STV is beautiful

uk09stv_smallDenis Mollison has an article on Next Left about how STV would work in practice. He also shows off a map of how the UK could be divided up into multi-member constituencies.

I really like what Mollison has done here. He hasn’t simply drawn lines on the map but created constituencies based on local authority boundaries. Ironically this would mean that people would identify with parliamentary constituencies more than the largely artificial ones we currently use (if the Tories get their way and replace the current system for drawing boundaries with a more technocratic one based on number of voters, this problem will get even worse). His model would also result in 140 fewer MPs.

I’m sure there are decisions here and there that you could poke holes in; the London boundaries in particular are likely to prove controversial. But this is valuable work as it instantly changes the debate around STV from a very abstract one to one of practicalities.

And, fundamentally, it makes a pretty picture. Any chance of a hi-res version to put up on my wall?


  1. When combining local authorities, Prof. Mollinson has followed the boundaries of the former metropolitan counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester rather more closely than is necessary. I suspect the same may apply in Yorkshire; the division between West and South Yorkshire is not one that lives in people’s hearts in the way that the division between Yorkshire and Lancashire does.

    Perhaps the most striking problems (in Lancashire/Cheshire) are these:
    “Sefton, Knowsley and St. Helens”. This is basically “Liverpool Outer”; there’s very little connection between outer suburbs like Bootle, Halewood and Kirby and separate towns like St. Helens and Southport.
    “Liverpool and Wirral” Oh, look, the Mersey Tunnel seat. Not a good idea; very much opposed on both sides of the Mersey.
    The Cheshire seats – Warrington and Halton have far more in common with each other than with the rural parts of Cheshire; the same applies in reverse.
    The GM seats aren’t bad; I’ll probably have to reconstruct them to fix Merseyside and Cheshire, but they can work.

    OK, here’s my alternative:
    Liverpool: includes Knowsley and the Bootle part of Sefton. 538,916 – 6 MPs
    W Lancs: Mollinson’s SW Lancs plus Southport/Crosby from Sefton – 526,857 – 6 MPs
    [rename SE Lancs to E Lancs; SE is Manchester, not Blackburn]
    St. Helens, Wigan, Halton and Warrington “South Lancs”. 621,194 – 7 MPs
    Wirral/West Cheshire 493,691 – 5 MPs
    {alternatively, move Halton from South Lancs to West Cheshire and make both constituencies 6 MPs; or we could split Halton along the Mersey between the two, which would match the traditional boundary)
    East Cheshire/Stockport 506,443 – 6 MPs
    Bolton/Bury 343,092 – 4 MPs
    Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside 484,198 – 5 MPs
    and retain the Manchester (4) and Salford & Trafford (4) seats.

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