2015 3:46 pm UTC

For all its faults, the good old fashioned district FPTP system is the best of a set of systems each with their own trade offs - Its worked for 300 years

If nothing else, this election shows that the fear vote is powerful - I think there was booth swing of 5% from UKIP to Conservative, largely as a direct consequence of the potential of a Lab - SNP. Add to that the Liberal collapse back in rural remote England and that's that.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 3:50 pm UTC

Ah yes, tradition.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 3:58 pm UTC

leady wrote:For all its faults, the good old fashioned district FPTP system is the best of a set of systems each with their own trade offs - Its worked for 300 years


scotseats.PNG

scotvotes.PNG

pie charts of the vote and seat distributions in scotland

Any system which allows this sort of tyrrany of the majority; where 50% of the vote gives 95% of the seats cannot possibly be described as a "good" system (assuming you want democracy). That sort of tyrrany of the majority is appalling. If it weren't such a serious issue, I'd be laughing at your statement.

(for interest, here are the pie charts for the country as a whole where it's a bit less bad):

fptp.PNG

proportional.PNG
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Quercus » Fri May 08, 2015 4:04 pm UTC

leady wrote:For all its faults, the good old fashioned district FPTP system is the best of a set of systems each with their own trade offs - Its worked for 300 years
(emphasis mine). Come on. You know that's a non-argument. All that something working (for a given value of working) for 300 years tells you is that it's not especially prone to total failure. It doesn't tell you anything about how it performs relative to other systems.

I have mixed feelings about PR, because I kind of like how FPTP tends to keep extreme parties like UKIP out of power, and I'm willing to trade off a certain amount of democracy for that effect, but you have to evaluate these things on their merits, not using spurious appeals to tradition.

Edit: Ninja'd - yeah, that SNP situation is pretty atrocious. I'm not sure I'm willing to trade off that much democracy, even to keep UKIP out.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 08, 2015 4:21 pm UTC

I think with any of other systems you would be putting forward a different point - just as validly (I personally prefer the individual responsibility of the MPs, even if that gets overridden so frequently by party politics). I have no issue with the SNP result

The UK isn't a democracy, its a representative democracy. Hell even the prime minister is supposed to be the first amongst equals in the cabinet rather than a pseudo-president (yeah right).

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Derek » Fri May 08, 2015 5:01 pm UTC

I don't follow UK politics closely, but I thought that SNP would have collapsed after the failure of the independence referendum (it was kind of the entire reason the party existed). Why did they do so well? Is it because Labor and the LibDems split the rest of the Scottish vote?

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Quercus » Fri May 08, 2015 5:10 pm UTC

Derek wrote:I don't follow UK politics closely, but I thought that SNP would have collapsed after the failure of the independence referendum (it was kind of the entire reason the party existed). Why did they do so well? Is it because Labor and the LibDems split the rest of the Scottish vote?


Well it was more of a three way split - the conservatives actually did better than the lib-dems in terms of percentage of the vote, but yeah, essentially.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 5:16 pm UTC

It wasn't so much a "split vote" problem - no more than is typical of constituencies.
The swing to SNP was huge in the seats I saw (~2:30 AM) - either taking from Lib Dem or from Labour.

Scottish nationalism surged in the aftermath of the referendum.
The 45% that voted "Yes" really wanted it, and that 45% don't appear to have given up.
It seems there's a real dislike for Westminster in Scotland right now and the SNP votes reflect that.

They're pretty left-wing and their policies likely have good support; they're very much anti-austerity, unlike the main-stream parties, anti-Trident (the UK's nuclear deterrent is based in Scotland).
I don't know anything more; my constituency is as far away from Scotland as you can get in the UK.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Quercus » Fri May 08, 2015 5:29 pm UTC

Ah okay. Sorry for my inaccurate portrayal of the situation - I should know better than to put too much weight on what I half-hear on the BBC when I'm barely awake in the morning.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Fri May 08, 2015 5:44 pm UTC

One of the big reasons I heard that Labour did so badly was that the Conservatives did a good job of scaring everyone into believing that Labour would have to form a coalition with the SNP.

