CAER was founded in 1974, after an election in which the Conservatives won more votes than Labour but fewer seats, many Conservatives came to appreciate the unfairness of the present first-past-the-post system and the need for electoral reform. Over the years there has always been support for reform but that dwindled with elected power.
While Labour’s vote lead in 1997 was large by any standards, the parliamentary majority and the lead over the Conservatives were swollen by an increase in electoral bias, to the extent that if Labour and the Conservatives had polled level votes Labour would have only been 79 seats ahead.
The 2001 election saw a massive increase in electoral system bias, as a moderate swing to the Conservatives (1.8%, comprising Labour losing 2.5% and the Conservatives gaining 1.0%) saw hardly any seats change hands.
It is time for our party to consider electoral reform and not just hope that our time will come, coupled with a re-juvinated party under David Cameron. We can admit that there is bias, not just due to boundary changes, or we can have the debate.
Local election wards will return either three or four councillors, with no changes being made to the boundaries of the 32 local government areas or to the number of councillors elected to each Council.
In order to aid the successful implementation of the new system, CAER continues to work with Fairshare, a cross-party campaign originally established with the aim of persuading the Scottish Parliament to implement STV for local elections. In addition, the Society has established a Scottish office in preparation for May 2007. Contact details are available on our contacts page.
The Conservative Party is also going through a period of change at the same time as the electorate claims it feels more dis-enfranchised.