Posts Tagged ‘constitutional’

A Fair Vote

January 11th, 2010

I try to keep this blog vaguely non-partisan, so please forgive the source for a mainly political story, but it is also relevant to constitutional law.

“Let’s start with a simple comparison.  Imagine that at the coming election we win 40% of the vote, Labour 30%, the Liberals 18% and others 12% [The results in the overnight ICM poll].  All else being equal, we’d have a Commons majority of eight.

Now reverse those first two figures.  Imagine that Labour gain 40%, we take 30%, and the other two figures stay the same.  Labour would have a majority of 138 – an 130 seat difference on the same share of the vote, according to UK Polling Report.”

– From

Interestingly, this is written by a Conservative supporter.  It has to be observed that the Conservatives were far less interested in electoral reform pre-1997, presumably because back then the Conservatives would have struggled to form a coalition Government, whereas Labour and the Liberal Democrats were more obvious bedfellows.  Indeed, even this article expressly avoids the voting system and instead addresses seat reduction and boundary changes.  Also interesting was:

“Ed Balls’ failed attempt to stop the Boundary Commission’s changes to his seat, which went all the way to judicial review.”

When I studied constitutional law, I was never quite persuaded by The Electoral Reform Society’s case for a single transferable vote system, instead I preferred Alternative Vote Plus, with my own variation that the “plus” should fill the Lords rather than add to the Commons.

Do have a click around the ERS’s website, it is a great resource of non-partisan discussion about voting system.  Whichever system you prefer, the quote above surely is the only argument needed to show that there is very little democratic spirit in the current First-Past-The-Post system.

PS – No whining about AV being difficult to count unless you have actually counted one by hand… as I have. Yes, it did take while…

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Daily Little Law Links

November 22nd, 2009
  • MSPs are trying to cajole Westminster into giving them the power to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland which sounds problematic both constitutionally, and for those unfortunate enough to straddle the the border.
  • On the Conservative’s website, Michael Howard tries to scare me out of voting for them by suggesting the repeal of the Human Rights Act.
  • I do enjoy reading Alastair Campbell’s blog, but it’s hard to make his writing fit within an legal issue most of the time.  Today is no exception, but as most of the TV news today used the story I do think he makes a lot of sense.
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Daily Little Law Links

November 13th, 2009

It’s not your imagination, these are getting shorter due largely to trust law taking longer.  Hopefully next week will be better.

  • It seems to be asking for trouble have a referendum on the voting system on an polling day, but that is apparently what Tessa Jowell has in mind.  I refer you to the much more informed UK Polling Report for more details about the proposals and its likelihood of success.
  • The BA – Iberia merger seems to me to be a legal minefield.  Competition, pensions, staff with a tendency to strike… The Times seems to agree.
  • Those accused of plotting the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001 are being moved from Guantanamo Bay to be tried in a New York federal court. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he expects prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Expect to hear a lot about evidence obtained under torture. More details in the New York Times.
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Daily Little Law Links

November 12th, 2009
  • I always thought facebook was more likely to get you in trouble rather than out of it. Yesterday the New York Times reported how it proved to be an acceptable alibi for a robbery suspect.
  • The Spectator has a great exchange showing the constitutional value of the Lords.  Apparently electric cars pose a danger to the elderly, and cow bells may be the answer.
  • Finally, in these bleak times, we can at least be cheered that some continue to scrape by on a lawyer’s salary.
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Daily Little Law Links

November 9th, 2009
  • There is a discussion progressing that Rupert Merdoch, the media overlord, will begin to charge for all his outlets’ online content.  The new development is a story in the FT today that he has some robust plans to protect this content once access is restricted.  It sounds like a boon for some lawyers, as News Corp. produces a lot of content.
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