Kritisism of the Plant report.

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Evidens to the British Labor Party's Plant Komity, 1991.

( 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. )

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The first thym stated that Britain's chanj to proportional elektions wud not be just a teknikal chanj. Leiter, the interim Plant report ( the short sekond of thry reports ) kontradikted this, by saying (on p.6) ther is 'no technical answer'.

From thym 2):
The komity is

'not convinced that there is a straightforward idea of fairness which on its own could lead us clearly in the direction of choosing proportional over plurality systems or vice versa.'

The Oxford diktionary defins fair as 'just, unbiased, equitable, legitimate, in accordance with rules.'

First past the post has byn defended presisly bekaus it is bias'd or unfair in favor of uon party ( hardly ever with an over-al majority of vots and som-tIms having les vots than an other party ) to giv alejedly 'strong government', that is power even without a minimum of demokratik sanktion. Wer-as proportional representation is by definition equitabl.

The human rIt of fry and fair elektions inkluds a fry and fair elektoral system. To 'elekt' myns to 'chws out', so elektoral frydom shud be axiomatik. In praktis, this is the nyd to reform the vot from an iliterat kros to a number order of chois, preferens voting, as wel as the mor equitabl proportional kount.

( This unbalans'd situation is revers'd in ekonomiks. Ther the talk is al of 'the fry market', wich shud be 'the fry and fair market', especialy to end the fataly exploited dependens of the Third World, as deskrib'd in Ponting's 'A Green History Of The World'. )

Thym 3 and 4):
Diferent politikal valus under-lI diferent elektoral systems. The report distinguishes tw main filosofys of representativ demokrasy, the majoritarian and the proportional or 'mikro-kosmik'. The former is held mor apropriat to lejislativ asemblys and the later to mor deliberativ asemblys. As the houl point of deliberation is to ariv at a desision, this syms skizofrenik.

John Stuart Mill denI'd that majority rul is demokrasy. He kal'd it 'maiorokracy' or diktatorship by the majority. If words ar to be given ther proper myning, he is striktly korekt: demokrasy myns rul by the pepl, not rul by the majority of the pepl. Nor is this a myr nisety of languaj. The pys of the world depends on a workabl solution to the relations betwyn majoritys and minoritys.

South Afrika, after the 1948 and 1953 elektions, and Ulster ar oft sIted kases of the diktatorial efekt of the majoritarian system. The United Staits was stuk with its 'uon-party south'. Multi-ethnik India syms to hav trI'd to set up a Nehru-Gandhi majoritarian dynasty. Majoritarian notions of representation ar not helping the former Soviet Union's minority konflikts within the nwly independent republiks.

A basik defekt of the report is its lak of sientifik method. To aksept ych of tw 'konflikting viws of representativ government' as 'a fundamentaly diferent viw' with 'no nutral ground' etc (page 19) is to end nolej. Progres depends on komparing kompyting theorys or viws to ariv at a komprehensiv theory. This may be don by rekonsiling aparent diferenses, finding lojikal flaws in uon or the other argument, and sying how wel or badly ych theory works, in as many diferent sirkumstanses as posibl.

This last, the report maks uon of its main kanons not to atempt: 'We do not believe that the same electoral system has to be followed for all representative institutions.' (p.99)

This is exkus'd bekaus 'ther is no Idyl elektoral system'. No sientist pretends that he has the Idyl theory. To do so wud be to giv up trIing to find any-thing mor.

'There is no philosophers' stone, no algorithm, no Archimedean point from which this decision can be made.' (p.19)

Having said that, the report promptly produses its own filosofers' stoun in Arrow's theorem of popular chois, or 'social chois theory' as it is kal'd. LIk theorys of chois jeneraly, it fals into tw stajes, the vot and the kount, or agregation of individual choises. The kind of vot yus'd is rank'd chois or preferens voting. And the kind of kount is majority kounting. (Ian Maclean, 'Democracy And New Technology'.)
In this respekt, Arrow has a limited idea of demokratik method, akin to the Alternativ Vot. Therfor, Arrow's theorem dos not implI the limitations of demokrasy, so much as social chois theorists' limited idea of it.

Maclean defins demokrasy in terms of majority rul. It is Arrow's folowers' restrikted konseption of 'a majority' that restrikts the yusfulnes of ther deduktions about demokrasy.
Tak the Droop quota. ( A sixth form kolej lekturer in government uons told me it has an arithmetik prwf.) In singl member konstituensys, kandidats kompyt for a singl majority of just over haf the vots. In a tw member konstituensy, kandidats kompyt for tw majoritys of just over uon-third the vots ych. Next is a thry member majority of just over uon-quarter the vots ych, and so on.

In other words, wen pepl, inkluding experts, hav talk'd about a majority, they'v only ment a singl-member majority. But the Droop quota rationalises our idea of a majority to multi-member majoritys. Properly aplI'd, proportional representation is a rationalisation of the so-kal'd majoritarian viw of representation to a multi-majoritarian viw. The majoritarian viw dos not imply 'a fundamentally different view of the nature of a representative assembly'. It is simply the most restrikted or blinker'd viw of uon.

The extension of the kount, by the Droop quota, koresponds to the extension of the vot, as lojikly it shud. An X-vot is a uon- preferens vot. A 'preferens vot' or rank'd chois is a many- preferens vot. So, a uon-preferens X-vot elekts a uon-majority kount (for uon kandidat over an other). This is the lyst posibl chois. But in a jeneral theory of chois, a 1,2,3,.. etc many-preferens vot elekts a many-majority kount, of 1,2,3,.. etc members per konstituensy.

This preferens voting with quota kounting defins the singl transferabl vot, as the jeneral theory in praktis. As such, STV alon satisfys al the konsevabl konditions under wich elektions mIt be held.

Thyms 5 and 6):
Representation of Konstituents. 'This is obviously one of the strongest arguments in favour of plurality and majoritarian systems'. (p.57)
But it is not said wI, in the sektion on thos systems. Singl members ar lokal monopolys on representation, both as to ther own and other partys. Monopolys jeneraly ar regarded as not akountabl, for lak of kompetitiv servis. So, the burden of prwf is upon the Working Party wI the voters' chois shud be minimis'd, and lokal komunitys broken-up by the most boundarys posibl.

