Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Labour supreme soviet needs educating

Private Eye reports:

Labour party members in Northern Ireland have launched a selection procedure for candidates to stand in the May elections to the Stormont assembly - but the national party still refuses to allow them to field anyone against allies in the SDLP.

If this is true, it shows that centralist Labour still dictates to national parties how they will pick candidates. More to the point, it betrays ignorance of the province's electoral system. Alone among the national assemblies of the UK, Stormont uses the same fair voting system as the Republic of Ireland and local government in Scotland. Technically speaking, it is single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies. Voters mark their ballots with a 1, 2, 3 (etc) preference rather than the crude cross of Westminster elections or constituencies in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. In practice, it means that electors need not fear that picking their favourite automatically works against their second preference. So in a constituency which is largely Labour in outlook, there is no danger of a split vote allowing a Unionist candidate to come through the middle and scoop the pool. Indeed, in a multi-member constituency, there is a probability that a mix of Labour and SDLP members would be returned.

There is a simple guide here.

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