Sunday, 31 July 2016

AV Modified is what the Con-Lib coalition needs in order to provide what the Lib-Dems require and what both the Conservative and Labour reformer MPs can be persuaded to swallow.


(At the invitation of The Lib-Dems Candidate for Wimbledon, Shas Shaheen, I met both Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes in July 2010 in the Commons and handed them this paper personally urging them to modify the terms of the AV referendum in time in order to secure the support of Labour reformers)

July 2010

1.      The Con-Lib coalition is a wonderful expression of the character of our political traditions of compromise and practicality. It is a step on the road to re-enforcing our representative democracy which has been smothered under adversarial ideologies fostered by the FPTP System. This Coalition-Government, unlike other governments for decades, is a majority government, elected and backed by  59 % of the voters. However it is based on a freak result that is unlikely to recur while FPTP rules in its present form.
2.      AV in its simple form cannot change FPTP.  If at all it will reinforce and perpetuate it. It will definitely not help the Lib-Dems. Indeed it will stifle their aspiration for reform. Gordon Brown understood this very well when he adopted it as a sop to woo Lib-Dem voters. In a similar fashion David Cameron grabbed it with alacrity to help him to solve the last obstacle to form his Coalition. By declaring recently his intention to campaign against AV in the referendum he showed his true colours. But even a YES in a referendum on AV as it is now can achieve nothing in redressing the imbalance between votes and seats in parliament. On the contrary it will serve only to bury the case for reform for generations.
3.      To be effective AV has to conform to the way voters have been accustomed over the generations to cast their votes. Voters are used to voting with one X for one individual candidate that belongs to a party. Even an independent is deemed by the constituent voters as belonging to a one-member party. Changing that will result in even less participation as indeed happened at least in England both in the elections for the European Parliament and the London Mayor.
4.      Moreover some MPs and many traditional Tories consider AV in its present form as giving two votes to some voters but not to all those who want to stick to the traditional one ballot to choose one individual candidate. So how to proceed? The answer is simplicity itself. Instead of confusing the busy citizen with a list of candidates to choose one and grade the others in a long list of preferences the voter can choose his/her preferred candidate and his/her party as is the case today. If that specific vote does not succeed in electing the Constituency MP “CMP” in a simple majority that vote goes to that candidate’s party and grouped and added together with such other unsuccessful votes nationwide to elect a limited number of Party MPs “PMP” say a 20 per cent of Parliamentary seats. At present the ratio would be 519 CMP + 130 PMP = 649. The vote is not wasted. It stays with the “family”
5.      The adoption of such a modified AV will not only increase democratic representation but it could bring about much wider participation of the electorate from the recent low levels of around 60 per cent. In addition when this modified AV is applied it can strengthen rather than weaken the status of Parliament and Parliamentarians, lying so low lately.
6.      By substituting the long lists of graded preferences and passing on the unsuccessful votes to the candidate’s party, this version of AV gives some weight to the votes of unsuccessful candidates and brings fairness into the electoral process. AV in this modified version preserves the Westminster model of FPTP for the traditionalists and infuses it with a dose of PR to satisfy the innovators ensuring a greater representation. Thus AV in this way carries out electoral reform without an upheaval.
7.      A big advantage of this modified version of AV over other systems is its flexibility; this makes it possible to introduce it gently without going against the grain of our traditions where the relationship of the MP to his/her constituents is sacrosanct. The British balk at revolution.  This modified AV provides the evolution which we all prefer. It retains the FPTP System with its backbone of the Constituency. It simply modifies the FPTP slightly without drastically changing its advantage in preserving the stability of  governments.
8.      This modification of AV is borrowed from another electoral system called TR Total Representation. (A brief summary of it can be found on the Electoral Reform Society website: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=154  OR email AN.Post@btinternet.com )
9.      The Lib-Dems’ zero option of “PR or nothing” kept them for decades as a protest party. And so they would have stayed after the recent elections. It is the failure of the Conservatives to gain those extra 20 seats that gave an unexpected opportunity to Nick Clegg. To his credit he exploited it to the full.  Now  a door has been opened both to improve the Lib-Dems’s present and future influence in politics. Politics is the art of the possible. A bird in hand is better than five on the tree. If the Lib-Dems push now for this modified version of AV and secure a YES vote in the referendum they can at least be sure of achieving a partial reform that both big parties could reluctantly swallow while giving the Lib-Dems the non-recurring chance to double their seats in the Commons.  Following is a simulation of the results of the recent elections using this version of AV.
10.  The PR element of this version of AV gives an active role and leverage to the runner-ups in the constituencies by keeping their hopes alive even in “safe seats” They are given a chance to compete for a PMP seat at any General Election depending on their level of support or wait for another round at the next to fight for a CMP seat. Thus AV converts the rival runner-ups into vigilant watch-dogs, monitoring the incumbent CMPs and guaranteeing their constant accountability.