The report raises lokality to a prinsipl mor important than chois. Lojikly, the elektoral prinsipl must hav primasy in the elektoral system. The lokal prinsipl is anser'd by a houl ranj of mor or les lokal asemblys. The skail of representation kan be ajusted to mak multi-member konstituensys as lokal as yu lIk, so ther is no kais for restrikting elektoral frydom to a minimum by singl member systems ( with or without aditional members ).

Thym 7):
Sitizens shud understand ther elektoral system. If the report has its way, they wil hav to understand diferent systems and ther yus for diferent institutions. ( p.99 quoted abov ) Befor having to study the subjekt, I thot I nw al about it. But it was a minimal understanding of a minimal chois, wich naturaly rekomended to me the minimal demokrasy in the first past the post system.

Enid Lakeman ( How Democracies Vote ) tels us that the idea of proportional representation by transferabl voting was first put forward by Thomas Wright Hill in 1821. At his boys' skwl, komitys wer form'd by boys gathering round the most popular children. At first thys grups wer unequal in sIz, til it was syn that som boys kud transfer from ther favorits ( then from som-uon with tu litl suport) to help a next best kandidat.

This is an exelent way of introdusing futur sitizens to demokrasy in aktion. The fIner points of transfering surplus vots, lIk the fIner points of any important subjekt, kan be taut leiter. The Electoral Reform Society sends observers to the Republik of Ireland elektions. They say the stajes of the kount, as they ar riten up, ar kynly folow'd. Tw Irish referendums favor'd STV over first past the post. Australian lokal government referendums show'd a strong preferens for STV over the Alternativ Vot.

Thym 8):

'...the greater representation of women and minorities which is essential to the health of democracy may be achieved by less than democratic means'

So says the report (on p.85) in noting that the German Aditional Members System (AMS) has a beter rekord than first past the post, 'due to the role of party lists'. This admits that the Aditional ( Party List ) Members System is les than demokratik.

Tho alowing Dummett's viw (on p.70) that STV best protekts minoritys, the report asks, in relation to STV (on p.104) if that mIt 'be better achieved by other constitutional means'. This, despIt saying representation of minoritys is 'esential', if not by STV, then presumably by 'les than demokratik' AMS or pyur list systems. How-ever, we may saifly say that mor demokrasy is not achyv'd by les demokrasy.

isyus: WI Only STV Works At Diferent Levels Of Government

To top.

Majority world governments wud not be tolerabl. And that has nothing to do with them being 'deliberativ' rather than 'lejislativ'. Ther is no dout of the nyd for global regulation to ensur sustainabl growth with konservation. Yst vs West, neo-kolonial North vs South or wat-ever tw-party system wud not work, bekaus haf the gloub at a tIm kan not be left out of lejislating world afairs. The main racial, relijus, linguistik, politikal and ekonomik bloks, to naim but fIv, must be represented in the exekutiv as wel as the lejislatur. STV is the only voting method flexibl enuf to do so, just as it gav thoro> PR, inkluding of imigrants, women and specialists, on the British Jeneral Medikal Kounsil in 1979.

Being mayd up of diferent nations, Switzerland is a model of the world, and has PR in both Federal Kounsil and parliment. But, lIk the rest of the Kontinent, the Swiss lak a transferabl vot to elektoraly transend the division of sosiety into party list kounts. In any part of the world, the demokratik transendans of divisions is a kondition for pys, wether the divisions ar exesiv nationalism or a partisanship as extrym as chauvinism.
Of kors, no system kan chanj pepls' harts, but that is no exkyus for denIing them the chans to eskaip from tribal loyaltys, in so far as they desir to do so.

The European Komunity was ment to sekur pys betwyn nations. But national sovereinty kan al tu ysily be replas'd by partisan sovereinty, under the rijid divisions of List Systems, inkluding of Aditional Members. In Ulster, the 1978 Lib-Lab pakt's Rejonal List wud hav split the Katholiks' vot betwyn the SDLP and Sinn Fein party lists. Only the transferabl vot alow'd ther proportional representation by uon of the thry MEPs for that provins.
This was a krucial test betwyn theorys of chois, wich STV is the only elektoral system to pas.

The European skail of elektions also shows up the Aditional Members System as at kros-purposes with itself, tho this may be les obvius at other levels of government. Ther ar tu fw syts for the Aditional (List) Members to kompensat proportionaly for a larj enuf number of singl member konstituensys. It wont work. That's wI the Germans dont yus it for ther Euro-elektions, as wel as ther jeneral elektions.

In British jeneral elektions, Aditional Members kud kom from 12 rejonal list konstituensys. In kontrast, PR by STV is an onestly multi-member system, in Robert Newland's 1976 draft, of 142 konstituensys. On averaj, that maks STV representativs nyrly twelv tIms kloser to ther konstituents than Aditional Members, hws System is thus an imposter.

The Plant komity graitfuly endorses the Skotish Labor Party's desision for AMS to the Skotish Parliment. No mention of the Labor government's Royal Komision on the Konstitution ( 4 yer's work ) wich chos PR by STV for Skotish, Welsh and rejonal English asemblys.
John Smith told David Steel ( A House Divided ) that Labor's Skotish Exekutiv wudnt hav PR for the Devolution Bil. This lost Lord Home's suport, and in viw of the rejonal brek-down of the referendum result, it is quIt lIkly that the Labor government's ignoring the Kilbrandon Report from the start, on STV/PR, lost the Skots ther parliment in the 1970s.

An other ignoring of the Komision report dos the Skotish pepl a further diservis. In syking a mesur of national independens, the Skots ar to be landed with a system of partisan dependens in AMS.

For lokal government, the report kautiusly favors a majoritarian system weited by a proportional system (p.102) i.e. an aditional (list) members system again. This wud diskriminat unfairly against independents, hw kan not benefit from ych others vots, bekaus the proportional kount is only for party list kandidats.
With STV, the kandidats ar al personaly prefer'd to elektiv proportions of the vot, and independents kan benefit, tu, from the transfer of personal preferens vots. This not only helps independents but the independens of party kandidats, hw no they ar personaly prefer'd by the pepl and do not ow every-thing to ther party.

The saim aplIs to other asemblys. STV university konstituensys gav distinguish'd independents to the Komons. But independent Kros-benchers wud be obliterated from a party list-elekted Sekond Chamber of Parliment.

