Friday, 8 August 2008

Out of the sinking

Interesting thought struck me when in discussion about the leadership of the Labour group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament at lunch today (yes, I’m that cool). What happens if it’s a draw?

Hear me out on this. I don’t have anything to do with the Labour party, but I do know that their leadership election runs through an electoral college: one third of the votes are assigned to elected representatives, (MPs, MSPs and MEPs – but not, interestingly, councillors) one third go to trade unions affiliated to the party and the final third goes to the wider membership of the party (including councillors).

So here’s the scenario.

  • Cathy Jamieson, the resident lefty, is courting the trade unions. Assume she picks up that third.
  • Iain Gray is the Westminster choice. He also has the most MSPs supporting him. And there are only 2 MEPs… so let’s assume he picks up that third.
  • Andy Kerr? Well, he’s fairly popular-ish. And has some forward thinking ideas. Assume he appeals to the wider membership (I told you – assume this as a scenario). Then he could take that third.

So, if each of them wins a third of the electoral college, who wins the race for the poisoned chalice of leading Labour in the Scottish Parliament? Is it a draw? Or do we have months of 2000 US Presidential-style legal wrangling over the result? Or, do we have to look further into the figures and – shock horror – actually use all the votes cast to determine a winner (it’s called democracy apparently).

Always trying to help the Labour party in Scotland, I have come up with a solution (and a hat tip to me mate Dave for this). What if Labour recruits the recently unemployed Carol Vorderman for the job of counting the electoral math – something she’s pretty good at. That way, Wendy Alexander can take over from her on Countdown – and get paid much more than her MSP salary (which, I remember, she was complaining was difficult to live on – incidentally, she should try working as a researcher…).

Can just see it now, when the Countdown Conundrum comes round:



Jeff 9 August 2008 at 14:43  

Countdown conundrum: Biting Ron?

Anyway, fascinating points there. I guess the system was invented for a head-to-head situation. Or maybe they didn't even take that into consideration at all.

As one who also has nothing to do with Labour, I won't even make a prediction but I think it's a perfectly plausible finale to the proceedings and, well, knowing labour's luck of late, I wouldn't rule it out!

James 12 August 2008 at 12:44  

Grin to bin?

Also, I don't think any of the blocks are winner-takes-all, other than that, sure!

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