Friday, August 2, 2013

Jeremy Purvis reaches the light at the end of the tunnel

One of the constant refrains from Neanderthal opponents of electoral reform in the London parties is that it is simply unconscionable to have a system that enables a "loser to win".  We heard it endlessly during the AV referendum campaign, but it's also often been raised as an objection to the AMS system used for the Scottish Parliament, which makes it possible for a candidate who has been defeated in a constituency to still be elected on the regional list.

Curiously, though, there seems to be considerable overlap between complaints about the so-called "losers winning" vagaries of PR, and enthusiastic support for the House of Lords as an anachronism that supposedly "works".  Chiefly, of course, the anachronism works by allowing "sound chaps" like Jeremy Purvis to carry on legislating for us in spite of having been roundly rejected by the errant electorate of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.

Altogether now...

Every loser wins
Once the dream begins
In time you'll see, fate holds the key
And every loser knows
The light the tunnel shows
Will shine on you

Jeremy was so right to keep the faith. Why would a Liberal Democrat need democracy?

* * *

Plaid Cymru seem to be storming to victory in the Ynys Môn by-election - a huge relief, given that it will deprive Labour of an outright majority in the Welsh Assembly. Although it may have looked like a safe seat for Plaid on paper, that was highly deceptive because Labour have held the equivalent Westminster seat since 2001 (a situation eerily reminiscent of the Aberdeen Donside by-election, where of course the incumbent government's parliamentary majority was also hanging in the balance).

Plaid were helped along by some stardust from their TV personality candidate Rhun ap Iorwerth, a man so famous that even I recognised him straight away. He's already being spoken of as a potential long-term successor to Leanne Wood as party leader, although I was slightly shocked to read this reaction from a Labour source -

"Plaid are getting rather ahead of themselves. Rhun is likely to win the by-election, but talk of him as a future leader is very premature...

Most people in Wales won’t even be able to pronounce his name, and it’s difficult to imagine someone called Rhun ap Iorwerth going down well in Islwyn."

Can you even begin to imagine the outrage if Labour had made that comment about a candidate with a Pakistani or Chinese name? And yet what exactly is the difference?

* * *

UPDATE : The sensational Ynys Môn result in full -

Plaid Cymru 58.2% (+16.8)
Labour 15.9% (-10.3)
UKIP 14.3% (+14.3)
Conservatives 8.5% (-20.7)
Socialist Labour 1.6% (+1.6)
Liberal Democrats 1.4% (-1.8)


  1. A good result indeed for Plaid.

    A bad one indeed for the Liberals. At around 3% you would have thought that they were down to core vote status...the "I will vote for you even if you eat my children" kind of vote which every party has.

    But they managed to lose more than half of that!

    Spectacular achievement.

    As for the latest set of losers and party financiers that are headed to the second house in London, I can't help thinking that there should be some sort of bar on people being sent there if they have lost a public election in the past, say 5 years.

    The Lords makes a mockery of democracy by existing. By allowing appointees who have been rejected by the public to take seats they are sticking out their tongues and giving us V signs.

  2. For me the two hidden crackers in this result are the performance of UKIP and the drubbing for the Lib Dems; ok a 60+% drop in vote is spectacular especially as this must leave them with about a dozen or so supporters.

  3. Sleazy racist Labour on the slide!

  4. Re the Lib-Dem vote of 1.4% -

    Between 1929 and 1951, Ynys Mon (then Anglesey) was represented by a certain Miss Megan Lloyd George for the Liberal Party. She garnered 58% of the vote in the 1931 election.

    How times change when principles are discarded.