The Plant report maks an isyu of chwsing voting methods to suit the funktions of institutions. But it over-lwks the funktional rol of the Lords. Of kors, skandalus neglekt of reform has left the Lords representing a medeval sosiety. A specialis'd modern ekonomy nyds a working model of its funktions in proportional representation of the okupations.

With the down-fal of the klos'd shop in EEC lejislation, the traditional defensiv rol of the unions is under-mIn'd. Insted of making the Labor party unpopular, by ther old exklusivnes, yu kud enkuraj the TUC to tak an important organis'd part in representation for al pepl, in ther work, in an elekted ekonomik parliment.
Socialists lIk the Webbs ( A Social Parliment ) and the Coles ( Gild Socialism ) and H G Wells yus'd to belyv in such-lIk ideas. Ther wud also be som kros-party suport for this konstitutional reform.

Insted of dubling the strenth of demokrasy with efektiv elektions and an ekonomik franchis, the politicians ar set to dubl the strenth of party oligarky, with a sekond chamber of saif party men on rejonal lists.
Tw party-politikal chambers ar redundant, so the sekond uon has to be nobl'd by giving it fwer members or an undemokratik voting system (p 95):

' should not be seen as the rival of the House of Commons in terms of its democratic legitimacy. This obviously bears to some degree at least on the nature of the electoral system for both...'

Politikal and ekonomik national parliments kud both be democratikly elekted by STV. They wud match jeneral lejislation afekting the Komons or komunitys to its special efekts on okupational konstituensys. This is esentialy a sientifik relation of politikal theory to ekonomik praktis.
Som tw milion pepl in Britain alredy hold profesional elektions by STV, as wel as much of the NHS.

Other isyus (1 and 2):
As the left-rIt diverjens betwyn the tw main partys mayd for unresponsiv government, the deklIn in ther spred of suport has mayd for unrepresentativ government.
The report lets off first past the post much tu ysily, myrly making its admitedly unrepresentativ and unresponsiv government a question of wether it may al kom rIt in the end: 'the resolution...dos depend on how uon ryds kurent elektoral trends.' (p.103)


To top.

Plurality Systems:
1) The diskrimination against partys with a jeografikal spred of suport kan not be justify'd, as requested, bekaus it is a konsequens of konfusing the elektoral prinsipl with the lokal prinsipl (as explain'd abov).

2) The klaim that first past the post (FPTP) 'is essentially... about choosing a government' nyds severly qualifying. FPTP givs voters the most limited posibl chois of government betwen uon of tw partys. Not always the uon with the most vots wins. FPTP fails even on its own miserabl terms of ofering a minimal demokrasy.
A Sekond Balot or Alternativ Vot kan not alter the posibility that a larjer party may hav its suport konsentrated in fwer singl member konstituensys, and so 'lws' to a smaler party wining mor syts. ( Se Enid Lakeman, 'How Democracies Vote', p.65, Majority members and minority governments.)

3): 'It follows from the first part of this section that there is a strong case for using more than one system.'

Pointing out an inadequasy of FPTP ( as the Plant report does ) is no ryson for retaining it with som other system. Aditional Members from party lists myrly ads, ad hok, uon rong system to an other. And tw rongs dont mak a rIt.
The report hyr is not only badly thot-out but badly expres'd, e.g.

'Given that we contemplate different systems, it is possible that claims may be made for different degrees of legitimacy.'

If it is posibl to say som voting methods ar mor 'lejitimat' than others, then wI not just yus the most lejitimat uon?

Proportional Systems
Jeneral Questions:

'Why is it seen as democratic that a party could become pivotal and play a central role in government for a very considerable period of time as the FDP has been in Germany when it gains a relatively small percentage of the vote (?)'

First of al, this is not a jeneral question. It is a kritisism of the West German experiens of ther Aditional Member System, kal'd the Dubl Vot. Most Kontinental kuntrys just yus party lists, without a singl member system. They tend to hav mor partys.
And STV/PR in English-spyking kuntrys, most notably Eire, has byn diferent again.

The German AMS is as undemokratik in favor of the third party, as the British singl member system is undemokratik against it. ( No wonder British Liberals spyk warmly of the German system! ) The tw main partys bekaim so frustrated with the FDP as a fixtur of power that, in 1966, they form'd a 'Grand Alians', and resolv'd to end Aditional Members, tho this agryment fel thru. They bekaim alarm'd at the rIs of extremist partys and split up again. And the FDP hav byn bak in power ever sins.

This sentury, the Labor party has favor'd first past the post, a system grosly undemokratik, mainly to the Torys' advantaj - by an averaj of 95 syts per elektion during the inter-war yers. ( JFS Ross, 'Parliamentary Representation'. )
In favoring AMS, among proportional systems, the Labor party gets redy to do undemokratik favor to the Liberals. The last pepl Labor syms to favor ar the pepl.
Having byn the Torys' fwls, Labor ar set to bekom the Liberals' fwls.

The German AMS permits uon X-vot for uon kandidat's party in a singl member konstituensy and uon X-vot for the List perhaps of an other party's kandidats. That may expres a desir for ko-alition. But tw X-vots kast in oposing ways, in a partisan system, kontradikt ych other. It is not a question that 'this means to an outside observer that the individual is voting irrationally.' (p.84) The system itself is irational.
The Dubl Vot dos not 'allow...preferences as much scope as possible'. Bekaus, an X-vot expreses only a singl order of preferens, for uon kandidat over an other or uon party over an other. To prefer tw kandidats over a third requirs a dubl order of preferens, first and sekond chois.

The transferabl vot alows a multipl order of preferens, proportionaly elekting kandidats in multi-member konstituensys. This myns yu kan rank kandidats, if yu wish, of uon party and then an other, efekting a ko-alition preferens.
A third party's lyder ignors this at his peril, as do his kolygs. Even if the suport for that party's kandidats dos not chanj much, the order of preferens for them may be revis'd as a result of ther aktions. This has a direkt bering on the next question.