Simulation using the data from the UK General Election, May 2010
















Votes



Adjusted
Successful

Unsuccessful

PMPs
Total

Party
Cast

Seats

CMPs
Votes

Votes

130
Seats














C
10,706,388
36.11%
306
47.15%
245
7,302,080
52.22%
3,404,308
21.73%
28
273
42.06%
Lab
8,601,349
29.01%
258
39.75%
206
5,000,922
35.77%
3,600,427
22.98%
30
236
36.39%
LD
6,827,832
23.03%
57
8.78%
46
1,231,743
8.81%
5,596,089
35.72%
46
92
14.18%













UKIP
917,175
3.09%
0
0.00%
0
0
0.00%
917,175
5.85%
8
8
1.17%
BNP
564,321
1.90%
0
0.00%
0
0
0.00%
564,321
3.60%
5
5
0.72%
SNP
491,376
1.66%
6
0.92%
5
88,352
0.63%
403,024
2.57%
3
8
1.25%
Green
285,616
0.96%
1
0.15%
1
16,238
0.12%
269,378
1.72%
2
3
0.47%
SF
171,942
0.58%
5
0.77%
4
102,290
0.73%
69,652
0.44%
1
5
0.71%
DUP
168,216
0.57%
8
1.23%
6
119,235
0.85%
48,981
0.31%
       1
7
1.05%
PC
165,394
0.56%
3
0.46%
2
35,743
0.26%
129,651
0.83%
1
3
0.54%
SDLP
110,970
0.37%
3
0.46%
2
51,596
0.37%
59,374
0.38%
0
3
0.45%
UCUNF
102,361
0.35%
0
0.00%
0
0
0.00%
102,361
0.65%
1
1
0.13%
Eng Dem
64,826
0.22%
0
0.00%
0
0
0.00%
64,826
0.41%
1
1
0.08%
Alliance
42,762
0.14%
1
0.15%
1
12,839
0.09%
29,923
0.19%
0
1
0.16%
Ind.
21,181
0.07%
1
0.15%
1
21,181
0.15%
0
0.00%
0
1
0.12%













Others
408,502
1.38%
0
0.00%
0
0
0.00%
408,502
2.61%
3
3
0.52%













Totals:
29,650,211
100.00%
649
100.00%
519
13,982,219
100.00%
15,667,992
100.00%
130
649
100.00%













N.B.  Total seat figures for DUP and SDLP appear incorrect due to decimal rounding effects due to the need to create adjusted CMP figures for simulation
           Revised CMPs based on 80% of actual seats won; 130 PMP seats based on 20% of existing 650 common's seats




1.      This simulation is for illustrative purpose. It assumes the ratio between CMPs and PMPs to be 80/20. It revised and recast the real May results to produce a 519 CMPs + 130 PMPs = 649 MPs
2.      In the first 4 columns the total figures and percentages of actual votes and seats are tabulated. Total MPs is 649.
3.      The next three columns adjust the total figures in accordance with the AV Modified System of 80/20 ratio of CMPs and PMPs. The total CMPs is 519 being 80 percent of 649.
4.      The next  three columns show how the unsuccessful votes are distributed amongst the parties to end up with the new  PMPs Seats of 130 being 20 per cent of 649
5.      The next two columns give the final number of MPs (CMPs and PMPs) of the new 80/20 total of 649.
6.      The balance between Labour and the Conservatives stays the same with a reduction of seats. The Conservatives keeps their first position to form the Government. Labour is the second biggest Party.
7.      The Lib-Dems double their strength to 92
8.      All other Parties increase their representations but their influence is still kept to a manageable minimum to avoid destabilising the Government as happens in pure PR Systems’ countries.(e.g. Holland or Israel)

Aharon Nathan, Wimbledon, 10 July 2010

Friday, 8 July 2016

Will Israel Survive the Next Generation? (Israel Arab Conflict)

Synopsis for Discussion - Aharon Nathan 8 July 2018

Background
1.      Israel is unique. Its achievements in seventy years are un-paralleled in history; each and every one is hardly short of a miracle. Having said that I can’t see Israel surviving the next generation owing to dangers from outside and more so from inside.  Why?
2.      Because our victory in 1948 led to arrogance which was augmented in 1967 leaving us to believe that we are invincible. After Ben Gurion, Israel lacked a clear policy of survival.  She has been guided wrongly by  successive leaders who resorted to Tactical responses to events instead of pursuing a clear headed Strategy based on the realities surrounding the country from outside and transforming it inside.
3.      Subsequent to 1967 all seemingly military victories were equivocal which led us to ignore the Geography and Demography of our situation vis-à-vis our enemies.  In the long term these twin dangers will slowly but surely come to be our undoing unless we take immediate steps now. Unfortunately however our political system is in the way, preventing us to think of these steps let alone implementing them. Today we need a single minded Ben Gurion.

Responses and Solutions
Following are my solutions based on the dictates of Geography and Demography and not on ideology and wishful thinking:
1.      Change the electoral system in Israel to TR, Total Representation which is essentially a fusion of the constituency FPTP Westminster System and Israel’s present Proportional Representation. My books and articles and those of my supporters in English and Hebrew are there to give the answers to all questions that might be raised. The purpose of TR is to make the Knesset truly representative while creating a stable government that can take necessary but unpopular decisions to face the challenges inside and outside Israel. Moreover it stops the Judicial Arm from legislating from the Bench.  
2.      Negotiate a quick separation from the West Bank with the Palestinian Authority along the lines of the plan of MK Hilik Bar as approved by the Labour Party (Avoda). Failing an agreement with Palestinian leaders, Israel should implement it unilaterally. I have been advocating just that since 2001.
3.      Ensure the separation of Gaza from the West Bank through a demilitarised independent Republic State of Gaza or any other form of a political entity physically and legally separated from Palestine on the West Bank. Otherwise Israel will be in danger of being cut in half through future simultaneous pincer attack from Gaza and Hebron.

All the above is explained fully in my English Book  “Israel : State or Ghetto” from Amazon and Kindle and Kindle and in my Hebrew Book : “ Hametsiut Machtiva” Realities Dictate published by CECI Tel Aviv. For details of  TR see Dr Ken Ritchie's “Fixing our BrokenDemocracy: The Case for Total Representation" from Amazon £7.50 for print edition and just £1 in Kindle.