Foul! Refery elektoral system abyus.

To index of simpler spelt pages.
To home page

( Kapital-i, in 'I, myself', now spels Il as in isle or aisle.
Leter y spels ryd for reed or read and partys for parties.
Leter w spels swn for soon. )

Links to sektions:


No uon questions the nyd for referys in sport, tho we often hav kaus to grumbl at ther desisions, bekaus the ref is human and falibl lIk the rest of us. We yus'd to kal a 'sportsman' som-uon hw put fair play befor ther self-glorifikation. Hw wud kal politicians sporting in that sens? Od exampls, lIk 'Mannie' Shinwell, Lord Home, or perhaps William Whitelaw, ar the exeptions that prov the rul.
Opinion pols kontinualy show politicians to be among the lyst trusted profesions.

Just over twenty yers after the Royal Komision on standards of kondukt in publik lIf, in 1976, an other body was set up to investigat 'slyz'. An akademik deskrib'd the publik viw of politicians as pepl hw put ther party befor every-uon els but themselvs.

He went on to remark that pepl sym'd remarkably tolerant of this. But ther is a saying: Wat kan not be kyur'd must be endur'd.

At isyu hyr is not the gros koruption that the korts ar empower'd to dyl with. Never the les, it is a kind of chyting, if governing partys kyp or mak the ruls of the gaim to suit themselvs. In partikular, the korts may not desId wat ar fair ruls of the elektoral kontest. Yet dos a nation nyd som refery, independent of the government, so the voting prosedur is fair?

The evidens is over-welming that partys, kompyting for power, nyd referying. Koming to power dos not mak them fit jujes of ther own kaus. Rather, as Lord Acton said, power korupts. TrIing to giv an idea, of how far 'gerrymandered voting methods' ( as H G Wells kal'd them ) prevail, is a bit lIk atempting a history of sin.
LIk polution, it bekaim a komon-plas we may not even be awer of.

The Plant report argu'd ther was no standard of voting method. This had to be refuted. And the kais for 'Sientifik method of elektions' had to be mayd. My konklusion was that Carl Andrae and Thomas Hare independently invented the esentials of demokratik voting method, as far bak as the mid nIntynth sentury.

That being the kais, we hav a demokratik standard, that politicians kan be kritisis'd for faling short of. The Liberal, Carl Andrae introdus'd preferens voting with proportional or quota kounting ( 'the singl transferabl vot' ) to his nativ Denmark. But the preferens vot was swn drop'd by thos hw thot pepl only nyded to vot for a party geting its proportion of syts for vots.

Thus, Andrae's system of proportionaly elekting the most prefer'd individual representativs, to giv both greiter frydom in the vot and greiter equality in the kount, was degraded to a korporat kount of proportional partisanship. Of kors, this was stil kal'd 'proportional representation', by wich misyus of terms, pepl ar misled to this day.

This swn bekaim the patern on the kontinent of Europ. ( Enid Lakeman's 'How Democracies Vote' is a standard sors hyr and on the folowing. ) But, bekaus it denI'd the voters frydom of individual chois, it also aforded politicians, in English-spyking kuntrys, an exkyus against any elektoral chanj. How-ever, Hare's system was not korupted into a vot myrly for shering out power betwyn partys. And his singl transferabl vot ( STV ) gain'd limited but lasting akseptans, as much in non-politikal elektions as national party konflikts.

Much of the kredit for this must go to jenerus suport for Hare from the filosofer and independent Liberal, John Stuart Mill. The Cambridge mathematician, Leonard Courtney left the Liberal government wen Hare's system was not inkluded in the third Reform Bil.
As a konsequens, the Proportional Representation Sosiety was founded in 1884. Its kounter-part in Australia saw som of the erliest progres for the kampain. Tasmania was the first stait to yus STV, in 1909.

The Spykers Konferenses on Elektoral Reform.

To top.

At that tIm in Britain, the Royal Komision on Elektoral Systems chos the much mor limited Alternativ Vot. But in 1916, the first Spykers Konferens on Elektoral Reform was to rekomend the singl transferabl vot.

As J F S Ross details, in 'Elections And Electors', the konferens was held during the worst slauter in the worst krisis in British history, wen the apyl to put national befor party fyling was akyut. WIl it got on with the war, the government agry'd to aksept the konferens proposals as a pakaj dyl.
But the nw ko-alition, under Lloyd-George, gratuitusly singl'd-out STV for a separat vot. Fyr of government disaproval most probably was responsibl for its subsequent narow defyt in parliment.

