A little bit of politics

Fear not, I continue to eschew the shiny suit – and have yet to start work on a musical formed by linking together the songs of a long defunct, but once popular, beat combo using the minimum of plot.

While I was in Scotland last week, it became necessary for me to understand the detail of the voting system used for local government elections north of the border (you may like to consider it a form of weregild for my board and lodgings, as this is all the explanation I shall be offering).  You may recall that, last May, we Sassenachs were offered the chance to switch to a version of Proportional Representation.  I seem to remember that the forces of conservatism (with both a big and small C) opposed the change – and one of their primary arguments was that we, the electorate, were too thick to understand the proposed new system.  I can only assume that the Scots are made of much stronger intellectual material.

Their PR system is vastly more complicated than the very simple one proposed for England and Wales.  It took me a good 15 minutes to understand how it works – the basic principles were laid out on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk but it was rather sketchy on some of the key details (where, as we all know, the devil lies – though, given just one of his titles, I believe the devil lies pretty much everywhere).  Fortunately, perusal of the detail of the actual results and nine rounds of iteration taken to elect the councillors for one particular ward back in 2007 did help to fill in the gaps in my understanding.  I suspect I am now one of only a tiny band of individuals who actually understand how the electoral process for Scottish local government works – and I’m available for consultancy at a very reasonable rate.  Trust me, you don’t want to be attempting tactical use of your franchise without at least a decent first degree in Mathematics (and some legal training)!

Whilst on the subject of politics, in my continued attempts to support my local library I am currently reading Shirley Williams’ autobiography.  This is a rather good read, and does show the rather cyclical nature of both history and politics (even within a single lifetime).  She is also one of those annoying over-achievers who make the rest of us feel hopelessly inadequate – I fear she had fit in far more living before leaving school than I will in my entire lifetime (unless the singularity arrives pretty soon – and perhaps not even then).  I really must try harder…


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