The Kerley report on Scottish local democracy

(recommended the Single Transferable Vote: STV)

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Professional status of councillors ( and other representatives. )

Scottish ministers appointed a working group of ten, chaired by Richard Kerley, on the renewing of local democracy in Scotland. After one year's consultation and study, their report came out in june 2000.

Most of their document is concerned with diversely recruiting, adequately paying, and specially training councillors, and giving professional recognition to the qualifications they may gain.
This is as well as the modern technological and administrative support they need, making representation efficient enough to be part-time, and often allow some continuation of private sector employment.
Thus, a term, or few, of being a councillor can enhance, instead of disrupt one's occupational life.

In this way, the Kerley report would reconcile people, seeking public office, to not being guaranteed a political career, because they occupy positions only for a term at a time, on sufferance of the electorate.
All levels of government should adopt the approach of this report, in promoting representatives' professional qualifications, not dependent on a life in politics. Politicians should not need to burn their boats, vocationally, and then hold onto power at all costs.

Political careerism has been made possible by voting systems that render ineffective many voters' choices of rival candidates. This may give 'the political class' a job for life but it also makes the voters' role largely redundant.
The working group was asked what voting system would best re-new democracy. The following comments are concerned with this part of their work.

Proportional partisanship in practise.

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The Kerley report recommended the single transferable vote ( STV ) for elections to Scottish councils. There were three dissenting voices in the working goup of ten.
Examining the arguments of the dissenters may show how well founded were their objections.
The MSP supported the arguments of the MP, who said:

I have reached the conclusion that an effective balance cannot be reached between a requirement for proportionality and at the same time maintaining the councillor-ward link.

The third dissenter dissented with the other two, in believing this 'balance' could be achieved. But Cllr Daphne Sleigh believed that the Additional Member System ( AMS ) the best PR system to achieve it.

Both the MP, Sandra Osborne, and Cllr Sleigh assumed AMS to be more proportional than STV. The latter says:

unlike STV, the number of seats won by the parties is decided by the percentage of votes they receive. This is what voters expect to happen to their votes.

As to what people expect of a proportional system, perhaps the most revealing sentence in the Kerley report was given in Osborne's dissenting remarks:

We have all seen the public confusion and duplication resulting from the existence of List MSPs alongside Constituency MSPs.

Whereas, the main body of the Kerley report notes that local multi-member constituencies, that STV would need, were used in Scotland before 1975 and are still used in urban England, without noticable problems.

Research showed that the German people largely dont understand the Additional Member System. AMS came about, there, by accident rather than design, and is not a consistent system.

In this respect, the Kerley report thoughtfully explains why additional members dont really complement the single members' roles:

AMS in effect produces two types of member - ward members and wider-area members - and we have some concerns about the implications of this for the political dynamic of the council. In many councils, it would be likely, under AMS, that the ward members would be members of the ruling political party (this party having attracted most votes), while the wider-area members would generally be drawn from the opposition parties. We consider that this polarisation might have two effects: firstly, that it could lead to competition among ward and wider-area councillors that was motivated by political, rather than community, consideration; and, secondly, that it could lead to an inappropriate distribution of responsibilities across the council whereby members of the ruling group, who would be likely to have more significant organisational responsibilities, might also be expected to have the heaviest constituency caseload. The converse would be that the wider-area members would be less able to represent their constituents because the link with them would be weaker, and because such members would have a less influential role on the council.

Whatever voters, or even councillors like Sleigh, expect may not be what they want to happen with their votes. In 1997, the Labour government imposed a party list system for British Euro-elections. This is exactly the kind of list system, where people can only vote for a party, that is used to give smaller parties more seats, as additional members, in the Scottish parliament.

On BBC Panorama, a Labour council leader sounded as if she was apologising, when she said: We dont have much power in the Labour party. She didnt want this proportional system that gave the voters no individual choice of representatives.

It follows that nearly half the Scottish parliament, appointed by the parties as additional members have no claim to be there as representatives of the people. As individuals, List MSPs have no democratic legitimacy, under the additional member system.

Moreover, the party proportional principle does not represent a code of practise. Virtually every use of party list systems has its own arbitrary variations. They cannot decide whether to deny all individual choice - 'closed lists' - or allow some secondary ( crippled ) choice of individual candidates - 'open lists'.

AMS turns the question, of how proportional the system is to be, into how many additional members should there be. On this, there is every sign of disagreement in Britain and the world.