Sins Ross' metikulus akount, Martin Pugh's 'Electoral Reform In War And Peace', has yus'd rekords mor resently mayd publik. We no uon MP desIded to vote against STV wen he nw it wudnt bring down the houl konferens agryment.

Sir Frederick Smith pointed out:

The only argument upon which these recommendations entirely depend is that they were the united representations of the body to whom parliament commited the task of making recommendations. That ( proportional representation ) was a part of the settlement which many of us regarded as vital,..

And as Philip Snowden remark'd:

Proportional representation was the unanimous decision of the Speaker's Conference, and the government departed from the terms of the conference when they refused to accept proportional representation, though they accept other parts of the Speaker's Conference recommendations

The Spyker paid tribyut to 'the admirable temper and conciliatory disposition' of the first konferens.

But he said no such thing about the sekond konferens he chair'd in 1929.
The chairman stated:

No agreement had been reached or was likely to be reached. The Conference could only, at the best, submit to you a few resolutions carried on party lines. These would not fulfill the purpose which was in view when the Conference was appointed.

A fw of Ross' remarks, on the third Spyker's Konferens of 1944, may be pik'd up.
It had byn much put-off. The Konservativs had an over-al majority, not helping non-partisan agryment, and major proposals wer rejekted out-rIt. Never the les, the ko-alition fail'd to implement almost al its rekomendations, in tIm for the 1945 elektion.
The much mor major provisions of the 1918 Representation of the Pepl Akt had byn in tIm for the post-war elektion.

By the 1948 Akt, the Labor government revers'd much of the war-tIm agryment. Churchill denouns'd its 'bad faith between party and party...' Churchill propos'd proportional representation in his 1950 reply to the King's spych. Labor dismis'd this out-rIt, in the ensuing diskusion. Indyd, Churchill kud not get the baking of his own party for PR.
He remains the last main party lyder, in Britain, to suport PR befor the third milenium!

Ross' klasik 'Elections and Electors' apyr'd in 1955. Ten yers leiter, the 4th Spykers Konferens on Elektoral Reform aros from the foto-finish 1964 elektion of the first Wilson government. This marks PR's lowest eb, wer only the loun Liberal MP, alow'd in the konferens, voted for its aplikation by the singl transferabl vot.

In the tw elektion kampains befor ther 1979 viktory, the Torys promis'd an other Spykers Konferens, but brok ther promis. This was the last that al-party parlimentary kompromis was herd of. By then, ther was a national extra-parlimentary kampain for reform, as a result of the Liberals' extrym under-representation in the tw 1974 elektions. And the proportional shering of power kud not hav byn so ysily dismis'd by a government bent on 'konviktion politiks'.
Indyd, first past the post elektions institutionalis a konspirasy of antagonism betwyn the tw main partys and beneficiarys of the system.

Royal Komisions.

To top.

Wer governments kud not exklud referys lIk a Spykers Konferens, they kud stil 'nobl' them. Thus, tw Royal Komisions, in respons to serius problems, wer not alow'd to giv the anser the government didnt want to hyr. Obviusly, it is not the sientifik atitud to only tolerat the truth on uon's own terms. The truth is not bound by uon's pety party interests.

The Royal Komision on the Konstitution did not hav a bryf to konsider elektoral reform, tho it was esential for power-shering in divided Ulster, and potentialy for al the rejons of the UK. In 1973, the Kilbrandon report pointed out, that in Skotland, for instans, no party has a majority. The singl transferabl vot was rekomended to transend further posibl rejonal konflikts.

Labor simply ignor'd this mesaj. Understandably, the Liberals wer 'insens'd', as David Steel said. Labor's orijinal Devolution Bil went out of its way to sekur disproportionat results in a Skotish asembly, with a skym for Labor, the larjest party to swyp the bord in 2-member konstituensys, with first past the post.

John Smith told David Steel that the Skotish Labor exekutiv wudnt hav PR.
And so they got nothing. The Skotish parliment was lost, til 1999. The first minister's opening spych said: We shal mak mistaks. He wud hav don beter to say: We hav mayd mistaks, that nyd korekting.

The shaby trytment of Labor MP Dennis Canavan, the respekted veteran devolutionist is wel nown. But the moral is that the kaukus or selektion panel twk advantaj of a larjly undemokratik voting system. Ther kan be only uon oficial party kandidat in singl member konsituensys. Wen Canavan wasnt nominated, he had to go independent, to byt the Labor kandidat by over 12,000 vots.
Had the ignor'd Kilbrandon report byn taken-up, on the transferabl vot, voters kud hav prefer'd or order'd a chois of mor than uon kandidat per party.