Given that the SNP actually has a bunch of policies that I don't mind, I would have been fine with that. I was also hoping that if the SNP and Labour got into a coalition, the Scottish people wouldn't want to leave the UK because they felt that they had more of a stake in Westminster and that they would feel like their voices were being heard.

The Conservative party being voted in just makes me think that the Scotland/England split is just going to get wider. & I don't want a good portion of our liberal-voting people to decide that there's no reason to hang around with the right-wingers 'round these parts.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 6:00 pm UTC

The SNP have so many great policies. So do Plaid. I really wish there was a good equivalent in England. Instead we have the greens and their anti-science bias.

The main issue with an SNP coalition would have been that it would either have only been a majority on national issues or it would have forced the west lothian question. It would either be weak or seen as illegitimate.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Diadem » Fri May 08, 2015 6:37 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Stronger party discipline is not an advantage. Whips are an inherently undemocratic power structure and the extra ease with which parties can whip their members is a big disadvantages to party-list based systems.

What? You have utterly lost me there. How do you make that work? I really can't figure out how your mind works here. Pork in bills is such an obviously bad thing. And if I look at how much trouble leaders in the US or UK or other district systems have in just getting their own party along... How can anyone call that a good thing?

In party list systems, representatives can also go against the party line. But they will quickly become extremely impopular with both the rest of their party and the electorate if they do so often, UNLESS a significant part of their electorate agrees with them. And that is precisely the only situation in which you want representatives to go against the party line.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Derek » Fri May 08, 2015 7:08 pm UTC

In the standard party-list proportional voting system, you are effectively voting for the party leader. The rest of the MPs are just there to raise their hands according to what the party leader has said during votes. You could remove all of these MPs and just give each party leader a proportional weight of the vote and you'd basically have the same thing. That's not a very good system imo.

Politicians should be answerable to their constituents first and for most, not their party leaders. And if a politician disagrees with his party line on an issue, and knows that his constituents support him, he should not feel pressured to toe the party line anyways.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Angua » Fri May 08, 2015 7:16 pm UTC

My housemate said that other than Scotland splitting off, the SNP and labour policies are pretty indistinguishable.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Tirian » Fri May 08, 2015 7:47 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:(for interest, here are the pie charts for the country as a whole where it's a bit less bad):

fptp.PNG

proportional.PNG


So the Conservative Party gets a unity government despite only being the choice of 1/3 of voters? That's a failure of democracy* that will actually have an impact on the nation and the world. From the perspective of the other 66% of voters (including probably everyone in Scotland), that's quite a bit worse.

* I agree with the above posters that "failures of democracy" is one of the selling points of republics, which include the UK and every other nation that claims to be a democracy.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Fri May 08, 2015 8:17 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:So the Conservative Party gets a unity government despite only being the choice of 1/3 of voters? ... From the perspective of the other 66% of voters (including probably everyone in Scotland), that's quite a bit worse.

Standard course.
In 2005, Labour got less of the vote than the Tories got this year (35.2% vs 36.9%) but got more seats (355 vs 321).
(And in 2005, the Tories only got 198 seats with 32.4%).
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Fri May 08, 2015 9:30 pm UTC

Sorry, re posted from the rant thread, but....

OK, I’ll admit I’m doing this here because as a senior UK civil servant I’m not allowed to do this in my own name, but what a cluster fuck. I apologise if your political proclivities don’t match with mine but I need to sound off somewhere. I mean, we all knew in our souls that the Tories had been handed this four years ago when the unions voted in poor little Ed and the Lib Dems decided that in return for power they would stand up for nothing that made any sense, but arse biscuits.

