Presentation on theme: "What are its advantages and disadvantages?"— Presentation transcript:
1What are its advantages and disadvantages? The AMS in ScotlandLearning Intentions: to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the AMS using a case study of the 2011 Scottish parliament elections and the majority SNP Scottish Government.What are its advantages and disadvantages?
2Aims of presentation This presentation looks at How the Additional Member System (AMS) voting system works in ScotlandAdvantages of AMSCriticisms of AMS
3AMS VOTING SHOULDN’T BE COMPLICATED Voters place an “X” on the constituency ballot paper for the party/individual they want to voter forVoters then place an “X” on the regional ballot paper for the party they want to vote forShould be dead simple..First Vote in Scottish Parliamentary elections. Place an X next to the candidate of your choice. How complicated is that?Second vote in Scottish Parliamentary Elections. Place an X next to the party of your choice. How complicated is that?
4VOTERS HAVE TWO TYPES OF MSP Claire Baker, LabAnnabelle Ewing, SNPMurdo Fraser, ConJohn Park, LabLiz Smith, ConA Constituency MSP Example of Helen Eadie (Lab),CowdenbeathSeveral Regional “list” MSPs, example ofMid-Scotland and FifeWillie Rennie,Lib DemRichard Simpson, Lab
5Advantage 1: Gives smaller parties a chance? The AMS gives smaller parties a chance of representation.In Scottish elections small parties and independents have all been elected.Surely this is only fair?If 5% of voters vote Green, why should the Greens not have 5% of the representation?Gives smaller parties a chance.Not all voters in Scotland support the established parties. Because of the AMS, supporters of the Scottish Socialists, the Greens and the Scottish Senior Citizens parties have had their say in how the country is run. In 2007, these smaller parties were “squeezed out” by the surge in SNP support.Unlikely any one party will have complete control.AMS usually leads to coalition government and in two previous elections to the Scottish Parliament this has happened. This, it is argued, is a good thing.The compromise over tuition fees, with repayment of fees postponed until after the student has gained a job with a professional salary is seen as an honourable and sensible policy made after compromise and negotiation between two partners in government. The current minority government will have to compromise with other parties to achieve its flagship policies.The SNP ruled as a minority government in the session before winning an overall majority in 2011, a result that was never supposed to happen under the deliberately chosen AMS system.Every vote counts.In the AMS, every vote is recycled and reallocated, giving every voter in every constituency an incentive to vote.Increase number of excluded groups in parliament.Because parties need not disclose the names of their list candidates, it is argued that parties can move away from having the same white, male candidates and have a broader selection of representatives in parliament. The SNP’s Bashir Ahmed is the only minority ethnic member of the Scottish Parliament.
6Good for small parties?But the AMS is not always “good for small parties”. It depends on how popular they are.The ‘rainbow parliament’ of 2003 has failed to be replicated since.In 2011 the Greens were squeezed out by the rise of the SNP.The Scottish Socialists imploded as its leader, Tommy Sheridan, formed a breakaway party after his court appearance.In 2011, the expected resurgence of George Galloway’s political career failed to materialise after he failed to get elected on the Glasgow list.It is something of a myth that the AMS is “good for small parties”.In the 2007 election the increase in support for the SNP squeezed out parties such as the Greens, the Scottish socialist party and the Scottish citizens Unity party who had won seats before.The Greens hung on in there with 2 seats, but the others all lost their representation.The feud between the SSP and Tommy Sheridans’ breakaway no doubt damaged their chances too , in the aftermath of Tommy Sheridan’s court case, saw neither the SSP nor Solidarity gain any MSPs. Gail Sheridan, despite reports to the contrary, did not run as a Solidarity candidate after all - although Tommy Sheridan’s sister did. George Galloway also stood for the Scottish Parliament representing Respect (George Galloway) – Coalition Against Cuts, a party made up of trade union and student activists.He failed to get elected on the Glasgow list after he ran a campaign criticising the Scottish Parliament and the quality of politicians on offer claiming that it needed ‘hard hitters’.Perhaps the biggest disappointment was felt by the Greens whose expected projection of 5 MSPs failed to materialise and they were left with the status quo.So, there is nothing about AMS which guarantees that small parties will do well. Political developments play a big part too.
7But Good for the Conservatives! Arguably, the AMS saved the Scottish Conservatives from political extinction.It is one of the great ironies of Scottish politics that the Conservatives originally opposed both the Scottish Parliament, and its voting system!In 1999, all 18 of the Conservatives MSPs were from the second, List vote. There were none elected from the FPTP constituenciesIn 2003, the Conservatives managed to have three MSPs elected from constituencies, but the other fifteen were from the second, List vote. In 2007, Only four of the 17 Conservative seats are from FPTP constituencies.In 2011, there was a slight decline in support, but still enough votes there to enable the Scottish Conservatives to be the 3rd largest party in the Scottish Parliament with 15 MSPs.Arguably, the creation of the Scottish Parliament with its AMS, saved the Scottish Conservatives from political extinction.It is one of the great ironies of Scottish politics that the Conservatives originally opposed both the Scottish Parliament, and its voting system!In 1999, all 18 of the Conservatives MSPs were from the second, List vote. There were none elected from the FPTP constituenciesIn 2003, the Conservatives managed to have three MSPs elected from constituencies, but the other fifteen were from the second, List vote.In 2007, Only four of the 17 Conservative seats are from FPTP constituencies.