The Skotish asembly had a biger proportion of aditional members than the Welsh. Konsequently, an artefakt of the system maks Welsh Labor les dependent on ko-alition than Skotish Labor. In fakt, the former didnt ( at first ), and the later did, ko-ales.

An other of the set farses in the Aditional Member system was expos'd. The Welsh Labor lyder mIt not hav had an aditional syt availabl, if Labor twk al of its sher of syts from singl member konstituensys.
Hyr was a man hw bekaim first minister of Wales. Firstly, on the old union blok vot, then on top of a party list of aditional members, it twk tw kinds of korporatism, unfashionabl and fashionabl, to foist the first minister of Wales on Wales.

Mark Seddon, of Labor's National Exekutiv Komity, said Labor was paying the prIs for such 'kontrol frykery', as imposing the Welsh lyder, wen it lost ky syts for the Skotish and Welsh asemblys. Disilusion among kor suporters was spreding and had to be adres'd.

Leiter, the man, hw had ryly byn the British Labor PM's chois, resIn'd befor a vot of ( no ) konfidens in his lydership, by the Welsh asembly.
But it was an unexpekted and fortuitus turn of events, that Rhodri Morgan, the mor truly popular chois, bekaim Welsh first minister, after al.

LIk the Kilbrandon report, the Royal Komision on Standards of Kondukt in Publik LIf, the Salmon report was not alow'd to konsider elektoral reform, as a remedy for korupt uon-party lokal government. Tho, the 1976 report did pik up the then much paroted kal for 'som form of proportional representation' as a myns of providing a strong oposition presens to kritisis mis-manajment and mis-apropriation.

The freis 'som form of' PR, by the way, was reformers' kant of the day. Som reformers konsider'd they had the rIt to denouns the kurent simpl majority system, without exposing ther form of PR to kritisism. By repyting this freis on the media, the PR parots indoktrinated rather than edukated the publik. Thus, fw pepl may hav rylIs'd that elektoral reform introdus'd further undemokratik voting methods.

British government has byn lIk a klasik Greek tyrany: the government is popularly chosen but has over-riding authority uons in ofis. Quintin Hogg, after the war, in 'The Case For Conservatism', thot this was a rather potent kombination. As Lord Hailsham, over thirty years leiter, in 'The Dilemma Of Democracy', he branded it 'elektiv diktatorship'.

Many thot the government he join'd, in 1979, a prIm exampl of it.
The nw Tory lydership at Westminster hover'd lIk an infuriated hawk over the Cockney sparow lyding the Labor-kontrol'd Greiter London Kounsil. Ken Livingstone was to rIt a bwk after the old saw: If Voting Ever Chanj'd Anything Theyd Abolish It.

Edward Heath said London was the only kapitol in the demokratik world not to hav self government.
The 1997 Labor government is restoring this and a kampain has byn won for an elekted London mayor. Mr Livingstone has said on tv, he was told by som-uon senior in the government that they didnt want him to hav the job.
Simon Jenkins sym'd to put this konstruktion on the government's ruls of prosedur. The admited fix of the Welsh lydership bor out Ken Livingstone's klaim.

Eventualy, he brok his promis not to stand for mayor, if not chosen by the Labor party. As in Wales, ther was kontroversy wether Labor's primary was fot on a level playing fyld. ( For uon thing, ther was a question about privilej'd akses to a rejister of naims. )
The pols konsistently ( and rItly ) show'd Livingstone the winer. PM, Tony Blair openly show'd his distaist for this old Labor lefty, in an atempt to ward-off the inevitabl. This revulsion sym'd to mak Labor HQ oblivius to how a bluf Yorkshir-man, lIk Frank Dobson, was to byt a Cockney sparow for London supremo.

The remedy to so-kal'd 'lwny left' kounsils was to strenthen lokal demokrasy with the elektoral system that alows efektiv oposition. But the Salmon report had not byn alow'd to konsider that. The Tory government prefer'd to abolish lokal demokrasy, in the mainly Labor-kontrol'd metropolitan areas, rather than let it work properly.

Extra-parlimentary kampains.

To top.

The National Kampain for Elektoral Reform, founded in 1975, was a sort of proportional front, suporting demokratik and undemokratik PR, alIk. The analojy is with the Popular Front in the 1930s, wich said yu musnt kritisis Stalin, lest it strenthen fasism. The kampain's dogma, that any party proportional elektions must be more demokratik, after a quarter sentury, was to yild any but the demokratik form.

