10/05/2007

An all-Wales list?

Vaughan Roderick made a post on his blog yesterday about the list system. In the post he suggested that one of the ways of doing away with some of the vagaries of the list system would be to have one all Wales list rather than five regional lists. Vaughan claims that a single list would make the list more proportional.

Vaughan isn't the first person to suggest this; the Greens have advocated an all Wales list for many years. Many have commentated the folly of having regions based on European Parliamentary constituencies that no longer exist.

I have worries about a single list, however. Our MEP's are chosen on an all Wales basis. Needles to say they are all from the south. The current list system gives a very poor geographical spread of representatives in its present form. None of the North Wales list members live in the west of the region. With the loss of Glyn Davies and Lisa Francis none of the current regional members for Mid and West Wales are from the Mid bit.

The map shows the concentration (in red) of the areas where list members are based; the blue bit shows how much of Wales doesn’t have a local list member. If we had an all Wales list I fear that the blue bit would be grater and that the red bit would be concentrated around a ten-mile radius of Cardiff. Too many people in north and mid Wales feel alienated from the Assembly now. An all-Wales list with a Cardiff centric bias would add to that feeling of alienation.

7 comments:

  1. It's pretty obvious that the list system isn't working as a proportional balance.
    It's equally clear that new powers will mean a greater workload for the Assembly and that 60 was always too few AMs - there are councils with more members and N Ireland has 108 Assembly members with a population only half that of Wales.
    The simplest way to improve the proportionality in Wales would be to have 2 AMs returned per constituency. That would restore the local link for AMs, all AMs would be equal in terms of status and in all seats the majority would have voted for a winner (at the moment, we have places like Wrexham and Merthyr where only 28% and 37% voted for the AM).
    If this system was adopted Labour and Plaid would both have an AM in the Rhondda, representing 90% of those who voted. Of course Labour (or anyone else) could opt to put up a second candidate if they chose.

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  2. May be its proportional not to land mass but to population concentration That seems fair

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  3. matt wright10/05/2007 11:01

    Interesting debate. Present system far from ideal. Key is to have a link between constituents and a member. Accountability is vital,

    Matt

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  4. Aren't Alun Davies and Nerys Evans based in Aberystwyth?

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  5. According to Plaid's website Nerys is based in Carmarthenshire. The last I heard of Alun was that he was selling cigarettes in Cardiff

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  6. You misunderstand the idea of list members. They are not supposed to represent the interests of a specific area.The aim is to ensure that there is an element of PR in the election result. In European countries with a mixed system the leading party members often stand on the list because they are then not accused of favouring one particular constituency. The trouble with the assembly is that over the last 8 years list AMs have often acted as super constituency members intervening in issues in the areas represented by the fptp members. The most democratic method and one which would encourage voters would be an open list system covering the whole of Wales. It would stop the election to the assembly through merely currying favour with the party faithful.Bethan Jenkins might have some ability but the simple fatc is that she is an Am merely because of Plaid's olicy on women and the fact that 14 members voted for her.The parties would also have to ensure that the candidates selected on the list were electable. Do you think the Labour party would have selected Alun Davies or Joyce Watson on an open list system?

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  7. Thanks for you comment Anonymous. I do understand the list system and I do understand the nature of Wales.

    Much of north and mid Wales feels ignored by the Assembly now. It may not be true but it is the general perception. Whatever the theory of lists, if list members came from an even smaller area of Wales than at present the perception that the less populated areas were being ignored would be increased.

    When was the last time a south Wales / all Wales MEP held a surgery in Llandudno or Wrexham, never mind in Prestatyn, Denbigh, Llangefni, Porthmadog or Dolgellau?

    An all Wales list would result in the FACT sod the theory that a person living in Cardiff would have the choice of 24 AM's to lobby to fight the local fight; a person living in Rhyl would have Ann Jones!

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