In 1966, the grand alliance of West Germany's two main parties was formed to get rid of all additional members.
Likewise, the complete removal of party lists almost happened in Italy, 1999, but for the 50% turn-out threshold being missed by the narrowest of margins ( 0.4% ).
( Not to mention that France went back on party list systems, once more. )

In New Zealand, the National party found widespread support for holding another referendum: 68% according to an opinion poll, less than two years after the first AMS election in 1993.
AMS was likened to a 'tail wags the dog' system: as in the German federal republic, a small party decided the coalition.
( See foot-note 1, to my second web page on the Kerley report. )

In 2000, Japan has reduced its additional members from 200 to 180, out of 480 instead of 500 seats. The real reason, it is alleged, was to reduce the influence of the communists, who increased from 2 to 24 seats with AMS.

In Britain, the story is the same. Scotland's MSPs amount to nearly half. In the Welsh assembly, they are a third. Whereas, the Jenkins commission could not even make its own mind up between 15% to 20% of additional or 'top-up' MPs.

From party proportionality to self-representation.

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Some direct democrats think self-representation is the only true democracy, not needing corruptible mediation by elected representatives. Such purely direct democrats have a kinship with party-proportional reformers, who really dont believe in representative democracy, either. The elections they advocate are actually referendums on manifestos.

The manifesto is a whole program of legislation, a list of reforms, resembling party lists of candidates, that the voters have to take or leave, as a package. The corporatist mentality of the manifesto prepared the way for the corporatism of party list systems.

List candidates are reduced, from representatives, to party bureaucracies, which come to power, to put the winning manifesto into effect. In the 1970s and '80s, the British Labour party had this idea of 'party democracy', to reduce Labour representatives to delegates of left-wing party conference manifesto decisions.

Purely direct democracy wouldnt be all that different. In removing representatives, that leaves officials, or the unelected, to implement referendums or initiatives.

Proportional partisanship, carried to its ultimate, is the direct democracy of self-representation, in which everyone is their own partisan.
The more dogmatic supporters, of both, would have us believe they make representative democracy redundant.

Mirabeau said that representation was like a map of the whole nation.
The logician Charles Dodgson ( children's author Lewis Carroll ) pointed out that road maps may be drawn to different scales. All the roads on the map may be one-thousandth the length of the real roads. Or, the scale of the map might be one-hundredth or one-tenth the size of the roadways.

Ultimately, the scale might be one-oneth. In other words, the actual road system is a map of itself. Just like a scaled-down map, the country has its towns and roads named, with measured distances. The nature of the terrain, kinds of bridges, or whatever may also be shown on road signs, just as on maps.

Maps go out of date. They can be badly measured or drawn up. Much the same can be said about legislation. But that is not an argument for abolishing the legislators. A belief, purely in direct democracy, as distinct from representative democracy, is like holding that the map of itself is best, and the country doesnt need ( Scaled down ) maps.

Actually, self-representation, or direct democracy, and representative democracy complement each other. Whereas, partisan elections, using a list count, exclude representation, representative elections do not exclude partisanship.

Proportional partisanship, ultimately everyone a partisan of oneself, measures, like maps, to different scales. Partisanship is a matter of degree. The partisans of established parties assume there is only one scale of political map, in which the only features of importance are themselves. The country may change or need to be changed but they only see their out-dated and unreliable plan of it.

Proportional partisanship in principle.

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With AMS, the party proportional principle is shown to be arbitrary in practise, as it can also be shown to be, as a principle.

The assumption that you can have some purely proportional system, that perfectly represents the support for each group in society, is an illusion. The more seats there are to share out between parties, the easier it becomes for more and more differentiated groups, or distinct new parties, to take them.

The size of Scottish councils was one of the remits for the Kerley committee. There is no incontrovertible number of parties. Proportional partisanship irrationally assumes an absolute loyalty of the voters to an essentially accidental number of parties, contingent on the number of seats.

Labour's right and left wings have each in turn tried to capture the party for themselves, with this kind of intolerance. ( To say nothing of the Tories becoming a right wing ghetto. )

The logic of party proportionality is that ultimately everyone becomes an individual party representing themselves. You might describe that as 100% proportionality.

Party proportional systems give 'PR' between a given number of parties, depending on how many seats are up for grabs. The share-out of seats between this arbitrary number of parties can be made almost exactly in proportion to votes, made to count for parties, rather than individuals.

