Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Caroline Russell is one of my top picks for the Assembly

As I mentioned Natalie Bennett is getting my first preference for the London Assembly, but there are a host of other good candidates that I'd like people to consider. One of those is Islington Green Caroline Russell.

Caroline is a relatively new member of the Party, but she is by no means a new comer to street politics. As a long term environmental activist in her area she has been beavering away diligently for years to make our communities better places.

She came to the party with a wealth of experience, talent and energy and she is exactly the kind of new blood that the party needs to help it become more rooted in London's boroughs and more grounded in the actual needs of those communities rather than the wants of political activists.

Passionate about her area she has done the kind of serious work that leave many of us full of admiration. Indeed one of the reasons why I'm hoping Caroline will get on the list is that when she was thinking about running she was extremely self effacing, constantly asking whether it was presumptuous of her to stand, etc.

Any Assembly list with Caroline Russell on it would be all the stronger for it. The more decent, hard working community activists we have at the forefront of our party the better. Matt Selwood once said to me that he thought the Green Party should be the electoral wing of community campaigns. That's been a very influential thought for me, and Caroline is part of making that dream a reality.

Watch out for my further tips for the Assembly over the next few days. It's going to be a hard choice deciding what order to put people after Natalie Bennett [1].


James O said...

What I don't quite understand Jim, having now received my ballot paper, is how STV works for an election with 11 places that need to be ranked in order of preference. Its simple for the mayoral candidate - the lowest placed candidate is eliminated and their votes redistributed on the basis of second preferences. If it works the same way for the list, who you vote for 2nd, 3rd etc is unlikely to count, as only four people will be eliminated out of 15. In fact, if this were the case, it would only be worth your marking your top 5 candidates. If it works in some other way, I can't think what that would be, but it obviously affects how you vote. The fact that this isn't explained properly seems like a bit of a shortcoming.

Jim Jepps said...

I completely understand your frustration James, it's the wrong tool for the job.

However do remember that votes transfer from both eliminated candidates and successful ones.

If the quota is, say 100, and you vote for someone who gets 120 votes - 20 of those votes will be transfered to second preferences.

In practice that means you've used 5/6ths of your vote to elect [1] and then 1/6th goes to your second, or third, or whatever cnadidate.

It's actually very difficult to assess how to use your vote most effectively because you need to predict what's happening with the other voters - and you might be wrong!

If you think cnadidates are certain to get first and second place many's the voter who has voted for the person they wsnt third on the list as [1] to make sure they get the full benefit of their single transferable vote.

The debate on this could be endless... that's how complex voting in practice is.

James O said...

Since posting my comment I've had a conversation with my flatmate who was a student union sabbatical, and so actually understands STV (few others do I would have thought). He confirmed that it didn't work quite like I thought, that it still wasn't ideal, and that its ridiculously complicated. Still, at least we have computers - they used to do the calculations by physically redistributing voting papers and such...