And, WTAF are you doing, Scotland? I listened to Alex Salmon announce on the Today programme that “a Westminster government can’t ride roughshod over the will of the Scottish people”. Well, I hate to piss on your parade Scotland, but they can. That’s first past the post democracy, the Tories have a workable majority, you are the third party and they can do whatever they damn well like. You are destined to five years of waving ballot papers, shaking your heads and making childish noises from the opposition benches. Have fun with that.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 08, 2015 11:49 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Stronger party discipline is not an advantage. Whips are an inherently undemocratic power structure and the extra ease with which parties can whip their members is a big disadvantages to party-list based systems.

What? You have utterly lost me there. How do you make that work? I really can't figure out how your mind works here. Pork in bills is such an obviously bad thing. And if I look at how much trouble leaders in the US or UK or other district systems have in just getting their own party along... How can anyone call that a good thing?

In party list systems, representatives can also go against the party line. But they will quickly become extremely impopular with both the rest of their party and the electorate if they do so often, UNLESS a significant part of their electorate agrees with them. And that is precisely the only situation in which you want representatives to go against the party line.


Whips are when the party tells the representative how to vote. The representative is the person who was elected, not the party. You have someone other than the elected representative telling that rep how to vote. I'm not sure how to explain how that's inherently undemocratic because it is so obvious.

Angua wrote:My housemate said that other than Scotland splitting off, the SNP and labour policies are pretty indistinguishable.


Your housemate is wrong. SNP are way more left wing. For one thing, they're explicitly anti-austerity whereas labour are pro-austerity, just slower austerity than labour.

Tirian wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:(for interest, here are the pie charts for the country as a whole where it's a bit less bad):

The attachment fptp.PNG is no longer available

The attachment proportional.PNG is no longer available


So the Conservative Party gets a unity government despite only being the choice of 1/3 of voters? That's a failure of democracy* that will actually have an impact on the nation and the world. From the perspective of the other 66% of voters (including probably everyone in Scotland), that's quite a bit worse.


Looking at the proportions of the vote, chances are that whatever system were used, Cameron would be staying in downing street. The only think that would change is how much propping up he'd need (he'd probably need UKIP in more proportional systems).

Here are some other pie charts showing the potential for coalitions (I've lumped the tories, ukip and dup together as well as lumping labour, the sdlp and greens together; I've also left the lib dems unmerged because they'd be able to go both ways and have marked the left-wing nationalists (SNP and plaid) in yellow with all other parties in black)

coalitionseats.PNG

coalitionvotes.PNG


So yeah, the tories being in government isn't a failure of the system (not that I'm happy with it). What is a failure of the system is the way the small parties have no representation and the way the snp managed to gain so much.

The fact that I needed to plot this graph on a log scale to even begin to see any of the data, is the failing of the system:

votes per seat.PNG

This chart shows the vote share per seat won for the various different parties, it has a vertical log scale and parties with taller bars have done worse out of the first past the post system than those with shorter (or deeper negative bars. In a proportional system, the bars would (almost) all be (about) the same height.

Edit: graph updated so that it's normalised to have proportionality at 0 on the vertical scale (uniform vertical shifts aren't meaningful).
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Thesh » Sat May 09, 2015 1:09 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Stronger party discipline is not an advantage. Whips are an inherently undemocratic power structure and the extra ease with which parties can whip their members is a big disadvantages to party-list based systems.

What? You have utterly lost me there. How do you make that work? I really can't figure out how your mind works here. Pork in bills is such an obviously bad thing. And if I look at how much trouble leaders in the US or UK or other district systems have in just getting their own party along... How can anyone call that a good thing?


Parties are uniform, people aren't. That's why, purely in terms of proportionality, the best system in practice is sortition. Parties tend to be elected based on various trade offs; for example, let's say 55% of the voters are really concerned today about issues A and B, but less concerned with C; they are pro-A and pro-B, but anti-C. Now, you have four parties:

1) Pro-A, Pro-B, Pro-C
2) Anti-A, Pro-B, Anti-C
3) Pro-A, Anti-B, Anti-C
4) Anti-A, Anti-B, Pro-C

Now, because A and B are the most important issues to that 55% of the population, they vote for party 1. Party 1 takes office, and get all of their pro-A, pro-B, and pro-C bills passed, despite at least a majority of the population being anti-C. If you didn't have strict adherence to the parties, even though party 1 tends to be pro-C and have the majority, they might not have had enough pro-C representatives to actually pass those bills.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Sat May 09, 2015 10:38 pm UTC

And, unsurprisingly there's been a protest (I'd been invited to half a dozen events since the exit polls were announced).

