Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

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Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby Boro Boy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:15 pm

I received the following email which some members may like to read:...

"Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event in ERS history: on the 16th October 1968, our former Director Enid Lakeman led the Society's victorious campaign which contributed to the successful defence of fair votes in Ireland.
Inspired by her work, we are striving to create a stronger-than-ever case for electoral reform in the UK – but we need your help.
Our excellent research gets our campaigns noticed by the public, press and MPs. But it relies on your support.
Starting from 2019, we want to hire a Lakeman Fellow (See: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/joi ... ellowship/ ) to help increase our capacity for cutting-edge research and activism at the Electoral Reform Society.
Help us ramp up our research for change
Enid Lakeman worked tirelessly for democratic reform across the UK – that's why we continue to press for change and want to carry on her legacy through the fellowship.
With your support we can make this possible - together, we can build an unstoppable case for reform.
Best wishes,
Jess Garland
Director of Research and Policy,
Electoral Reform Society
"

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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby macliam » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:15 pm

This is an oddity - but shows that reactionary influences exist everywhere :shh:

In the Irish Constitution of 1937, the method of election was fixed as Proportional Representation, Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV). This was quite revolutionary in replacing the First-Past-The-Post system inherited from Britain. However,the majority party, Fianna Fail, proposed to revert to the old system - in the face of possible coalition beween Fine Gael and the Labour Party. The first attempt was in 1959 and was rejected in a referendum. The second (referred here) would have allowed for variable voter-density constituencies and changed elections from PR-STV to FPTP with single-member constituencies. This was again narrowly rejected in a referendum held on 16 October 1968.

To put that in context, best remember that in Northern Ireland there was not even universal suffrage at that time - only ratepayers had the vote......
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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby Boro Boy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:44 pm

macliam wrote:This is an oddity - but shows that reactionary influences exist everywhere :shh:

In the Irish Constitution of 1937, the method of election was fixed as Proportional Representation, Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV). This was quite revolutionary in replacing the First-Past-The-Post system inherited from Britain. However,the majority party, Fianna Fail, proposed to revert to the old system - in the face of possible coalition beween Fine Gael and the Labour Party. The first attempt was in 1959 and was rejected in a referendum. The second (referred here) would have allowed for variable voter-density constituencies and changed elections from PR-STV to FPTP with single-member constituencies. This was again narrowly rejected in a referendum held on 16 October 1968.

To put that in context, best remember that in Northern Ireland there was not even universal suffrage at that time - only ratepayers had the vote......




I know there are so many different version of voting systems other than the first past the post but has the Irish version worked or has it just always caused anomalies and problems? :think:

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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby macliam » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:24 pm

Boro Boy wrote:I know there are so many different version of voting systems other than the first past the post but has the Irish version worked or has it just always caused anomalies and problems? :think:

Hard to say - one thing I heard here was a fear about the "loss" of a local MP under PR, but that didn't seem a problem in the Republic, everyone knew who their TD was. For sure there have been more minority governments and coalitions than in the UK..... which may not have been a bad thing. :eh: Party divisions are different as both traditional "major" parties are centre-right (divisions stem from the Civil War), but Fine Gael has often been in coalition with the Labour Party (centre left). So there have been few outright-majority parties able to pursue party dogma (hence FFs attempt to revert to FPTP) Whilst there's a lot of pi$$ and wind in the Dail, things get done and the Republic has changed hugely in recent years and there are more minority parties in the Dail (SF, Labour, Greens, etc as well as independents), so PR-STV seems to work just fine.

But then, we're talking of a country where the EU has over 90% approval - so despite the oft-quoted second Lisbon referendum, the EU is popular. On that issue, the second referendum was a good example why such a situation may be necessary. In the first referendum Ireland rejected Lisbon 53%-47% over concerns about sovereignty (remind you of anything?) and neutrality. These issues were then negotiated in order for the second referendum to take place - which accepted the treaty 67%-33%.
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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby blythburgh » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:28 am

Thanks to Boro Boy and macliam for very interesting posts.
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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby Boro Boy » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:50 pm

It looks like "First Past the Post" is on its way out in Canada as well: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/is- ... in-canada/

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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby macliam » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:00 pm

blythburgh wrote:Thanks to Boro Boy and macliam for very interesting posts.