If al partys ar in a minority, after proportional elektions, how kan ther wyling and dyling, to form a koalition, be demokratik?
This is not a question jeneral to al proportional systems but to al non-transferabl voting systems. With thys, the voters hav no say as to wich kombination of minority partys shud form the majority in government. This lak of lejitimasy maks party-proportional systems proun to reshufl'd ko-alitions.
Hyr is, of kors, the klasik kritisism of 'unstabl governments' (e.g. Maude and Szemerey, 'Why Electoral Change?' p.34-5. And a standard work, Enid Lakeman's 'How Democracies Vote'.)

The greitest transferabl voting from kandidats of uon party to an other piks out the popular chois of ko-alition, from al the posibl party kombinations. Jeneral ability of the voters to elekt governments is an other krucial test in favor of STV over al other elektoral systems. Nor is this myr theory. In Eire, the voters hav sanktion'd Fine Gael-Irish Labor party ko-alitions by kros-party preferens of kandidats, and hens kros-party proportional representation.

STV shows, in the eys of the elektorat, wich partys hav the strongest links, and so ar the most lIk uon majority party. Tho it may not be uon, oficialy, in efekt, it has byn mayd uon, demokratikly, with ryl suport - and not the mak-belyv majoritys of our mak-belyv demokrasy.
Nor is ther the Kontinent's ilejitimat pairings in government of rijidly divided, oficialy rejister'd partys. Ther the pepl only elekt partys, not governments.

Especialy in tIms of national emerjensy, the voters mIt want to extend ther preferenses to som kandidats from al partys, sanktioning a national government. Don from the top, as it always has byn, national unity kan be a very divisiv bisnes, as the Labor party found in 1931.

But by prefering kandidats only of uon party, STV also alows ful expresion to the divisions in sosiety and any diferenses in direktion they stand for. This is demokratik, not manipulating results towards konflikt or konsensus, but alowing efektiv expresion to both.
( This ansers the ekolojikal nyd for an adaptiv but stabl self-regulating system. )

Singl Transferabl Vot

The Plant report kontinus:

Given that one of the perceived strengths of STV is the degree of representation it might secure for minorities, the question is: Is representation the best way of protecting the interests of minorities when they will still be minorities or would this be better achieved by other constitutional means such as a Bill of Rights/ Charter of Rights, greater devolution of power, a more federal structure etc?

As this is uon of the most serius problems for pys, we shud yus al thys myns to sekur it. Praktikly every-uon belongs to important minoritys. STV is flexibl enuf to proportionaly represent them al, as wel as popularly sanktion ther ko-alitions, wich is wat majoritys usualy ar. This maks STV indispensibl to demokrasy.

Talking about 'permanent minoritys', that 'must always lose' (p.70), is to exkus under-klases, inkluding women in publik lIf. Ther atributs, lIk sex, rais, kryd or languaj etc ar ysily diskriminated against, to serv the purposes of an inequitabl sosiety. Its abolition depends on ending the institutions that perpetrat it, such as the elektoral getos of the singl member system, kondem'd by Paul Harrison ( in 'Inside The Inner City' ).
Party List systems ar exklusiv, tu, and harden diferenses, not only into politikal dogmas, but in any konflikt, such as rais in Guyana, or with the resort to separat languaj lists in Belgium.

Devolv'd power may help redus the skail of konflikt. But the minoritys turn'd into rejonal majoritys may kaus mor problems for ther own minoritys. Ther is no geting away from Mill's matur konseption of demokrasy. This wud involv lejislativ and perhaps exekutiv power-sharing.
Judicial power-sharing wud lend substans to a formal Bil of RIts.

2): STV is proposed for the Commons its defenders have to explain: How there can be five member constituencies in sparsely populated areas and how they would defend the loss of proportionality which would be entailed by a reduction to three members and the impact this might have on significant fourth parties in Scotland and Wales.

Rekonsiliation is posibl betwyn STV konstituensys tru to the historik Komons or lokal komunitys and an even greiter PR than STV wud achyv within any of them. The reform kud be in tw stajes. The first staij wud be the Elektoral Reform Sosiety's proposals, in Robert Newland's Elekting the United Kingdom Parliment. Traditional ShIrs and Boros wud averaj about 5 members, most being 4 to 6.

This (binomial) distribution of syts per konstituensy is the statistikal patern yu wud expekt demografy to folow. Ther wud be a kupl of densly urban 8-members. Wer-as Orkney and Shetlands, and the Western Isles mIt prefer to stay singls. Tho, even western Eire rejekted redusing thrys to singls, in the sekond Irish referendum that suported STV.

In the 1920s up to 1935, Eire had a 3 to 8 or 9 member system. But the larjest party witl'd it down, mainly to 3, with a maximum of 5, to over-represent itself. The report (on p.75) manifests a similar desir:

... three member constituencies would be more likely...STV in its fully proportional form is a highly unlikely runner for electoral reform in Britain.

Boundarys hav byn drawn and redrawn by remot sentral government desision, for burokratik or party-politikal ends. During the nIntynth sentury, singl member konstituensys ariv'd as the servant of the tw-party gaim. The thrust of this report, and jeneral Labor and Tory atituds, is to kyp the servant on.

The singl member system, as the servant of national party politiks, at the expens of lokal komunitys, was klyrly shown strait after the 1979 elektion. The Konservativs order'd the Boundary Komision to mak konstituensys as equal as posibl. In praktis, this ment to over-rul lokal fyling and interests as much as they der, to that end. At the 1983 elektion, the result was, that for a slip in the Tory vot from about 44% to 42%, ther majority of syts inkrys'd by nyrly a hundred.

The report klaims 'there are also strong factors that work against STV.' (p.71) On averaj, UK multi-member konstituensys wud be 300,000 kompar'd to the Irish 55,000. '...this is likely to have several negative consequences.' ( The 'strong faktors' hav bekom 'likely'.) But this suposition has no weit by the standard of U.S. singl member konstituensys of 200,000 to aproching 300,000. Aktualy, the argument from skail of representation is fatal to the singl member system.

The Plant Report gos on:

The problem then is how far in the UK we see constituencies as embodying some sense of identity, of being in some sense a natural community.

Churchill sum'd up this identity isyu best:

I would rather be one-fifth of the candidates for the whole of Leeds than one candidate for a fifth of Leeds.

