Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Democracy for Scotland or simply even more cumbersome timewasting?

You be the judge.

Experience from Northern Ireland has revealed that it can take upto 20 hours to count manually local election votes under the single transferable vote (STV) system, instead of the roughly six hours it takes at present in Scotland under our current pretty straightforward first-past-the-post system. A similar STV system will be adopted for Scottish local elections in May 2007. The next elections for the Scottish Parliament will take place simultaneously, themselves requiring two separate counting exercises because of the separate constituency and list voting involved in that valuable exercise in democracy.

As we have a voting system which relies entirely on manual counting of all these votes, the human beings involved naturally get tired and therefore are prone to make mistakes as counting on the night of the election and the following day wears on. So arrangements will have to be made to stagger the counting over a lengthier period, or try and put in place some reliable form of mechanised or electronic counting. It seems that the start of counting is to delayed until the day after polling if the recommendations of the Electoral Commission are followed.

Naturally enough all this is extremely worthwhile, for it has added and with STV for local election will improve further the level of 'democracy' which we in Scotland are privileged to enjoy. I hope astute readers will have realised by now that the last sentence in no way reflects my real views on what is happening, that all these changes whilst theoretically (just possibly...) an enhancement to our democracy are in fact a gigantic waste of time and money as I doubt seriously that public administration and government in Scotland will be improved one iota by these increasingly complex and cumbersome voting systems, which have had and will have the further even more outrageous effect of entrenching a 'caste' of governing nomenklatura over us who are effectively unaccountable, at a personal level, to the mugs (you and me) who finance this whole rigmarole.

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