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Monday, June 25, 2007


I won't quite say that the Labour Deputy Leadership fight was riveting but the results are interesting. It was naturally an alternative vote system (no party is silly enough to decide that first past the post would make their parties workable, it is merely good enough for the rest of us). Throughout the split between top & bottom candidate was never more than 7.62% (between Cruddas & Blears in round one), Johnstone lead in 3 rounds & Cruddas 7 Harman in one each, so clearly nobody caught any body's imagination. TV reporting suggested that only 10% of Labour's 170,000 members actually voted.

Harman's vote was noticeably stronger among the party members & weaker among MPs/MEPs - it seems that when John Cruddas was eliminated only 1 of them transferred to Harman.

My strong suspicion is that she got in because she is a woman. This must be a virtual certainty since she only won by 0.87%. That there was a movement to get "a woman" on the ballot is a matter of record & it would be an unusual member of the PC brigade who would not put a woman somewhere on their list of preferences. This is probably even more so among ordinary members who have less else to go on. On the other hand it can reasonably be argued that the unions, where she was beaten as well, are a traditionally masculine organisation. On the third hand the unions, being ever more public sector workers are becoming ever more female at least at the shop floor level.

I am not quite saying the men wus robbed because there was no great enthusiasm either way but it is an interesting example of how alternative voting works.

UPDATE Ministry of Truth has a much more detailed article on this - he says the members vote was 53% (though only 8% among union voters) which is still a fairly low turnout but not as unenthusiastic as I thought.

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