Tag Archives: #RejectedElected

The Rejected Elected: Scottish Government Final Response

I received the Scottish Governments response to my petition to make the Scottish parliament electoral system more democratic and accountable. It was, as I had long expected, a confirmation that the Scottish Government has no plans to act in this area in any meaningful fashion.

In their response they cited various reports from countries around the world which operate on a list system or variants thereof. One quote from a report produced in New Zealand encapsulated the reason why the SNP, nor to be fair, the other parties, wish to change the system:

The report states that there is “considerable advantage in allowing parties to both protect a limited number of their more valuable MPs in marginal seats and reward  superior candidates in unwinnable seats”.

That’s right. The evidence the Scottish Government cites in defence of the status quo basically says that the political establishment has the right to protect itself from the judgement of the electorate! In the recent UK election there was the slightest of chances that Prime Minister Theresa May could have lost her seat. From the lowliest backbencher to the occupier of No10 Downing Street, every seat was up for grabs and the people had the right to decide who gets to stay and who is to be shown the door. That’s the essence of democratic government. Yet the same party who rail against the undemocratic House of Lords are quite comfortable with a system which sees the political parties manipulate pre-determined lists to ensure that some of them are immune to the judgement of the electorate.

In the process of creating and submiting my petition I’ve become convinced that the party list system must be consigned to the bin and that the Single Transferrable Vote system should be adopted, putting the decision as to who makes it into government into the hands of the people, not the cliques who run a tight circle of control within political parties.

The Scottish Governments response was in two parts, reproduced below.

Reform the Scottish Electoral System: First Committee Hearing

I attended Thursdays Petitions Committee meeting on Thursday for my petition being discussed and was pleasantly surprised that it was not dismissed out of hand.Johann Lamont who chaired the meeting stated that she sympathised with the aim of the petition and that she could see the strong argument for the need for a change.The committee pointed out that the Scottish parliament has called for a review of the Scottish Parliament electoral system and that this is due to take place imminently.Conservative list MSP Michelle Ballantyne did agree that where a sitting MSP lost their seat but remained an MSP due to their placing on the list was clearly undemocratic.

The committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government and the Electoral Commission and seek their responses, and I’ll post an update in due course.

Minutes of the meeting.

Video of the meeting (discussion of petition starts at 09:46

The official transcript will be available from 6pm on 30/10/17

Reform The Scottish Electoral System Petition: To Be Heard On Thursday 26th October 2017

The Scottish Parliaments Petitions Committee will be considering a number of petitions this coming Thursday. One of those petitions is the one I submitted some time back calling for a reform of the Scottish electoral system to prevent misuse and manipulation of the party list system by political parties to ensure that certain candidates are guaranteed a seat.

The papers for the committee meeting can be found HERE.

The meeting will be broadcast live and can be viewed at the THIS link from 0915hrs on Thursday morning.

There has been some very good feedback to the petition and I hope this will be discussed and taken on board when the committee meet. Given that the petition directly affects the electoral prospects of the MSP’s who are deliberating, as well as their close colleagues, I think it unlikely that will go any further, but stranger things have happened. Roll on Thursday!

Reform Scotlands Electoral System Petition: Holyrood Date Confirmed

My petition to reform the Scottish electoral system to prevent parties utilising the electoral list so that certain candidates cannot be deselected by the public will be heard by the Petitions Committee on Thursday 26th October 2017. Time TBC. The petition gained a total of 485 signatures, and I’d like to thank everyone who signed the petition and especially those who took the additional time to leave comments on it.

This will be live streamed and I’ll post a link to it nearer the time.

Holyrood Electoral Practices are as Undemocratic As the House of Lords

Mhairi Black, The National, 24/06/17

Recently Mhairi Black MP wrote in her column in The National of the scandalous decision by the Tory party to appoint rejected Westminster candidate Ian Duncan to the House of Lords so that he could take up a position in the Scottish Office. Ms Black said this of the House of Lords: “They are handpicked political cronies who don’t have to worry about being elected or even being kicked out when they perform poorly – it’s a secure job for life with no danger of redundancy or the sack.”

I agree. I also think that when political parties game the Holyrood list system so that their chosen placemen (and indeed women) can never be removed from office then that system is also in need of radical reform. As it is, it is in danger of becoming every bit as undemocratic as the UK government’s unelected second chamber.

I have begun to share my petition to reform the Holyrood electoral system with MSP’s and some MP’s. As yet (and as I expected) it has been by and large ignored by almost all who I have so far contacted, with the exceptions of Ross Greer MSP and Andy Wightman, both Green MSP’s.

If you agree with me that the Holyrood electoral system is in need of reform then please sign my petition which is currently lodged with the Scottish Parliament. It can be found HERE. You can also leave your comments which will be seen by the Petitions Committee. Additionally you can contact your own MSP and ask what they are doing to make our electoral system to make it more accountable and democratic. While you are waiting you can watch this…

Reform The Scottish Parliament Electoral System

In the 2016 Holyrood Election numerous candidates for election were resoundingly rejected by their constituents, yet due to the parties they represent placing them favourably on the regional list, they were elected anyway.
We, the Scottish people, are told that we have a democratic government/parliament. We are told that if we do not like the government or our elected representative we can vote them out. Clearly that is not the case.
It is entirely undemocratic that 45 MSP’s of all parties were elected to stand as MSP’s having been rejected by the voters in their respective constituencies. In some cases those rejected were the incumbents. The latter circumstances are of course the most insulting to the electorate, for no matter how poorly performing a sitting MSP may be, how out of touch they are with the local area, if they are valued by their respective parties they cannot be got rid of by the voters.
In my view, to prevent this from occurring constituency candidates should not be allowed to be placed on the regional list, and should gain office on merit. Furthermore, to prevent manipulation of the list, the ranking system should be removed. If a party gains for example three list places, those three posts should be drawn at random from the list submitted by each party, and not a from an order selected in advance; a pool rather than a determined list. This would in my opinion encourage all parties to make sure that they submitted only the very brightest and best to represent their parties, and by extension, the electorate.
In addition to the above, the actual system of regionally allocating members fails to truly represent the percentages of votes cast nationally, creating an imbalance to the detriment of the smaller parties, and this needs to be reviewed to reflect the national balance. For example in the May 2016 election the Scottish Green Party gained 6.6% of the vote share which equates to around 8 MSPs, and for which they only gained 6 seats. Similarly in the 2011 election they received 4.4% of the vote which should mean 5 MSP’s, and for which they actually gained 2 seats.
I feel that in the years since 1999 when the first elections to the reconvened Scottish Parliament took place there has been no examination of the system itself to ensure that it is delivering a fair and representative system which reflects the will of the Scottish people, and that such a review is long overdue.
To this end I have submitted a petition through the Scottish Parliament petitions system which is now live, and will remain so until the 28th August 2017.
If you agree that our Scottish electoral system is in need of reform then I would urge you to please sign the petition which can be found HERE.
You can also add your own comments and suggestions, all of which are welcome.
Thank You