No problem. IMO, changes in the Republic have been progressive - particularly given the situation at the time the constitution was written. Few British people know or understand the situation in Ireland after the Anglo-Irish war ended - it was neither a clean break, nor anything likely to engender trust in the British government.

The Irish Republic was created in 1919, after a general election which saw Sinn Féin voted in as the party of government. It was a 32-county republic for the whole of Ireland, but this was during the Anglo-Irish war. In 1921 the treaty to end the Anglo-Irish war created the Irish Free State of 26 counties as a dominion of the British Empire (not a republic) and partitioned off the six northern counties into a new statelet, Northern Ireland. Although the Free State was self-governing, it was still "loyal" to the crown, part of the empire and TDs (Irish MPs) had to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch. So it is easy to see why some saw the treaty as a chance to stop the war and move forward, whilst others saw it as a betrayal of all those who had died for the republic.

Pro-treaty republicans saw the Anglo-Irish treaty as a way to "bank" successes against the British, whilst providing a stepping-stone to a future 32-county republic. Anti-treaty republicans considered the acceptance of partition to be a betrayal of the 32-county republic and the requirement for an oath of allegiance to a "foreign" King totally unacceptable. This division caused both the original Sinn Féin government and the Army of the Republic (the "old" IRA) to split along pro-treaty and anti-treaty lines - and eventually led to a short but bitter Civil War. Fianna Faíl broke away from the original Sinn Féin as a party representing anti-Treaty republicans ("the IRA") whilst pro-treaty republicans (Free Staters) formed Cumann na nGaedheal, which was the party of government 1923-1932. In 1933 Cumann na nGaedheal merged with two smaller parties to form Fine Gael. Fianna Faíl and Fine Gael are still the two main parties in Ireland, with The Labour Party, the Greens, Sinn Féin and a number of independents making up the remainder....

In 1932, Fianna Faíl were elected as the Free State government and their leader, Éamon de Valera, immediately abolished the oath of allegiance and cut many of the strings that still bound Ireland to the UK. In 1937, he introduced a new constitution, which abolished the Free State in favour of a 26-county Republic, and this was accepted by referendum. It took 18 years and two wars after the creation of the republic before Ireland actually ended British dominance of the 26 counties (and there are still those who still pledge allegiance to the 32-county republic).

So, playing the long game is nothing new in Irish politics - which might put Brexit in some context. :mrgreen:
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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby Constantine » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:35 pm

I struggle to see why we need more 'research' into electoral reform. We know what the alternatives to FPTP are. It's just a question of whether the alternatives will produce better or worse outcomes.

Personally I believe that we would end up with a different kind of worse. :)

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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby macliam » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:57 pm

Constantine wrote:I struggle to see why we need more 'research' into electoral reform. We know what the alternatives to FPTP are. It's just a question of whether the alternatives will produce better or worse outcomes.

Personally I believe that we would end up with a different kind of worse. :)

It depends, PR-STV has its faults, but allows independents and smaller parties to gain representation denied them by the FPTP system. IMHO, the disconnect with a "local MP" is largely meaningless in these days of "parachuted" candidates and merely allows the major parties to focus on getting their blue-eyed boys (and girls) elected in safe seats.

However, changes to the system can have unexpected consequences. The president of my local council in Portugal had been elected twice and was very popular and effective. His party suggested he stand for election to Parliament. So he accepted and was added in third place in the party's list of candidates for the area. To do this he had to resign as President and hand on to his deputy, a very young local councillor. In the subsequent election, his party gained two of the seats for the area in a PR vote .... so he was "unlucky". The result was that a popular President (think mayor) lost his job and had no elected role for at least the next 3 years. On the plus side, the young deputy became the youngest president in Portugal and has been very successful.......
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Re: Today marks the 50th anniversary of an important event...

Postby Constantine » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:46 pm

macliam wrote:...
It depends, PR-STV has its faults, but allows independents and smaller parties to gain representation denied them by the FPTP system. IMHO, the disconnect with a "local MP" is largely meaningless in these days of "parachuted" candidates and merely allows the major parties to focus on getting their blue-eyed boys (and girls) elected in safe seats.



That's exactly what I mean, You think that allowing "smaller parties to gain representation" is a 'good thing', many people take the opposite view. Certainly almost every country that has party list PR has a threshold specifically to exclude smaller parties.

Interestingly enough, FPTP has given the Green Party one seat in Parliament. It is almost certain that under both the STV multi-member constituency and party list systems they would have got zilch,

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