Archive for Single Transferable Vote

Winners and Losers

Posted in Biographical, Crosswords, Politics with tags , , on May 30, 2019 by telescoper

Hopefully the hecticity of the last week or so will now begin to die down and I can get on with the rest of my examination marking, which I hope to complete today.

Now to a couple of updates.

Yesterday I took delivery of the above book. Regular readers of this blog will probably not recall that I won the Financial Times Crosssword competition way back in February. The prize never arrived so I contacted them to ask what had happened. It must have got lost in the post, but they kindly sent a replacement which arrived promptly. The book is not a dictionary, but is about the story of the creation of one – the Oxford English Dictionary to be precise. I look forward to reading it!

The other matter to be updated concerns the Irish Elections to the European Parliament. The counting of these proved to be a slow process but watching the regular updates on the web as votes were transferred is actually rather fascinating. It’s surprisingly difficult to predict where second choice votes of eliminated candidates will end up. The Green Party seems rather `transfer-friendly’, for example, whereas Sinn Féin is not.

In my own constituency of Midlands-North-West it took thirteen rounds of counting to pick the four MEPs: one for Sinn Féin, two for Fine Gael and one strange but probably harmless Independent. The turnout was about 50%. I think Fianna Fáil made a tactical error by fielding two candidates: neither had enough first-preference votes to make the cut.

I was worried that the dreadful Peter Casey might sneak in in fourth place but he fell well short of the required transfers, though he still got a worryingly large number of votes. The Irish Media are making the same mistake pandering to him as they have done in the UK with Nigel Farage: he gets far more airtime than the other candidates despite being obviously unfit for office.

Elswhere, Dublin elected MEPs from the Green Party (1), Fine Gael (1) and Fianna Fáil (1) and one Independent standing under the banner of `Independents for Change’ (I4C). The incumbent Sinn Féin candidate Lynn Boylan lost her seat. The 4th candidate here will only take a seat in the European Parliament if and when the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

As I write there’s a recount going on in Ireland South, but it looks like the winners will be Fine Gael (2), Fianna Fáil (1), I4C (1) and the fifth (who will only take up a seat after Brexit) will probably be from the Green Party. It looks like incumbent Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada (and unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency) will lose her seat, but the count is very close: only a few hundred votes are in it, hence the recount. UPDATE: in fact there will be a full recount of the whole ballot, which could take weeks.

Overall it’s clear that the losers are Sinn Féin, who lost two MEPs (and also about half their councillors in the local elections). After appearing to improve their vote share in recent years this is a definite reverse for them. The party that gained the most is the Green Party, with (probably) two MEPs and a strong showing in Midlands-North-West. I wonder if they can keep this momentum going for a General Election?

Interestingly, unlike the rest of the `United’ Kingdom Northern Ireland uses the Single Transferable Vote system for European Elections too. There Sinn Féin came top of first preferences and won one seat, with another for the Alliance and one for the DUP. That’s two-to-one in favour of `Remain’.

Local Election News

Posted in Maynooth, Politics with tags , , , on May 3, 2019 by telescoper

As results come in from the local elections held in the Disunited Kingdom yesterday, I see that the results have been so bad for the Conservative Party that one Tory MP has been reduced to tears. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to burst out laughing. It’s also rather hilarious to see various factions (including the BBC news) spin the big gains of the Liberal Democrats as a message to `get on with Brexit’, but at the same time it’s also sad to see a country so gripped by madness that it is reduced to such a state.

UPDATE: With 218 out of 248 English Councils having been counted, the Conservative Party has lost an impressive 1072 councillors, but not to Labour who have lost 110. The big winners are the Liberal Democrats (+582), the Greens (+152) and Independents (+505). UKIP are also down by 99 to just 29 councillors. Both Labour and Tories are still claiming that this sends a message to get on with Brexit. Bizarre. I wonder what they think a message to stop Brexit would look like?

Anyway there were no local elections in Wales yesterday so I didn’t vote. I am still eligible to do so, of course, as I pay Council Tax on my house in Cardiff. I would have had a tricky problem deciding what to do if I had. As a lifelong Labour voter (and member until recently) I can no longer support them because of their `policy’ on Brexit, so probably would have voted for Plaid Cymru. That’s who I would vote for in the European Parliament elections.

I am eligible to vote in both the United Kingdom (Wales) and Ireland for the forthcoming European Parliament elections (assuming they go ahead), but one is supposed to vote in one or the other rather than both so I’ve decided to vote here as this is the country in which I am `normally resident’. The European Parliament elections take place here in Ireland on Friday 24th May (three weeks from today) at the same time as the local council elections here.

Kildare County Council will have 40 councillors of which five are elected in Maynooth. For the purpose of the European Parliament elections, Ireland is divided into three multi-member constituencies: Dublin, Ireland South and Midlands North-West. Maynooth is in the last of these, which stretches from Kildare across to Galway and up to Donegal. It will elect four MEPs. The same voting method is used in both elections: the single transferable vote.

(The UK has multi-member constituencies for the European Parliament elections too, but uses the D’Hondt system in which one votes for a party list rather than an individual.)

I’m a relative newcomer to Irish politics, and am yet to decide who to vote for in these elections. I certainly won’t vote for either of the two leading neoliberal/conservative parties, Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin will probably be top of my list of preferences in both ballots. On the other extreme, tax-dodger, racist gobshite and failed Presidential candidate Peter Casey is sure to be bottom of my list for the MEP elections: he’s unfit for any kind of public office, in my opinion.

Apart from the different voting system(s) and dates, there is another noticeable difference between the UK and Ireland at election time:

Posters like this pop up everywhere on lampposts during election (and referendum) campaigns in Ireland, as opposed to the larger billboard-type posters that seem to be favoured in Britain. At least these show you what your candidates look like, which is not the case if you vote for a party list. Such posters are specifically permitted by law but most be taken down within a certain time after the election, otherwise the party responsible is fined.