But it depends on the dogma of the X-vote as an all-or-nothing choice between party lines. Whereas, the preference vote also allows the expression of degrees of loyalty. After all, in the House of Commons, the government benches are faced by the 'loyal opposition'.

Party list systems, as purely proportional as you want to make them, are an authoritarian presumption. They achieve their result by assigning the public a vote, in which the choice is already made for them, as a vote for a party. This is whether or not they are allowed to place that vote by an individual candidate.

The proportional count in party list systems, including lists of additional members, is achieved by divisor methods, such as the d'Hondt rule. Many other divisor rules are used, or proposed, mainly to affect the election in favor of large parties, or small parties, or neither.
But there is no agreement on a single divisor method for all party list systems. Indeed, none of them afford an intuitive understanding of proportional counting.

The single transferable vote, often lumped with list systems as 'PR', is completely different. In contrast, STV has one agreed method of proportional count, the Droop quota. And it is an intuitive rationalisation of simple majority counting.

It's been suggested that the Hare quota be used, instead of the Droop quota, for STV, assuming this would give 100% PR. But for true elections, this is not possible. In the first place, the Droop quota requires over half the votes to be won for election to a single seat.
( The Droop quota, essentially, is total votes, divided by number of seats plus one. )

The Hare quota requires all the votes to be won by some candidate to take a single member constituency. ( The Hare quota is simply the total votes divided by the number of seats. ) That only happened in the admitted farce of one-party dictatorships.

In a two-member constituency, the Hare quota still makes it very difficult for the voters to choose-out or elect candidates. Because, two candidates would each need half of the votes to take both seats.

With the Droop quota, two candidates only need just over a third the votes each, to be clearly prefered by the voters to any other candidates.
Thus, the Droop quota allows democratic preference that the Hare quota may be too high for.
And this is the key to the democratic objection to divisor methods used by party lists. They are concerned with the delusion of an absolute equality, or ideal proportionality, between a contingent number of parties. They exclude the voters' freedom to prefer candidates.
Tho, choosing-out must leave out a marginal proportion of voters, for the least prefered candidates, unrepresented.

The Kerley report recommends STV with an average of 4 seats per constituency for Scottish councils. This means a PR of 80%, based on popular preference. This is not some proportional partisanship, unscientifically presumed on the whole electorate, that allows a coterie of parties to share out seats between them, accordingly, and still called 'PR' because it sounds better.

Democracy is about freedom, as well as equality. And the failure of party proportional methods, to realise this in practise, is the source of the trouble with party list systems and their hybrids.

Parties, as the report points out, are only a small proportion of the population. And an elitist conception of politics is at odds with the report's remit to make local government relevant to the widest cross-section of the community.


The councillor-ward link.

The Kerley committee's terms dont mention the need to reconcile freedom with equality. However, Sandra Osborne MP takes STV to task in terms of an alleged dilemma between the councillor-ward link and proportionality:

I reach the same conclusion as the other members of the Group on the outcomes of STV i.e. with smaller multi member wards some form of councillor-ward link is maintained but they fail to deliver proportionality while larger multi member wards come closer to achieving proportionality but the councillor-ward link is lost.

This does not do justice to the majority view in the Kerley report, quoting the McIntosh report:

Nevertheless we think there could also be advantages which could more than compensate, and would be in the interests of constituents themselves. If each ward is represented not by one councillor but by several there is a better chance that the various members will themselves represent the spectrum of opinion within the ward - that after all is the purpose of the system - and a better chance that any constituent will be able to make contact with at least one member with whom they feel sympathy and confidence. From this point of view, the multi-member ward can be considered to be an improvement in representation for individual constituents.

As the Kerley report says:

The overarching purpose of the group has been to consider the renewal of local democracy. Democracy, by its very definition, is a matter that involves the whole population. We are concerned that a significant proportion of the population appears to take little part in the democratic process. Although voting in local elections is not the only way for people to engage in the democratic process, it is of concern that fewer than 6 in 10 electors voted in the local elections in May 1999. We believe that local government is of real importance to the Scottish people and we believe that there is an important job to be done in building connections between the people and the council, and in informing people about local democracy.

It is not enough that the 'councillor-ward link' should represent only the largest faction. The rest, often a majority, have no representative link with a councillor, who monopolises their constituency of interests.

The first elected Scottish parliament, with constituencies making way for additional members, would outdo, if possible, exclusive British general elections. For instance, all 10 Glasgow, and all 9 West Scotland constituencies went to Labour. 8 out of 9 Central Scotland constituencies went to Labour, instead of all 9, merely because Dennis Canavan's constituency Labour party wasnt the brand in fashion with the Labour hierarchy. Labour also took 8 out of 9 constituencies in both Lothian and South Scotland. These areas' Additional Members were made up from the lists of other parties.