( Quoted in Joe Rogalay's 'Parliament For The People'. )

A sekond staij of reform fuly myts Plant's kritisism that STV, in the historik konstituensys kal'd 'Komons', wud not be proportional enuf. Konstituents kud be alow'd to prefer kandidats in other konstituensys in the rejon, and ultimatly perhaps in the entIr nation.
As MPs mak laws that afekt us al, so it is only demokratik that our vots shud be alow'd to afekt al of them. But this aranjment wud be mor struktur'd than the orijinal Hare's system, introdus'd by Mill, or Leonard Courtney's rejonal version. (The later kud sher the saim boundarys with rejonal governments and British Euro-konstituensys.)

Just as transferabl voting alows proportional preferens for kandidats within, betwyn and akros partys, so it shud do, tu, with respekt to konstituensys. This is not to denI the importans of partys or konstituensys. On the kontrary, they provid the voters with tw fraim-works of referens to exersis our choises by. In fakt, the greiter frydom of individual chois, the mor esential thys gIds to afiliation of the kandidats bekom.


...we are concerned to elicit from supporters of STV a much clearer account of the relationship of accountability between a member and his or her constituents than we have found in the evidence so single MP will be able to speak on behalf of the constituency as a whole...(p.105)

Thru-out most of Britain's parlimentary history, 'no singl MP' but tw members spok for much the saim rural and urban konstituensy areas that kud now be proportionaly represented by STV. That a singl member spyks for the constituency as a houl is a fiktion of the system. He is supos'd to spyk galantly for thos hw voted against him, maybe a majority. That is the romans of chivalry not the reality of demokrasy.

Thos habituated to the singl member system hav konfus'd syts with konstituensys: a representativ is literaly a-kountabl to the portion or quota of voters hw hav elekted him. Wether in singl or multi-member konstituensys ( syts grup'd by lokal komunity ) that portion is rufly the saim. Any elektions ar bound to be 'akountabl only to sektions', bekaus sektions represent quotas or kinds of choises mayd. The point is that the elektoral system represent al the main sektions of opinion.

The Plant report sys akountability, with STV in rural Ireland, in the folowing charming terms: Kandidats

reserve bailiwicks (leading to) friends and neighbours catchment areas. This can have undesirable results in...patron client or parish pump politics ...which may impede a view of the national needs to which politics should devote itself...the logic of STV seems to drive candidates into this sort of activity. (p.71)

'An Anthropological Study' is sIted. ( 'Anthropolojikal' myns a study of human beings. ) Uon mIt not rekognis the kuntry, hyr refer'd to, as uon of the world lyders in information teknolojy.

The abov quotation's toun of prim disaproval nyd not disgIs that Irish MPs giv the very personal atention, regarded as laudabl in so far as it exists in singl member systems (p 29-30):

It is also argued by defenders of the present system that what might be called the social work aspect of work for constituents is an important and rewarding part of a back bench MPs life and that they value what they see as an organic link to the constituency.

Wat-ever 'an organik link' is, apart from lending a mystyk of lejitimasy to the singl member system.

That STV elekts MPs on a quota, wich is only a 'sektion' of the konstituensy, over-lwks the greit importans of the surplus vots, wich ar publikly rekorded. An MP, notably a party lyder may hav far and away mor first preferenses, even than kolygs of his own party. This show of personal popularity enhanses his authority, in-sId the konstituensy and nationaly. The singl member, in his party's saif syt, kan not point to any such distinktion.

No evidens is given that Irish MPs do 'impede...national needs', presumably by serving lokal nyds tu wel. And British lokal representation is not held to akount for this.

How-ever, lokal and national interests kud be rekonsil'd by evolving kros-konstituensy STV. Kandidats wud hav to achyv a rather larjer rejonal or national quota of 60,000, say, than a thry- member konstituensy quota of about 45,000 ( or 50,000 vots ych to elekt 5 members, etc ).

To pik up the extra vots from the milions of rejonal ( or national ) konstituents, out-sId his own lokal konstituensy bais, a kandidat wud hav to kampain on rejonal ( or national ) as wel as lokal isyus. A broder apyl wud be enkuraj'd. This equalising of the quota wud be konsistent proportional representation rIt akros konstituensys, just as STV alon achyvs this within, betwyn and akros partys.


We need evidence about how the divisive tendencies of intraparty competition which seem endemic to STV can be mitigated.

Is it nesesary to re-sIt for the Working Party the 'endemik' skisms of its own party's history, and ther abiding nyd of arbitration by the jeneral publik? That is the way to mor 'efektiv partys', as ther is no beter way to solv internal disensions than by authority of al the pepl.

On Plant's lIn of rysoning, we shud also get rid of inter-party kompetition for its 'divisiv tendensys'. For wI shud a divided party be wors than a divided nation? Wich dos the Establishment put first, its partys or its kuntry?
Fryly transferabl voting may not only establish the tru balans of suport for a party's left and rIt - PR within a party - but also its degry and kind of unity. Similarly, PR akros left and rIt wing partys, by transferabl voting, may defin the degry and kind of unity of the nation.

This komprehensiv elektoral frydom is not a luxury. It is the link by wich individual wishes ar konserted into komunity aktion. Without this, no kuntry kan kal itself a demokrasy that is 'intellectually and politically respectable'. (p.42)

The report jibs at voters yusing ther preferenses to 'weaken the effectiveness of the party as a vote gathering organisation.' (p.75)

Is the objektion to a voting system, that alows voters to show they mIt not be as partisan as politicians want? That is the voters' bisnes: to be as partisan or otherwIs as they plys, and not be oblij'd to apyr to vot in a pyurly partisan way, by a system that givs them no other chois.

Question 4 harks bak to the hI turn-over of Irish MPs defyted by members of ther own party (p.75). Uon elektoral reformer was onest enuf to tel me that Konservativ MPs wud never giv up ther saif syts. Hens, most Tory and Labor reformers hav kampain'd for AMS (p 89): would threaten the vested interests of sitting members much less than would any other alternative.

Demokrasy is not about party job sekurity of politicians.

There is no point in devising elaborate proposals for reform of electoral systems which might be wholly justifiable in principle but which would fail to command a majority within the existing House of Commons.

This Plant report veto (on p 42) maks a non-sens of rIting it, and tels disenters they ar wasting ther tIm kritisising it. Such 'rylism' simply tyches subservians. Ther wud be no demokrasy in the former Soviet Union today, if reformers had folow'd that kind of defytism. Ryson may be ignor'd, under the Orwellian moto 'ignorans is strenth'. But over-welming stait power has its limitations, tu.

