Tuesday, 6 January 2009

D'Hondt and other complications

One of the largest problems that the European elections (and elections in general) face is a lack of understanding of what is at stake, and how ordinary voters can influence European policy.

Obviously then, it makes sense for the elections to be run using the extraordinarily complicated and non-intuitive D'Hondt method of proportional representation. While D'Hondt does have some advantages in the finer points of electoral mathematics, it also makes it extremely difficult to ascertain exactly what percentage of votes a party needs to elect its first representative, then its second, third, and so on. It also makes it difficult to work out just what the best strategy to keep an undesirable party OUT of the European Parliament might be...for example, the BNP.

However, over on The Daily (Maybe), the redoubtable Jim Jepps has given it a good shot, with this excellent explanation of how D'Hondt might work in London this time around.

Evading too much geeky electoral maths, basically what he finds is that the crucial battle in London is going to be electing a progressive representative to the eighth seat, rather than a fascist. Due to the way that D'Hondt works, votes cast for a party that has already gained a representative (as Labour, Tories and Lib Dems are likely to have done before the Greens, more is the pity) are worth less for the eighth seat than a vote for a party that is still striving towards the threshold - like the Greens.

Just another of the many, many reasons to vote to re-elect Jean Lambert as one of London's MEPs. Not only is she one of the most progressive voices in the European Parliament in her own right - but she's the best option to keep out the fascists too! It's rare to get a win-win situation in UK politics...so lets make the most of it in June.

1 comment:

Jim Jay said...

Hello, I hadn't noticed this before - thanks for the mention!