The term 'link', in which the dissenting MP, and her MSP supporter mean it, is no more than a euphemism for 'monopoly'. And, in that sense, Sandra Osborne MP is right in her belief ( quoted above ) that an 'effective balance' cannot be reached between this link and proportionality.

This is simply because single member monopolies cannot be reconciled with multi-member proportions of the vote: hogging cannot be reconciled with sharing.
By the way, the illogical attempt to do this is precisely the fallacy of additional member systems. This inconsistency of AMS only leads to further anomalies or injustices in the systems that are worked-out on this basis.

Moreover, the second time that Japanese general elections used an additional member system, the 63% turn-out was the second lowest in their history - scarcely higher than for Scottish local government.
Turn-out cannot be encouraged by safe seats, which remain a feature of Japanese AMS elections, as they always have been of the British system. To quote The Daily Telegraph ( 26 June 2000 ):

Many LDP constituencies are virtual fiefdoms, where voters repeatedly re-elect the same MP for his ability to bring public works to the region. When the MP retires, the seat is usually passed to a relative or an aide.

Yuko Obuchi, 26, the daughter of the late prime minister, was yesterday returned with more than 70 per cent of the vote in the rural constituency she inherited from him.

To renew democracy, as the Kerley group positively sets out to do, means that hogging must give way to sharing representation. Tho, the sharing must be genuinely representative, which party lists are not.

The alternative vote.

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Having made the right recommendation of STV, the Kerley report is further to be commended for avoiding any single member constituencies. The report says a range of from 3 to 5 member constituencies would be flexible enough to follow the natural boundaries of most Scottish local communities. And a few 2 member constituencies should not be too large for the most sparse populations.
These latter would guarantee a PR of two-thirds. In a single member constituency, even the alternative vote would only guarantee half the constituency represented.

Sandra Osborne MP believes this means AV qualifies highly on 'making votes count'. But plainly AV qualifies equally highly on not making votes count.

It is true that an alternative vote prevents minority candidates winning on a split vote in a single member constituency. But the single member system is not proportionally representative. And the absence of split voting may chance to make the general election result even less proportional, rather than more proportional. ( See Enid Lakeman, 'How Democracies Vote', chapter III. )

The British PM, Tony Blair or rather his close ministerial ally Peter Mandelson allegedly support the alternative vote. This Australian form of general elections falls back on a system thought by analysts to bind the splits of the left in Labor's favor.

The Jenkins commission wanted the alternative vote, plus an imprecise top-up of the small party bosses candidates. Without that caucus complication, AV is still deeply flawed.

As electoral expert, David Butler pointed out to the Jenkins commission, the alternative vote is arbitrary. Even one voter, changing between two losing candidates ( neck and neck ), can change which candidate's second preferences are re-distributed, and give a disproportionately different complexion to the final result, including a different winner.

Also, Churchill's famous remark, about the alternative vote, will always stick: the worst votes for the worst candidates. The worst candidates are those with the fewest first preferences and yet their second preferences are the ones deciding which leading candidate qualifies as having an over-all majority.

And Roy Jenkins' notorious remark in favor of the alternative vote cannot be defended with justice. He said words to the effect that people must often take second or third best in life, in jobs, housing and one's wife, and there is no reason why this should not be so in the electoral system.

Jenkins' contention is grossly misleading. The point of the single transferable vote, STV ( which uses a proportional count of a preference vote ) is that a large majority of voters in a multi-member constituency are ensured their first preferences are elected.

Even in quite small Irish multi-member constituencies of three or four seats, some two-thirds of the representatives will be elected by first preferences, and nearly all the rest by second or high preferences. So, it's fair to say that something in the order of twice as many voters will have their first preferences elected, using STV compared to AV.

STV is the more impressive as its first preferences are in relation to a much greater choice of candidates, including of the same parties. Usually, with AV, each candidate has a monopoly of his party's candidature.


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Independents are discriminated against, by party list systems, because only party candidates on a list can benefit from votes going to other candidates on that list, indeed to the whole list.

STV is the only PR system that is fair to independents. With STV, independents can benefit from the transfer of votes, equally with party candidates, because the proportional count is of an order of choice for any candidates in the constituency. STV is democratic choice by a preference vote - not oligarchic choice by party bosses order of candidates on party lists.