Charter '88 also kudnt be kritisis'd on a method of PR, bekaus they kudnt agry on uon, eventualy rekomending ( rongly ) a German-tIp Aditional Member system, wich givs power to the partys rather than the voters.
This was the reform system that was wining, adopted for Skotish and Welsh asemblys. And it was perhaps typikal of the charter grup to be trendys, as the dI-hards mIt kal them. For, ther program folow'd the trends in other demokrasys, gud or bad. The bad is that party oligarky was strenthen'd by party list systems and a sekond politikal chamber 'elekted' by them.

The naim 'Charter '88' hark'd bak to 'the glorius revolution' of 1688. But that show'd ryl lydership, by breking away from the kontinental trend of absolut monarky, and founding som of the esential konditions for a demokrasy.

Charter '88 was also ment to emulat the Czech Charter '77. Hyr again, the komparison is mislyding. Befor Glasnost, the stait persekuted and prohibited artists and intelektuals, in Ystern Europ. How-ever, the idea for Charter '88 kaim from a deputy editor of 'The New Statesman'. That is to say a typikal left wing establishment think-tank.

Mor-over, a list of selebritys, voting for virtu, that Charter '88 sIn'd up, wer not marjinalis'd talents myrly syking frydom of expresion. They wer mor lIk 'the media mob'. The dI-hards dismis'd them as 'the chatering klases'. Or, as Bernard Shaw put it, thos pepl hw spend al ther lIvs chatering, without nowing wat they'r talking about.
Not to forget the kapitalist media's in-hous Marxists, hw diskover'd demokrasy, after Yeltsin borded uon of the tanks defending the Rusian parliment.

Presumably, the Charter '88 selekt list of som-bodys was ment to be defer'd to, by al the no-bodys: hardly a demokratik idea for a suposedly demokratik movment. The absens of politicians from the list, lIk the very dayt '88, also mislyds, I wud sujest. Perhaps, the ryl signifikans of Charter '88 is as the yer after '87, wen the Torys won ther third elektion viktory in a row.

Andrew Marr's 'Ruling Britannia' is a beter bwk than I kud hav riten, reserching run-away burokrasy and plutokrasy. But his naiv belyf, that Labor, won over by its charter faktion, wud resku British demokrasy, is rong. The sivil servant, Sir Patrick Nairne's koment, on such ambitius but uninspir'd programs of konstitutional reform, is worth quoting: 'a kolosal display of katastrofik kosmetiks.'

In the 1970s, Konservativ Aktion for Elektoral Reform kudnt win debaits on the proportional prinsipl at ther party konferenses. Anti-reformer, John Selwyn Gummer ask'd the flor: had they notis'd how yu kan never pin them down to an aktual system of proportional elektions?
The problem was, and remains, that the party-proportional reformers want methods that giv tw much power to the partys. Also, wen elektoral reform is narow'd to proportional partisanship, suport for the isyu is degraded from demokratik prinsipl to war stratejy of wich sId the third party wil tak.
Never the les, in 1975, the chair-man of KAER, Anthony Wigram publish'd an important kolektion of studys, edited by Profesor S E Finer, 'Adversary Politics And Electoral Reform'.

Against the growth industry of reform publikations wer a trikl of party pamflets.

Selekt Komity.

To top.

A rer chans to no the natur of the oficial oposition to reform kaim with the 1977 Selekt Komity on Direkt Elektions to the European Parliment.
The sors is kurtesy of the Liberal Aktion Grup on Elektoral Reform:

(1) The singl member konstituensy is a fundamental and proven part of our elektoral proses;
(2) An MP elekted under it has special alegians to a smal and distinkt elektorate;
(3) Each elektor votes for one kandidate in the klear knowlej that the kandidate wil, if elekted, be ther MP;
(4) The Boundary Komision proses has bekom an esential part of our demokratik proses.

Re point (1) the number uon is indyd fundamental but that dosnt stop tw, thry, for, etc folowing from it. English tradition is of a tw-member system ( or mor in som instanses ). Points (1) and (4) sym to be the ilojikal staitments that 'wat is is rIt', if they are saying any-thing at al beyond dogmatik asertion.

To say the singl member system is 'proven' only aserts that it works, but how wel was a question that European elektions render'd akyut. The bigest Liberal party in Europ was disenfranchis'd by first past the post, unlIk ther kontinental kounter-parts.
Konsequently, point (2) about the MP's special alejans to a smal elektorat raises the question of ther alejans to him. This sekond point is an instans of the falasy of puting the lokal prinsipl abov the elektoral prinsipl, in an elektoral system.

