I’ve used the example of the South Shields constituency in the North East several times when writing about the issue of safe seats and how they make a powerful argument for electoral reform (The new MP for South Shields has been chosenI live in a Rotten Borough, and The South Shields by-election and Lazy Labour) so I thought I’d post this. I will remind you that it is the only seat in existence since the Great Reform Act of 1832 to have never elected a Conservative MP and that the Labour party have held the seat without interruption since 1935.

This video of a report from Channel 4 News of West Country Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visiting South Shields is mostly a curiosity. I usually find Rees-Mogg intensely irritating — but in this to be fair he does come across as a bit more of an engaging personality. The video doesn’t tell us anything more profound than that the Conservative Party doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anyone elected there — but it is a useful illustration of why our political parties in effect abandon parts of the country.

Random Thoughts for 21st October 2013: An insomnia fuelled catch up

Not much blogging going on here at the moment. There are reasons for that, although we won’t go into that now, and I am wondering if I ought to change my approach. There doesn’t seem to be much focus or direction to this blog when I do post. However, (and as if to handily illustrate…

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Voting in the 2013 Electoral Reform Society’s Council Elections

The ballot for the elections to the governing Council of the Electoral Reform Society is currently underway and I have been deciding who to vote for. These elections take place every two years, using STV obviously, to elect a council of 15 members with responsibility for the governance and administration of the Society. The ballot…

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Random Thoughts for 18th June 2013

This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuff that has occurred to me between 10th June 2013 and 18th June 2013: A personal guide to the 13 most essential political podcasts | Stephen Tall Stephen gives a comprehensive guide to the podcast…

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The South Shields by-election and Lazy Labour

Back in April I’d written here about the inevitability of the Labour Party winning the South Shields by-election using it as an illustration of how the phenomenon of the safe seat corrupts our politics. I didn’t write anything in reaction to the result last month as it went as expected. However, I did find a…

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I live in a Rotten Borough

When I was writing about the South Shields by-election the other day, talking about how safe seats marginalise those who live in them, I pointed out the dominance that the Labour Party have on the local council there. In fact Labour on South Tyneside council have 88.89% of the seats. Which according to the Electoral…

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The new MP for South Shields has been chosen

With David Miliband heading off to his new job with the International Rescue Committee in New York the constituency of South Shields needs a new member of Parliament. Last week this new MP was chosen. It is to be a local councillor and social worker Emma Lewell-Buck. What do you mean the by-election hasn’t happened…

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Random Thoughts for December 2012

This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuff that has occurred to me. As there haven’t been any for awhile this is a catch up post for December 2012. A year of zoo babies A feature of these Random Thoughts posts throughout…

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Random Thoughts for 8th July 2012

This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuf that has occured to me between 4th July and 8th July (published a little late): What to make of the new Electoral Reform Society rules? Mark Pack says what I would have said about…

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Taking part in the House of Lords reform consultation

The official public consultation from the Joint Committee of the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill runs until 12 October and this week I have submitted my views to it. I used the simple to use process provided by Unlock Democracy that helps you to respond to the consultation. You can do the same and…

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Results of the Electoral Reform Society council elections

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) are meeting in London for their AGM today and I imagine that those attending are digesting the result of the ballot for the Society’s ruling council which were declared a couple of days ago. The full results are here: Results of the 2011 ERS Council elections Having over the last…

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More on the Electoral Reform Society elections

There are only a couple of days left before the ballot closes for the election to the Electoral Reform Society‘s governing council. Since I wrote about my take on the elections I’ve been interested to read what other have been saying about the elections. There was a good summary of the issues from Simon McGrath.…

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Voting in the Election of the Electoral Reform Society Council

Today I have been deciding who to vote for in the Electoral Reform Society’s ballot for it’s governing council. I’ve been a member of the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) for several years now, but a very inactive one. My main involvement has been to pay my subs each year and vote in the council elections.…

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Why won’t the No campaign defend First Past the Post?

Today I signed up to the  Yes to Fairer Votes campaign’s petition that is challenging the No campaign to a debate about First Past The Post’s (FPTP) merits. The point is that, while they are urging people to vote ‘no’ in the referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV), the No campaign aren’t able to make…

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