Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Lib Dems have already won 11 seats in May's local elections

Good news from an openDemocracy article on wards with only a single nominated candidate in next month's local elections: the Liberal Democrats are guaranteed 11 victories.

The less good news is that there are also 5 seats with just an Independent candidate, 17 with just a Labour candidate and 267 with just a Conservative.

Such non-contests have always been a sad fact of political life in this part of the world, so I am not surprised to learn that the East Midlands has more of them than any other region.

Still, openDemocracy is right to see their existence as a problem:
How did this happen? In England, elections use the ‘first past the post’ system – where all votes that don’t elect the winner are effectively thrown away. Over many decades, areas become effectively single-party fiefdoms – ‘safe seats’ that seem impossible to challenge. We’ve all heard “x party could put a rosette on a donkey and still get in here”. Equally, we’ve all heard: “Your party can’t win here.” 
It turns out, under first past the post, it’s often true – and parties take note, refusing to put resources into ‘unwinnable’ seats. That means whole areas can become electoral wastelands, with voters ignored and denied real choice. 
As we’ve seen this can – at the most extreme – lead to parties not even bothering to contests seats and denying voters even a token say in who represents them. 
This is why today we see we see hundreds of councillors - nearly all Conservatives - measuring the curtains in town halls across the country before polling day has even begun. A sign of just how dysfunctional our electoral system has become.
Later: There may be even more uncontested seats than suggested here.

I am told that in Oadby and Wigson there are three three-member wards with three Lib Dems and only one Conservative standing.

So we are guaranteed six successful candidates before a vote is cast.

Later still. I am also told that there is a seat in Lincolnshire with no candidates at all.

1 comment:

nigel hunter said...

This all adds up to why people are dissillitioned with politics or more precise FPTP .Change is needed.The party should throw out the ol d (Labour .Conservatives)and look for the new.A new modern Lib Dems.Goodness knows Farage has a lead on us perfecting his strategy etc over 20yrs. He knows how to butter his bread. We have a lot of catching up to do.