Thursday, February 11, 2010

Revisiting Old haunts.

Been away since yesterday morning, down in the Welsh Capital. Needed to meet up with Nick Bourne to discuss approach to opposing school closures in Powys. Its seems to be forgotten in Powys that this is a devolved matter. Nick is onside with us, and tabled a Statement of Opinion yesterday, defending our high schools and their sixth forms. MPs and Westminster candidates can shout however much they like (and we are doing) - but its AMs and Councillors who make the relevant decisions.

Went to Jamie's Italian for supper. Very 'city' and very nice. A Jamie 'clone served us. I recommend the Fish in a Bag (Sea Bass). Could have only a smidgen of wine because I was appearing on TV later on in the evening. Before heading back down to the Bay, we walked along Caroline Street to see Charleston's Brasserie, which has been so much in the Montgomeryshire news this week. I know you can't tell a book by its cover, but Mrs D and I were not tempted to explore beyond the front door. Couldn't see any blood on the floor.

Then it was down to the Bay for the Welsh Language political programme, CF99. Vaughan and Bethan in charge. Fellow guests were Angharad Mair, Iestyn Davies and Paul Flynn. The issues under discussion were the value of party conferences, the 'powers' referendum, and Proportional Representation. I said I preferred FPTP, especially over the Alternative Vote system. Vaughan told me I was living in the past (or something similar) - unlike the other three 'modern' thinkers. I hadn't moved on. Made no sense to me. I reckon AV is less proportional than FPTP, and is more prone to tactical voting. Must admit that I'm more taken with the Additional Member System used to elect Assembly Members, without the iniquitous ban on dual candidacy.

Back down to the Bay this morning for a gossip with Daran Hill, rapidly emerging as Wales top political guru. He's a real old gossip as well, and that's two of us. And then it was back to Llandrindod Wells for a Powys Council debate - which is subject of my next post. Nice city is Cardiff. Really enjoyed my eight years as a mid-week resident. Mrs D misses the flat (which is let). I miss it as well.


Seion said...

Glyn, I was surprised to hear you say on CF99 that FPTP was better than the alternative vote. Perhaps you would like to explain why.

Under the Alternative Vote (AV) , the winning candidate will represent a particular constituency. I think that this is important. On the other hand the present Assembly voting system results in two kinds of AM.

Under FPTP the majority of MP’s in Westminster have been elected by the majority of the electorate in their constituency. The concern is that the rest of the MP’s were elected by receiving only a minority of the votes cast. Surely it’s better that they can claim the support of the majority of the voters in their constituency.

AV is not a form of proportional representation. PR is something different, leading to political parties making decisions about who will form a government. It is better that the people make the decision at the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

What did Edna have to say about the goings on??

Glyn Davies said...

Seion - I tend to be wary of change, and would not want to move from FPTP unless to something better. I recognise that the weakness of FPTP does not reflect the national percentage vote very accurately. So why on earth would I support a system which has been shown to be even more 'unproportional'. There are systems of PR which do offer a more proportionate result, and one of those is the Additional Mmeber System used in Assembly elections - which also has the benefit of being understood by the electorate. But on balance I prefer to stick with FPTP.

Anon - She told me lots of stuff, some of which is interesting to only me, and some of which I may tell you about sometime.

Anonymous said...

The longer it is kept quiet, the more harm it will do to the party come election day.
Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

Are the Welsh Conservatives coming up with a Get Wales Back to Work Plan?

Doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight.

Wales needs a Party in Power that is pro-jobs at its core - not just talking up the walk, but walking the walk.

Seion said...

So Glyn you say that you are wary of change. I’m not sure what you mean by that. Does that mean that you think that most things are fine the way they are?

The problem with FTPT is that is undemocratic. Governments tend to be formed that only reflect the support of the minority of the electorate. This cannot be good. I think that this is one of reasons why there is such apathy about politics. I would think that to ensure that a government has the support of a majority of the electorate should be priority number one.

You say “why on earth would I support a system which has been shown to be even more 'unproportional'”. What does that mean? That doesn’t make sense, when under AV an MP would command the support of a majority of the electors in the constituency.

The electoral system has needed changing for a long time. Clearly when there were only two political parties there would have been no problem. However when there are multi-party elections the situation is very different.

You say that the “Additional Member System used in Assembly elections … has the benefit of being understood by the electorate.” People may have accepted it, but I think very few people understand it. How many people have any idea that number of extra seats that a political party gains, is calculated by using a formula thought up by an academic,d'Hondt, least of all knowing the basis for it.

Changing the electoral system from the unfair FPTP should be a first step in reinvigorating politics. And as Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan have argued in their excellent book, “The Plan”, we also need open primaries.

Glyn Davies said...

Seion - I'm not particularly bothered about this issue, but I have to answer when asked. I prefer FPTP; you prefer AV. That's OK.

I accept that the weakness of FPTP is that the overall result can be unproportional. And I'm told by people who have a facination with this subject the AV can produce an overall resuly even more unproportional. There are those who calculate that it would produce a permanant left-of-centre majority. There are forms of PR that do produce a proportional result, but they involve giving much more control to party machines. Reason I 'accept' the Additional Member System is that it retains the link twixt politician and voter in most cases, delivers a largely proportional result, and is a system already in use in Wales. But its no big deal to me.

And I'm very familiar with the 'open primary' system of selection. Not only do I enthusiastically agree with it, but I was selected by this system in Montgomeryshire in 2007.