As ever, people are more annoyed at the fact it was a war memorial that was graffiti'd than anything else about it.

These protests annoy me though. Since we knew the Tories had a majority, people have been commenting on the events saying that the Tories did win a legit election. Lots of people have been blaming this result on FPTP which, quite frankly is absurd. Other people have blamed left wing vote splitting, this is also ridiculous. Tory-UKIP-DUP got over 50% of the vote and the Tories got more votes than anyone else. Cameron is definitely the legitimate prime minister (even if the government and election system are not).

My issue is, all these protests seem to just be expressions of anger at the results of the election and not about the problems with FPTP. I'm worried this is because of how well UKIP would have done in FPTP and that these people haven't been clamouring for more proportional systems because they think it's a good thing but just because they think it would have helped the lib dems and greens.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby HungryHobo » Sun May 10, 2015 9:46 pm UTC

Yep, I agree, they won completely fairly: i still think FPTP is a crap system but the part that would have benefitted most from something more representitive is UKIP.

I really was hoping that no matter who got it it would be a coalition because coalitions, particularly between parties from opposite ends of the spectrum tend to be less bad: no one party gets to do absolutely everything it wants and they have to negotiate and get to blunt the excesses of the bigger party.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Sun May 10, 2015 10:26 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:I really was hoping that no matter who got it it would be a coalition because coalitions, particularly between parties from opposite ends of the spectrum tend to be less bad: no one party gets to do absolutely everything it wants and they have to negotiate and get to blunt the excesses of the bigger party.

Coalition politics in the UK is dead. The electorate simply isn't mature enough to handle it. The Libdems did the right thing: They formed a stable government and compromised over their manifesto because, hey, in a coalition noone gets all the policies they want almost by definition. The immature thing would have been for the junior partner to throw a hissy fit and hold the government to ransom every time they didn't get what they wanted, but they didn't do that.

And the UK electorate absolutely CRUCIFIED them for it with unprecedented swings of 25%+ away.

The Libdems stood on a platform of 'giving a brain to the Labour party and giving a heart to the Tories', and, guess what, I think they would have done pretty well at both. I think they would have moderated the weaknesses of both the major parties, and think that, for example, the threshold for the poor to start paying tax would never have gone up as much in the last parliament without their influence.

As their reward they have been all but wiped out, will probably never be a party of government again, and have ensured no minor party will dare engage in grown-up, cross-party, non-partisan, non-ideological cooperation ever again...

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Sun May 10, 2015 10:48 pm UTC

I don't disagree with the precept of your argument. I'll declare I was, and am by nature, a card carrying member of the Labour Party but the libdems did a good thing, the right thing and a brave thing by going into coalition with the Tories. The Tories did not win the previous election but Brown sure as hell lost it, so Libdems saved representative governance by forming a coalition. I genuinely hope and believe that this decision was not the reason why they have now been written out of British politics for the next 20+ years.

I believe that is down to the fact that when they were in position to moderate or influence the Tories it turned out they never ran the risk on anything that actually mattered to the electorate. Student fees, top-down privatisation of NHS, bedroom tax, exploiting disabled workers through ATOS reviews, "free" schools, destruction of local services and collapse of public service in the name of "austerity", libdems sat by. Proportional representation and an elected, party political House of Lords - suddenly they grow some balls.

They were right to go into coalition to moderate issues that actually mattered. Unfortunately they had no idea what issues actually matter to real people, beyond the Westminster pleasuredome.
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