8Advantage 2 An end to one party domination? In 1999 and 2003 Scottish Parliament elections, Labour won the most seats but did not have an overall majority. Labour and the Liberal Democrats entered into a coalition to run ScotlandIn 2007, the SNP won the most seats and again did not have an overall majority. It could not agree on terms for a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and has governed as a minority government on an issue by issue basis.The PR element of the AMS voting system has lead to smaller parties being represented. There are 129 MSP (Constituency 73, Regional List 56) This meets the Founding aim of power sharing.The SNP does well from the party list system, as do the Conservatives and, to a lesser extent the Scottish Greens.Both of the Greens’ MSPs have been elected from the second, “party list” vote. The Scottish Green Party has been particularly skilled at exploiting the AMS. The Green Party only put up candidates in the second, list election.The Greens know how the FPTP system works. It knows its voters are spread out and are not concentrated in specific constituencies. The Greens therefore know they have little chance of winning any constituency MSPs. In all likelihood, the party would lose a lot of money in lost deposits too.Arguably, the creation of the Scottish Parliament with its AMS, saved the Scottish Conservatives from political extinction. It is one of the great ironies that the Conservatives originally opposed both the Scottish Parliament, and its voting system!In 1999, all 18 of the Conservatives MSPs were from the second, List vote. In 2003, the Conservatives managed to have three MSPs elected from constituencies, but the other fifteen are from the second, List vote.
9But Not anymore! Party Constituency MSPs Regional MSPs Total SNP (2007 figure in brackets)Regional MSPs(2007 figure in brackets)TotalSNP53 (21)16 (26)69 (47)Labour15 (37)22 (9)37 (46)Cons.3 (4)12 (13)15 (17)Lib Dems2 (11)3 (5)5 (16)Green0 (0)2 (2)Other1(1)1 (1)In 2011, for the first time since devolution, the SNP which won a record 69 seats, securing a majority of 3 over all the other combined MSPs.This means that the SNP Scottish Government no longer needs the support of other parties to pass legislation.Politics is often full of ironies.In Scotland, a voting system designed to produce coalitions, has produced a majority government.In the UK, a voting system which traditionally delivers majorities, has produced a coalition government!The AMS was chosen deliberately to prevent any one party, in particular the SNP, from being to achieve an overall majority. The unprecedented scale of this victory means that the political dynamics and the landscape of Scotland are both changed forever.
10ADVANTAGE 3: VOTERS CAN CHOOSE WHO THEY WISH TO ENGAGE WITH Claire Baker, LabAnnabelle Ewing, SNPMurdo Fraser, ConJohn Park, LabLiz Smith, ConHelen Eadie (Lab)Constituency MSP CowdenbeathWillie Rennie,Lib DemRichard Simpson, LabRegional “list” MSPsMid-Scotland and Fife
11But, are there Turf wars? MSP turf wars. Do List MSPs tread on the turf of constituency MSPs, who think of themselves as the real MSP?"Personally I would not weep any tears if the list system was done away with. I regard list MSPs as a breed, as an under-employed waste of space. They have no constituency, they have no role and they are not elected by anyone."Former Labour Minister, Brian Wilson
12Are some voters Unrepresented? There are some voters in Scotland who, because of the AMS, find their views completely unrepresented.For example, if you voted SNP in Edinburgh North (12,263 did), you would have nobody elected who represented your views: your Constituency MSP would be Labour (Malcolm Chisholm) left.There are no SNP List MSPs in the Lothians region, despite 110,953 people voting SNP.Malcom Chisholm, MSP,Labour, Edinburgh NorthThere are some voters in Scotland who, because of the AMS, are completely unrepresented.For example, if you voted SNP in Edinburgh North (12,263 did), you would have nobody to represent your views: your Constituency MSP would be Labour (Malcolm Chisholm) left.There are no SNP List MSPs in the Lothians region despite 110, 953 people voting for them.
13What about “Unelected” MSPs? Should an MSP resign or die, the AMS does not allow for by-elections for List MSPs.So, the political party can choose whoever it wants to become the new MP.Someone who was never presented to the voters.In June 2007, SNP MSP Stefan Tymkewycz stood down as an MSP just months after being elected to Holyrood. He was replaced by Shirley-Anne Somerville as a Lothians list MSP. While Shirley-Anne Somerville may well be an excellent MSP, the fact remains that she, personally, was not elected by the voters of the Lothians!The same was the case with the SNP’s Anne McLaughlin who replaced Bashir Ahmad as Glasgow list MSP when he died in 2009.June 2007.The SNP’sStefan Tymkewyczstands down.So Shirley-Anne Somervillereplaced him!In June 2007, SNP MSP Stefan Tymkewycz stood down as an MSP just months after being elected to Holyrood. He was replaced by Shirley-Anne Somerville as a Lothians list MSP. While Shirley-Anne Somerville may well be an excellent MSP, the fact remains that she is unelected!Bashir AhmadAnne McLaughlin