List Systems

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Wat is the konstituensy link with kandidats on Lists for lejislativ bodys?
Anser: Rejonal and National Lists kount konstituensys by rejons and nations.

The point Plant maks about 'power to national and regional party bureaucracies' shud be that list kandidats ar mayd responsibl to them, rather than ther konstituents. That 'party elites might have less traditional attitudes' for 'greater equality of gender and ethnic representation' is the promis of an oligarky so benevolent it wil not tolerat the demokratik myns to achyv it.

C.S. Lewis said he was a demokrat bekaus no man is gud enuf to be given power over others. We hav syn enuf of that, in the twentieth sentury and befor. Symingly, som pepl, especialy in power, wil never lern.

How far power to the partys kan go is exampl'd by French Euro- elektions from national lists. Tens of milions just had X-vots for partys. But a handful of voters, hw wer top politicians, such as Simone Weil, also ych had uon preferens vot, that desided, for the houl nation, the kandidats' order of elektion from a party list.
M. Mitterand had his naim on top of the socialists' list, to bwst the party vot with a litl personal popularity. After the elektion, he promptly stud down.

Uon mIt hav thot, at lyst kandidats, plas'd lower on the lists, wud be les lIkly of elektion, especialy if ther party's vot slump'd. How-ever, unsuksesful kandidats wer 'rotated' as MEPs. Every-uon on the list got a rId on that round-about! Nor was this abolition of personal frydom of chois just a French fars. 'Rotation' quikly kaut-on in Germany. By 1984, it was raising a fever in the Green party: triks of the traid!

A Romanian Komunist spy brIb'd his way onto the French National Front list and into the European Parliment. 'Power korupts and absolut power korupts absolutly.' Or, as the Plant report says: 'there is obviously some loss of democratic input in this respect.' (p.105)

An X-vot for a party kan only giv PR betwyn partys. The 1978 Lib-Lab pakt's Rejonal List elekts kandidats first past the post on a party list. But that denIs PR within partys, and akros partys. In both kases, the system fails from split voting, either for kandidats within a list, or, for diferent lists.

Only transferabl voting kan giv PR in its integrity within, betwyn and akros partys.

WI is uon of 'the different arithmetical procedures used to allocate seats under list systems' to be prefer'd to an other?

Indyd, how kan the publik be expekted to understand wat the experts kan not agry on? ( For STV, the Droop quota is in standard yus, and is the simplest of its kind in yus to understand.) The social chois theorists' problem is 'how can individual preferences be aggregated into some overall function which we can call the people's choice'? (p.20)

A 'party vot' begs the question, bekaus individuals' vots ar presum'd to kount for grups or partys, as komunitys within the komunity. ( That is, the question is regres'd or left unsolv'd at uon remov.) Uon dosnt solv a problem by pretending it dosnt exist.

Party lists hav no plas in the kontext of Arrow's theorem. Not only Arrow but Aristotle refuts the party vot - as the sylojistik falasy of 'ilisit major'.

Aditional Member Systems

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'There are a number of issues which need much greater thought here' is the Plant report's way of saying that kombining singl members with aditional (list) members demands a houl new ranj of arbitrary desisions: 1) Wich method of majority kounting to yus in the singl member system? (Wich list kounting method? has just byn ask'd on p.106); 2) Wat ratio of the singl to the aditional members? 3) Wat thresholds against smal partys? (This kontradikts a kount that imposes absolutly proportional partisanship on the publik.) 4) Of tw diferent klases of MPs, wat links to ych other and the konstituents?

STV dosnt hav any of thys difikultys. As questions, they ar not ryly thotful themselvs. Far from asking wether this 'les than demokratik' system is gud enuf, al that is wanted ar details from the party of how to lejislat for AMS.
(Sy e.g. Enid Lakeman's 'Power To Elect' on how the German elektoral system is over-rated.)

The staitment about the Hansard Sosiety's version of AMS, that 'There would be no element of party list involved' is inkorekt. The simpl truth is that the party lists of al the kandidats in the rejon ar unpublish'd. The partys stil sher out the syts betwyn them on the basis of a partisan kount of the vots for ( implisit lists of ) kandidats in the rejon's singl member konstituensys.

Robert Newland gav a devastating exposur of this system's irationalitys. ( 'Representation,' journal of the Electoral Reform Society, Jan. 1977.) Even he mis'd Neil Kinnock's observation that an unpopular kandidat hw lost his plas first past the post mIt stil be elekted as an aditional member, sekond past the post. The 'anomalys' ar reviw'd in Vernon Bogdanor's 'The People And The Party System.'

Ther is no nyd to argu with the klaim that AMS kombins the best of both singl member and list systems, bekaus ther is no best to kombin.

A nout on John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill

J S Mill selflesly champion'd Andrae's and Hare's system as uon of thos hapy ko-insidenses of a greit sientifik diskovery. H G Wells, hw also had a sientifik training, apreciated som ryl sientifik work had byn don hyr.
But how litl a chanj of hart is to be lwk'd for, from the Plant komity in its final report, may be juj'd from the atempt to diskredit STV, even by slIting Mill, in the eys of the Labor party (p 69 and p 74):

it is arguable that STV was conceived by Mill to break the hold of parties on representative democracy because he and others were frightened of the control which working class parties might exert in a democratic system.
As was noted earlier Mill advocated STV partly because he was fearful of the role that major parties would play if the franchise were to be extended.

This 'frIten'd' and 'fyrful' man was author of 'The Subjection Of Women,' wich argu'd for perfekt legal equality betwyn the sexes. Even William Lovett ( 'Life And Struggles Of William Lovett' ) regreted he had alow'd other Chartists to talk him into belyving vots for women was a houples kaus.
In his 'Autobiography,' Mill holds that demokrasy wud not be komplyt til 'proportional representation', wich is also 'personal representation', was achyv'd.

Sins rIting this ( very slItly chanj'd) kritisism of the Plant Report in 1991, I hav kom to belyv that Mill was our greitest demokrat.

