Tuesday, May 01, 2012

One very good reason to vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday

If you're in Scotland, when you cast your vote on Thursday (or before if you have a postal vote), be aware that the voting system used gives you more say in the way your Council is run and that's all down to the Liberal Democrats.

Way back in 2003, the Liberal Democrats secured the Single Transferable Vote system. This means that Councils are now more balanced in terms of the proportions of the votes cast. Gone are the days where Labour could win majority control in Councils across Scotland on a minority of the vote.

The 2007 election swept away many of these stale old Labour fiefdoms where Labour spent decades taking voters for granted because they knew the system worked in their favour. They could enjoy all the privileges of power and neglect the area and its people.

There are all sorts of systems of proportional representation but the reason STV is favoured by the Lib Dems is because it allows you to choose who you vote for. The system we use for the second vote at Holyrood, for example, or for Europe, allows you to choose a party but the individual candidates are on a party list. STV allows you to order the individual candidates in order of preference.

Such a system gives people the Councils they asked for. It's meant that many Councils are run by Coalitions. Thirteen of these across Scotland involve the Liberal Democrats. The good thing is that the balance of these coalitions is a much truer reflection of how people voted, unlike at Westminster. The House of Commons is made up of 8% Liberal Democrats - even though 23.7% of people voted Liberal Democrat at the General Election. Our true representation would be around 140 MPs and that would give us much more strength within the Coalition. Even on 8% and just 57 MPs we are managing to implement around 3/4 of our manifesto. If there were more of us, then we would have been able to do even more.  Contrast with the overall figures for Scottish Councils elected in 2007 - we got 12.6% of first preference and 13.7% of councillors, a much fairer balance. It was the same for the other parties as this briefing drawn up for the Scottish Parliament by Dr David Denver shows.

Labour had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept STV - and in fact, the Liberal Democrats would have preferred 5 and 6 member wards which would have encouraged even greater diversity and pluralism, with more seats for the Greens, for example, and other smaller parties or independents. Liberal Democrats made it happen, though.  It's revolutionised local government  in Scotland and, I think, pulled up the standard of our local authorities by some margin. It's also provided stable Government in most local authorities, except those where the SNP decided they couldn't be bothered making difficult decisions, like the Highlands and Argyll and Bute.

The introduction of STV is just one example that shows what you get when you elect Liberal Democrats - we will always try to give power away, not hoard it for ourselves. When you write your 1 in a box on Thursday, put it next to a Liberal Democrat.


Munguin said...

Local Lib Dems are the nations prostitutes, they will jump into bed with just about anyone to get a sniff of power. It really is most unseemly and certainly not what the majority of local electors wanted. In Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Borders they are like in Westminster in bed with the Tories. In Angus they are propping up an anti-SNP Angus Alliance with Independents, Labour and the Tories. While in Fife and Perth and Kinross they are in bed with the SNP. They are no solely Lib Dem councils at all. Quite a feat considering that even the Tories have South Ayrshire!

I imagine that after the election the Lib Dems will no longer be in a position to be the King maker, after all if failed Fife MP Willie Rennie thinks that a vote for an SNP councillor on Thursday you will get you a “cheerleader for independence” by the same token a vote for a Lib Dem councillor will get you a cheerleader for the Tories and their odious right wing agenda. Lets see who has the most cheerleaders on Friday.

So funny for the Lib Dems to jump up and down and try to claim that STV is all down to them and is the best thing since sliced bread. Ha ha! What happened a year ago when they didn’t want STV at all and thought that AV was much the best thing! Didn’t manage to persuade the Tories on the STV thing? Or had they not grown a backbone at that point? You should insist on another referendum with STV this time I imagine with Cameron below 30% in the polls you can demand whatever you want.

I see that failed Fife MP Willie Rennie was in my neck of the woods yesterday and actually having the cheek to “target” the Broughty Ferry ward in Dundee. I don’t normally make predictions Caron but if the Lib Dems take one of the Ferry seats I will learn Dutch, don a pair of clogs and go and live in a windmill in Amsterdam and raise Tulips! I see he had Fraser Macpherson with him, he would be better spending his time in his own ward hanging onto his own seat and not getting himself photographed at Broughty Castle. But their might be method in his madness though because by keeping Rennie in Broughty Ferry he is far away from Macphersons own stamping ground where let’s face it Fraser needs all the votes he can get.

Unknown said...

Fraser is one of the best councillors in Scotland.

As for the rest of your comment, it's even more mean spirited than your usual offerings. Did you dip your keyboard in acid before you wrote it?

No, we didn't ditch STV last year. I think the AV referendum was spectacularly ill judged to be honest - it was difficult to motivate the yes campaign because nobody really loved the system. I'd rather we hadn't had it at all. STV is and always has been Lib Dem Policy. However, we compromised on AMS for Holyrood - which, unlike AV, is a proportional system. We still want to change it to STV one day.

You seem to have a natural dislike of coalition government. What is it about parties working together that you can't stand? Do you just need to have everything your way? I think most people realise that that's just not realistic. In fact, most people grow out of thinking that they can have all they want and not consider others' views by the time they are out of nappies.


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