Surprisingly, the Kerley committee failed to make this important point, for its remit, which included 'fair provision for independents'. Had they appreciated this, Cllr Sleigh could not have merely asserted, as she did, without being corrected, that AMS 'Gives a fairer provision for independents.'
Tell that to Tsutsui Nobutaka! ( See foot-note 2. )

Dennis Canavan was elected to a single district, as an independent, for the Scottish parliament. But that only shows that AMS gives more scope to independents than a purely party list system would.
It gives rather less scope than a purely single member system. That is because, with AMS, the number of single members have to be reduced to make room for the additional list members. With AMS, the fewer and therefore larger single member constituencies are easier for the largest party to win. Even the next largest party will be hard put to show against the typical result. ( This was shown most dramatically in former British single member Euro-elections. ) The independent has least chance of all.

Single members, even more so, AMS's fewer single members, are a most independent-unfriendly system. Successful independents are rare and generally have been already elected MPs deselected by the local caucus. They are really would-be party candidates cum forced independents. With enough publicity and a scandalised electorate, in their favor, and if the seat is safe enough to split their party's vote without letting in another party... well, one can see why these party rebels - much less real independents - rarely succeed, and then usually not for long.

The single member constituency lets the caucus monopolise their party's candidature. Long-standing left-wingers, like Dennis Canavan and Ken Livingstone had every right to be Labour candidates. But right-wing New Labour used AMS to officially exclude Canavan as the one Labour candidate for a single seat.
The public learned Canavan had been shabbily treated. But the deeper moral was that a monopolistic electoral system made it possible, despite the claims that an additional member system is a sharing system, of 'PR'.

STV could have been used as a primary election for all Londoners to prefer a choice of candidates, including those of the same party, for mayor - and deputy mayor.

The university constituencies, of usually two seats ( exceptionally three ) elected to the Commons by STV, did foster distinguished independents.
( The independent MP, A P Herbert is refered to, in foot-note 3. )


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The value of the Kerley report is its positive approach to improving democracy in Scottish local government. It recognises that in a genuine democracy, representatives cannot expect to have a job for life. So, ways to qualify councillors for their careers outside, as well as inside, politics are considered.
That bargain, to encourage people of all back-grounds to public service, implies that the voters should have an electoral system that actually does 'choose-out' the most prefered candidates.
Tho, it is not clear that the Kerley report recommends the single transferable vote for that essential reason.

And the report makes a serious error ( paragraph 91 ) in assuming that all proportional elections are framed with a view to parties and are irrelevant to an election all of independents. Millions of people, using STV, are proportionally represented, in all their prefered social characteristics, on professional bodies, and so forth. And they are generally independent of political parties.

Party list systems, including of additional members, give a monopoly of the proportional count to just one social group, political parties, and a monopoly of the preference vote to the party bosses who draw up the lists ( whether or not some 'openness' of individual choice is left the voter with the ineffective X-vote for the purpose ).
Whereas, STV is the proportional count of preference voting, conducted democratically.

Consequently, the Kerley committee's belief ( para. 95 ), that there is little to choose between STV and AMS on fairness to independents, is badly wrong.
The Isle of Man sought electoral reform that would not adversely affect independents. For this reason, David Butler's commission recommended STV.

Likewise, putting AMS on a par with STV, for natural boundary-drawing ( para. 93 ), does not stand up. AMS single member constituencies are fewer and larger, than for a purely single member system. But the single-member system part of AMS is still the most inflexible type of constituency system. The smallest unit of constituency is required to fit every conceivable shape and size of natural community.
On the report's own limited reasoning by scale, at this point, the Scottish parliament's AMS constituencies must be comparably contentious, for boundary drawing, as single member Commons constituencies.

On the whole, the Kerley report ( June 2000 ) is a competant piece of work, in so far as I am competant to so judge it. With regard to electoral method, it is a mix of acute and obtuse understanding.
( Chapter 5 para. 81, on AMS, is one of the most insightful passages, as well as the quotation from the McIntosh report on 'Councillor and ward.' )

It has taken since the 1973 Royal Commission on the Constitution, chaired by Lord Kilbrandon ( another Scot ), for a further official report to recommend the democratic voting method.
The worst thing that the Scottish parliament could do would be to put aside the electoral recommendations of the Kerley report, the only sign of sanity ( as H G Wells would characterise STV vs the rest ) amidst the British mainland's complete chaos of bad voting systems.