The Plant report's omision of the kais for STV

Sektion uon

The Plant report mayd no mention of the Labor government's Royal Komision on the Konstitution, that urj'd the singl transferabl vot for Skotish and Welsh parliments, as wel as English rejonal asemblys. So, it was litl surpris that the sekond report ignors al other kases mayd for STV, the PR of the English-spyking pepls.
It is not posibl to hav a dialog with a Working Party that gos on, as if they had never spoken. Elektoral reform sosietys hav kampain'd for STV/PR over the last hundred yers. So hav distinguish'd specialists, such as JFS Ross and Enid Lakeman, and a greit reforming rIter, lIk H.G. Wells.

STV is the only system that the sekond report maks no atempt to sy any merit in, let alon giv a balans'd presentation of the evidens for and against. That is rong, from the viw-point of either legal or sientifik prosedur. Sientifik progres is towards jeneraly aplikabl nolej, in this kais, of the voting method that aplis fairly or equitably to any elektions.

That 'no voting system is perfekt' is the lamest exkus, sins no sientifik theory klaims perfektion. The report is not simply 'trying to resist the klaims of STV' but supresing information of them. To do so is bias'd or unfair. That is worth saying, bekaus the Working Party kan not ariv at a working definition of 'fairness' (on p.3). Sivilizations, from ancient tIms, ar bais'd on ruls of equity, for exampl the Confucian or Christian 'do as yu wud be don by'. Konverts to Islam find egalitarian harbor against racial prejudis. Greek demokrasy was first kal'd 'equality befor the law'.

But the Working Party's 'sentral distinktion' ( in sektion 1 ii ) betwyn Majoritarian 'lejislativ' and proportional 'deliberativ' asemblys is unryl.
Even with the Alternativ Vot, singl-member majoritys of 50%+ ar only the most limited kind of majoritys. The proportioning of majoritys by the Droop quota, lyds to tw-member majoritys with over tw-thirds the vots betwyn them, thry-member majoritys with thry-quarters the vots, etc. So, ther is no rational justifikation for diferent kinds of voting method for diferent asemblys.

No wonder the report aserts ( on p.6 ): 'there cannot be a voting system which satisfies all the criteria ... There is no technical answer. It relies ... on political judgement,..'
Arbitrary desisions ar the konsequenses of arbitrary premises.

The tyrant's or 'elektive diktator's' notion that lejislativ bodys nyd a monopoly of power thru a singl member system is impraktikal, for pys's saik. The oposition nyd proportionat power to be properly konsulted.

The report ( sek.l ii ) divorses deliberation from lejislation, into diferent asemblys. But deliberation is over prinsipls and lejislation is ther aplikation. And this report ( sek.1 i) says: 'issues of principle cannot easily be divorced from those of practical application', in chwsing a voting method. If yu kan not ysily divors prinsipl'd deliberation from lejislativ aplikation, with regard to elektoral law, yu kan not do so for any other kind of law. So, sektions l i and l ii kontradikt ych other.

Modern siens, say, sins Galileo, afirms sektion l i. But the report dos not liv up to its 'view that the Labour Party cannot simply take refuge behind generalities ...' (p.2). For exampl, the Aditional Members System has alredy byn chosen for a Skotish parliment. Yet the report has not resolv'd the many praktikal problems of AMS; it myrly poses them uons mor and says ( thry tIms ) they'r going off to Germany to sy how they do!

In addition to these points, there is one other key question which will need to be considered further, and that is the method by which the 'additional members' might actually be chosen(!!) We do remain convinced, at this stage, however, that AMS deserves serious consideration for legislative bodies, in that it does keep a single member constituency link,..

In other words, the dogma of singl members is setl'd first and the praktikal konsequenses, in sektion l(b), ar left to folow as they may.
Formost among thys konsequenses of AMS is the 'pivotal position in Parliament' of smal partys. The Working Party stil kan not solv this problem. The West German experiens points to the Liberal lydership having a job for lIf, as king-makers of either the Labor or Tory partys. The Liberal lyder bekoms a sort of lIf monarch.

Wer-as, transferabl voting wud alow the voters to prefer kandidats akros party lIns, efekting either a leftward or rItward or senter ko-alition, if no uon party had haf the vots. But this is heresy to the haks hw liv for party befor kuntry. As G.K. Chesterton said, aktualy ther is only uon party ( nowadays kal'd the Establishment ). So, the jeneral interest has no leveraj against partikular interests, even thos bisily degrading the planet.

Sektion tw

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Indyd, thys Working Party reports ar lIk the 'semantik hel' of the Erth Sumit. From 'even assuming ( as we do not ) that fairness can be given some agreed and unambiguous definition' ( on p.3, by p.10 ) the report gets round to rekognising fairnes as a universal standard: 'An electoral system needs to be seen to be fair not just to political parties but to individuals and groups within society;..'

It fails to admit this is at the hart of the long-standing STV kaus, and wud lyd to it as the chois of system. Transferabl voting is elektion of the most prefer'd individual kandidats, so that al ther grup atributs, inkluding thos of party, ar proportionaly represented.

Frydom of chois is denI'd by X-vots for party lists ( inkluding lists of aditional members ) to giv myr proportional partisanship, mis-kal'd PR. Party List systems ar an oligarkik privilej over al other grups in sosiety.

The sektion on list systems argyus wether party elits giv fairer representation, than the mor demokratik selektion by lokal konstituensy members, for femayl and ethnik kandidats.
The ryder is not reminded that the komparison is betwyn multi-member konstituensys that requir a ranj of kandidats to katch al the main voting grups, and singl-member konstituensys, wich mainly requir a kandidat from the dominant faktion, usualy wIt midl klas profesional mayls.
Wen he suported STV, Lord Shinwell kal'd the singl-member system 'undemokratik'. The holders of this monopoly on representation hav a vested interest in the saif syts it givs them.

The desir is expres'd ( on p.16-17) to achyv equal representation of men and women, with AMS in the Skotish parliment. Tho, tru to form, the report kan not desId how, without making the system even mor anomalus. The partys wud hav to bind themselvs to jender parity but this party's report refus'd to bind partys to selektion prosedurs ( on p.3).

Ther objektion is to stait imposition on partys, but not of partys on the publik by korporat voting. From jender, as wel as party, being given the exklusiv privilej of proportional elektion, every other human kategory, aij, rais, relijon, languaj, klas, kultur etc, gos a beging. It is not praktikal or demokratik to oficialy impos lists for them al, and ych list X-vot wud kount against the other.

