Is one of the prizes of victory controlling the system?
One of the most disgraceful and anti-democratic features of the current government has been the way it has sought to fix the electoral system for party advantage and to ignore the Electoral Commission when it has called for changes to deal with potential voter fraud.
This has been an outrageous use of power by ministers which might have set the precedent for the Tories to do the same if ever they form the government. Don’t do to others as they could do to you.
So issues like lax postal voting system or, even worse, the process on how voters are registered are being operated in favour of Labour in spite of strong warnings by the Commission. A key proposal is to introduce the same registration throughout Britain that is now in place in Northern Ireland – each person registering individually rather than by household. Labour thinks it would be hurt so it is ignored.
An incoming Cameron government would fix this straight away but would also, I believe, make other changes to take away some of the electoral bias to Labour that we see in the much higher GB vote shares the Tories need to form a government compared with with their opponents.
Currently boundaries are based on the most previous census [see correction below] which because of the prolonged nature of the process means that they are usually nearly ten years out of date. Could the Tories take away the census link and base it on registered voters? It’s hard to argue against and would allow reviews to take place immediately after each general election.
The Tory proposal to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to
500 590 would precipitate a major change in the way constituencies are worked out because they would have to be larger. This would take away some of the obvious anomalies – Welsh seats have an average of 55,000 voters while English ones have 70,0000 – and allow new lines to be drawn in a way that’s less favourable to Brown’s party.
A veteran of previous reviews tells me that in the past Labour have been very adept at arguing for boundaries that create good prospects for them in the towns by pushing the more Tory areas into large rural constituencies where the votes are wasted. Enlarging constituencies to reduce the MP
total to 500by 60 would allow the opposite to happen.
Whatever an incoming Tory government is going to change the system and the outcome will be less favourable to Labour than it is at the moment.
FACTUAL UPDATE: Stephen has posted this:-
â€œCurrently boundaries are based on the most previous census which because of the prolonged nature of the process means that they are usually nearly ten years out of date. Could the Tories take away the census link and base it on registered voters? Itâ€™s hard to argue against and would allow reviews to take place immediately after each general election.â€
This is incorrect. Electoral registration is entirely separate from census-taking.
Review of Parliamentary Constituencies in England (2000):
The Commission do not base their recommendations on forecast or projected electorates or on populations, actual or projected. The Commission are required to base their recommendations on the numbers of electors on the electoral registers at the start of a review and they are unable to take account of any under-registration or over-registration of electors which is sometimes claimed in some districts.
I defer to his greater knowledge – I certainly did not know that.