In the context of ‘renewal’, electoral reform has been on the agenda in Britain for such a long time that it hardly seems ‘new’ any more. After years of stasis under the Conservatives, the (then) young turks in New Labour, with their record-breaking contingent of women MPs, initiated a whole raft of institutional innovations in 1997 ranging from House of Lords reform to devolution. These issues have become part of the landscape: the fourth round of devolved elections was held in May 2011 in Scotland and Wales, the March 2011 referendum extended Welsh Assembly powers, and House of Lords reform is again on the agenda. However, despite the feeling of déjà vu, we can still talk of renewal with regard to electoral reform as it goes to the heart of how politics gets done – and by whom – and because there is still a patent need for progress. The Scottish and Welsh examples may not have fulfilled all the promise of a ‘new politics’, but in one domain at least, they have risen well above Wes...
Is UK electoral reform missing the G-spot? The case of AV referendum
The First-Past-the-Post electoral system is recognised as one of the major factors perpetuating white, male, middle-class predominance and adversarial politics in the UK. Recent innovations on the Westminster fringe (in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and in New Zealand) have provided compelling evidence that hybrid electoral systems can have a rapid and significant impact on the numbers of women elected.
The recent AV referendum was frequently hailed as ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’ to fix the system, and improve the quality of representation (by reducing sleaze, holding MPs to account, broadening the range of parties in parliament). This paper asks to what extent women’s representation was incorporated into the debate. It shows that there was little synergy between feminist and electoral reform groups and that institutional partners failed to respond to those groups who addressed the issue of gender, consequently missing parallel opportunities to improve political representation and gender balance.
Keywords :Women’s representation, electoral reform, state feminism, proportional representation, women’s movement
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Manda Green, « Is UK electoral reform missing the G-spot? The case of AV referendum », Observatoire de la société britannique, 12 | 2012, 155-173.
Manda Green, « Is UK electoral reform missing the G-spot? The case of AV referendum », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 12 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 août 2013, consulté le 21 mai 2013. URL : http://osb.revues.org/1336 ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.1336Haut de page
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