Ther is no substitut for order'd chois of individual kandidats, hwm voters may prefer by mor than uon atribut. Thus, STV, to the British General Medical Council, gav proportional representation to women, imigrants and specialists. Under a list system ( inkluding lists of aditional members ) if yu wer an imigrant woman specialist, yu wud hav to desId wich of thys thry atributs ( in efekt diferent 'partys' ) to kast yor X-vot for only its proportional representation. And yu wud not, by any myns, be shur of helping to elekt yor personaly prefer'd kandidat, even in that uon out of thry kategorys yu had byn oblij'd to vot for.

Sektion thry

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Dubl standards of kritisism ar brot to ber against STV kompar'd to other systems.
Apendix uon is about the myger sum of nw 'evidens' ( such as it is ) in the dokument. It klaims to be a demonstration of the pervers result of an STV kount. Wat shud be said, in the first plas, is that ther is no agry'd proportional kounting method for party list systems, inkluding lists of aditional members. Indyd, the abov exampl shows them to be fundamentaly irational from a demokratik viw-point, tho serving partisan privilej. Again the report is hiding behind jeneralitys. And it rejekts, out of hand, STV, wich alon has an agry'd method of proportional kount, by the Droop quota.

In the sekond plas, Riker's exampl against transferabl voting dos not hav a transfer'd ( surplus ) vot, the very fytur of STV that sets it apart from al other systems. Dummett's tail-wags-the-dog argument against eliminativ kounting was suksinktly put against the Alternativ Vot, as 'the worst vots for the worst kandidats'.

( This ment that the next preferenses of the voters for the worst kandidat ar the worst vots to determin hw is elekted next.) If Churchill's freis has any myning, lojikly ther must also be the best vots for the best kandidats. STV satisfys this kriterion, bekaus in a multi-member konstituensy, the best or most popular kandidats may hav mor than the proportion of vots they nyd for elektion. This surplus of the best vots may be transfer'd, to ther next best prefer'd kandidats.

Dummett's staitment that other systems ar to be prefer'd as 'at least weakly monotonic' implIing STV is not at al, kan not be taken seriusly. To mak out that STV is 'chaotic', bekaus it taks akount of the voters' order'd chois - to say that out of STV order koms disorder is a topsy-turvy argument.

Dubl standards kom in again. X-vots, rongly, ar kounted always as first preferenses. Indyd, the tw main partys obsesivly kampain against 'wasted vots' or first preferenses for other partys' kandidats. A 'taktikal vot' is only a sekond preferens or les. The ful order of chois, requiring a 'preferens vot' lst, 2nd, 3rd etc, is supres'd information. For mor than tw kandidats, the result of an X-vot ryly is dis-order'd.

The German voting system kombins tw voting systems, the British singl member system, with a sekond X-vot for a party list. The later kud be lIk the Rejonal List propos'd, in the Lib-Lab pakt for British Euro-elektions. Such a British version of AMS wud kombin tw kinds of split voting: betwyn kandidats of diferent partys in singl member konstituensys, and betwyn kandidats of the saim party on a rejonal list - wich givs PR betwyn, but not within, partys.
The reduktion to absurdity of party lists ( wether or not of aditional members ) is that an X-vot for a party kud elekt a list kandidat that no-uon individualy voted for!

The Euro-Parliment presidensy, the Tory and Labor lydership kontests don't alow self-defyting split voting from the grosly eliminativ first past the post. But the humbl publik has to put up with that. The politicians yus an exaustiv balot, lIk the Alternativ Vot's mor mesur'd elimination, in turn, of ych kandidat with the lyst vots, wich ar a mesur of the lyst chans of wining.

A stil mor hIly order'd system is the rational mesur of popular chois by transferabl voting in multi-member konstituensys, wich is the only method that folows al 4 main skails of sientifik mesurment. As such, we may saifly say, that of al systems, STV is the lyst proun to dis-order of the voters' wishes.

Sektion 4

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'Matters of judgement' ( on p.7), as to wat komunitys konstituensys kompris, kan be an exkus for arbitrary desisions without referens to the fakts. The Working Party ignors uons mor that the most fragmentary system, of singl members, is a resent brek with the historikal Komons of ShIrs and Boros wich wud mak fair-sIz'd multi-member konstituensys today.

Terms ( on p.8,10,15) ar repyted lIk katch-freises: 'clear' or 'strong constituency links', 'stability' and 'accountability'. They ar undefended asertions in favor of singl-member konstituensys, and against STV. But the first report disdainfuly komplain'd about Irish MPs being tu akountabl to ther lokal komunitys.

STV's being tu akountabl was also karakteris'd by the first report as instability, in its 'divisiv tendensys' to alow voters to prefer individual kandidats of the saim party, as wel as diferent partys. But this STV frydom to expres a degry of national unity, as wel as party division, kombins stability with adaptability for the nation.
The only instability is to job sekurity for komplasent politicians.

STV is smyr'd ( on p.7) with

Margaret Thatcher's notorious statement that there is no such thing as society ... in the sense of community identification through constituencies, there are only individuals and their preference orderings.

The truth is Mrs Thatcher was as opos'd to STV as the Working Party is.
The point of demokrasy is that the unity of the komunity is konditional upon individual frydom. Failur to rylIs that is wI European unity is going rong. And STV is so important bekaus it dos aplI that demokratik prinsipl.

It dos so in a way konsistent with a sientifik law. This is a staitment of the konditions under wich a jeneral rul aplIs. STV aplIs to every kind of elektion at al levels of government.
This is just wat the singl member system, AMS and Rejonal List do not do. To promot thys chois-impoverish'd systems, against STV, has put 'fairnes' as wel as 'teknikal anser' at a diskount, by saying the esential is imposibl.

If a voting system is gud enuf for uon kind of elektion, it is gud enuf for them al. The report's denial of universal standards, both ethikal and sientifik, kan not be kondem'd tu strongly for vesting partikular interests of party oligarky in elektoral prosedur. And it maks a synikal mokery of the nw Labor lyder's promis 'to giv power bak to the pepl' thru konstitutional reform.

Further evidens to the Labor party's Plant Komity on elektoral reform, 1992.

Richard Lung.

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