Foot-note 1: back-lash against AMS in New Zealand.

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In august 1998, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Mrs Jenny Shipley supported another referendum to question the wisdom of the one in 1993 that backed mixed-member proportional representation with 54% of the vote.

As reported by the London Telegraph: 'The voting method, introduced in a general election less than two years ago, has not proved popular. A recent opinion poll showed 68 per cent of electors favoured an early vote to change the system...'

'It is a very important issue,' ( Mrs Shipley ) said. 'A lot of New Zealanders are asking, Have we got it right?'

'The 1996 election produced no clear winner. Two months of political horse-trading resulted in the minority New Zealand First Party holding the balance of power. In many voters' eyes, New Zealand First, which had won only 13 per cent of the vote, became a tail wagging the National Party dog.'

But nothing else was on offer other than a return to first-past-the-post or a supplementary member system. So, it is perhaps not surprising that the discussed change, led by the Speaker, appears to have come to nothing.
Not to mention that the incumbents in parliament owe their presence there to the system they are talking about replacing.

Foot-note 2: some AMS anomalies in Japan.

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Quoting from a 1996 article by Takano Hajime, Insider, Editor-in-Chief.

The new electoral system, a parallel system of single-seat constituencies and proportional representation...employed...dual candidacy (i.e., registering as a candidate in both types of voting). An example...was how Hosaka Nobuto of the Social Democratic Party got only 13,904 votes in Tokyo District No. 22 and forfeited his election deposit--but still managed to limp into office thanks to proportional representation--while Tsutsui Nobutaka, the loser who got the largest number of votes, with a whopping 103,307 endorsements, just 3,000 less than his Liberal Democratic Party opponent--ended up without a seat in parliament because he was running as an independent.

Granted, it was a different electoral district, but the inconsistency is too great if a hopeless candidate, who wins only one-tenth as many votes as an unsuccessful candidate, is rewarded with a parliamentary seat. As many as 84 of the 200 proportional representation seats were taken by single-seat constituency losers. Additionally, there were seven districts with three representatives, because two of the losers bounced back thanks to proportional representation...

( In Germany: ) There is no minimum number of votes candidates must obtain in the constituencies,..In fact, Chancellor Helmut Kohl was once saved through proportional representation during his 15-year incumbency, and Free Democratic Party leader Dietrich Genscher, who long served as Germany's foreign minister, has not once been elected in his constituency...

Foot-note 3: A P Herbert: STV-elected Independent MP.

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As an MP, A P Herbert reformed English divorce law. One of his books is called Holy Deadlock. Among his fifty books, not to mention popular comic operas, is The Point of Parliament. ( Methuen 1946. ) This was originally published in Punch as 'Not So Silly: A Child's Guide to Parliament.'

An appendix re-prints his 1945 address to the electors of Oxford university. He begins by explaining his position as an Independent:

I stand again as an Independent, supporting our great Prime Minister and his programme in the main, but by no means bound to support him in every particular. I claim to have been a true Independent in the last Parliament, voting according to my judgement on either side, but not conceiving it to be an Independent's duty to be always 'agin the Government'. I have made many friends among the Liberal and Labour Parties and have been grateful for their support, and proud to work with them, on many occasions...

I believe that the Party System is necessary and good, and I honour those who accept its discipline; but I still believe that Independence, here and there, can be practical, honest, and useful, especially in a University Member.

In a long and detailed address, unlike the advertising fliers that candidates substitute for such, nowadays, Herbert ends his policy positions, so:

I have supported, and shall again, in the House, Fair Voting, especially the Single Transferable Vote, inexplicably rejected by the two great parties.

In The Point of Parliament, Herbert replies to the stock criticisms of STV as PR, pointing out: one wants to have in this country some of the queer arrangements they have on the Continent - the Second Ballot, for example, or the 'List System'. They are so bad that I shall not even attempt to explain them: but they are all called 'P.R.', and help to give the poor dog a bad name.

In 1934, The Liberal Way, with an introduction by Ramsay Muir, said:

The only adequate reform would be what is known as Proportional Representation. But we must avoid the Continental form of Proportional Representation which intensifies instead of qualifying the undue power of political parties.

The policy document went on to explain STV and its benefits.
However, the Liberals cum Liberal Democrats changed to promoting 'some form of proportional representation'. And this was called 'Fair Votes' by the all-party National Campaign for Electoral Reform. But it was not what A P Herbert, the originator of the phrase, meant by fair voting.

Richard Lung

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