Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

I wonder, will the SNP use first past the post in the Independence referendum?

Posted by Jason O on May 8, 2011 in British Politics |

Here’s a thought: As the British people have decided that First Past The Post is a perfectly legitimate way to making important decisions, how about Alex Salmond using it in the referendum on Scottish Independence? See, Salmond has a problem, in that he currently needs to win 50% of the vote to win, or at least that’s the perception. But as the people have now overwhelmingly endorsed the principle of a most votes wins regardless of whether the majority agrees, this gives the SNP a fascinating option. Why not put more than two choices on the referendum ballot paper? Why not increase the options the Scottish people can vote on? You could have the status quo, giving more powers to the parliament, or complete independence? That way, Salmond will not have to win 50%, but would probably win with maybe only 40% if he can keep his voters together and split the unionist vote. True, it will mean that an important decision will be made with only minority support, but what could be more British than that? Just imagine the fun you could have with an EU referendum under those rules: Withdrawal, a common market, or the status quo?

You know, maybe I’ve been a bit harsh about First Past The Post.

2 Comments

Thirsty Gargoyle
May 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

I don’t think you’re harsh enough. The people of Britain had an opportunity to make their votes matter more, and to make more of their votes matter, and they said no.

I’ve just had it explained to me that Irish people don’t understand English people, and that we have different notions of equality. The fact that the phrase ‘wasted vote’ doesn’t exist in Ireland cuts no ice at all, and Tory friends cheerfully inform me that there’s no point making meaningful the votes of people who support candidates other than those who currently tend to be the frontrunners.

I’m just hoping people here have the wit to start surveying people to find out why people voted yes, why people voted no, and why people didn’t vote, just like we did after Lisbon I. It seems to me that if the British people were effectively shown to have been tricked by the disceit of the No campaign*, then there’d be a case for returning to the general issue of voting reform in five or ten years, maybe proposing AV+ or PR.

Certainly, as things stand people haven’t voted to keep FPTP; they’ve just voted against AV, and they did that because they were lied to, again and again. It might be different next time, especially if people start working hard to communicate the correct narrative that the NO2AV campaign kept lying to the people.

It’s worth reading the ConHome series on how the No campaign worked. It shows, above all else, the naked desire for political survival that drove the Tories and some tribal Labour people on this one. It really does seem as though they’re afraid of letting the people have any more of a say than they’ve already got.


 
david morris
May 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Wipe yourselves down & concentrate on the things that matter (to Federasts) & whilst celebrating Europe Day, I look forward to a post on more pertinent matters.

Such as

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0507/1224296372123.html

kind regards


 

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