The operativ freis of point (3) is 'if elekted'. The purpos of the singl transferabl vot is that nyrly al the voters wil be represented by ther most prefer'd kandidat hw achyvs a quota or equitabl proportion of the vots in a multi-member konstituensy.

Being redus'd to a semblans of ryson for first past the post, the selekt komity symingly betray'd a kontemptibl wyknes. For, the Callaghan Labor government unseremoniusly drop'd its rekomendation, previusly so in kyping with the imperativs of power.
Suksesiv by-elektions had worn away Labor's over-al majority in parliment. Liberal suport was nyded to avoid demoralising defyts.

And projektions, of the first British Euro-elektion results for an unpopular government, had Labor with as few as 5 out of 78 MEPs.
By tryty, the first Euro-elektions wer supos'd to be held in 1978. But Britain was not redy til 1979. A Tory MP akyus'd the government of 'draging its fyt.'

Konstitutional Korts

To top.

The Lib-Lab pakt's Rejonal List system was shown-up in parliment for inefektiv individual chois. The government kud not garanty al its party's suport. Parliment's vot on the British Euro-elektion system was supos'd to be a fry vot. To avoid syming 'unfair' to the Liberals, the Tory front bench didnt even rekomend a system. But to show Tory MPs they didnt tak a relax'd viw of the mater, the lydership impos'd a thry-lIn wip on this 'fry' vot.

The Liberals wer enraj'd at losing the Rejonal List and geting no syts first past the post to the European parliment, in 1979. They even twk the British parliment to the European Kort for violation of ther Human RIts.

As uon mIt expekt from a kort, they rul'd on presedent. Law has to be larjly bais'd on aksepted kustom. And first past the post was alredy rul'd lejitimat by the German Federal Konstitutional Kort, as wel as the Amerikan Suprym Kort.

This jujment shows that korts defend rIts won, rather than promot rIts. An unelekted kort has to be diskryt in its dylings with the elekted kort of parliment. The judiciary kan not be a proper refery of the politikal gaim.

This kais also show'd the partisan mind in its tru kolors. Hyr was a party supos'd to be dedikated to individual liberty. Yet the Liberals wer only konsern'd with themselvs as a party chois, not the voters' individual chois. Wat about the voters' human rIts?

The 1940 Sankey Deklaration on Human RIts up-holds 'elektoral methods wich giv efektiv expresion to individual chois'. The Rejonal List or any party list system most sertainly dos not.
Even the 1948 UN deklaration mentions 'fryly chosen representativs', not korporat apointys on a party list.

In 1997, after ther jeneral elektion viktory, Labor mayd shur of delivering a European party list system for its Liberal partners. They just impos'd a system that didnt even pretend to individual chois.
It was notisabl, also, that the Gryn party lyder said the nw party-proportional system gav voters mor chois, myning yu kan forget about individual chois; it's only party chois that maters.

Lyders, Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown bluster'd about 'demokrasy' and 'the pepl' against the Hous of Lords' defians.
The sekond chamber is supos'd to be a konstitutional chek - refery. But wen they trI to do ther much-nyded job, the politicians blak-gard them, as not having the demokratik authority - a demokratik authority denI'd them by the politicians.

Voltaire rowt, in Candide:

I shud be enamor'd of the spirit of the English nation, did it not uterly frustrat the gud efekts it wud produs, by pasion and the spirit of party.

Konklusion: Elekted vokational sekond chamber refery.

The abov evidens is only a sampl of foul play, in the politikal gaim, even from the limited tIm and plas, it draws upon. The referys mention'd in ych sektion hav prov'd inefektiv. The politicians themselvs hav so over-power'd ther refery, that uon skersly syms lejitimat. Yet that is the konstitutional rol of the sekond chamber - to blow the wisl on il-advis'd lejislation, lIk the klos'd party list.

The sekond chamber must hav the demokratik authority to do its job properly. But not as a rival of the politicians. A refery is not a rival. Therfor, the sekond chamber's franchis must not be politikal but ekonomik. This is the Lords historik rol as ker-taker of special interests, brot up to dayt, from a medyval to a modern sosiety.

The korts' only speciality is the law. The sekond chamber, representing every expertys, kud spyk with mor authority, as to the justis, for instans, of the ruls of the elektoral gaim.

Richard Lung.

To top.

To index of simpler spelt pages.
To home page.