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From Votes to Seats: The Operation of the UK Electoral System Since 1945 [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Ron Johnston , Charles Pattie , Danny Dorling


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Book Description

1 Jun 2010 0719082854 978-0719082856 2nd Revised edition
The British electoral system treats parties disproportionately and differentially. This original study of the fourteen general elections held between 1950 and 1997 shows that the amount of bias in those election results increased substantially over the period, benefiting Labour at the expense of the Conservatives. Labour's advantage peaked at the 1997 general election when, even assuming there had been an equal share of the votes for the two parties, it would have won 82 more seats than its opponents. This situation came about because of different aspects of two well-known electoral abuses - malapportionment and gerrymandering - which operate despite the non-partisan redistribution processes involved in defining new constituencies conducted on five occasions by the independent Boundary Commissions during the period studied. With the use of imaginative diagrams the book examines these processes in detail, illustrating how they operate and stresses the important role of tactical voting in the production of recent election results. The book will be of great interest to all students of the British electoral system, not least those concerned with its potential reform, for which the authors make detailed proposals.

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More About the Author

Danny Dorling has lived all his life in England. To try to counter his myopic world view, in 2006, Danny started working with a group of researchers on a project to remap the world (www.worldmapper.org). He has published with many colleagues more than a dozen books on issues related to social inequalities in Britain and several hundred journal papers. Much of this work is available open access (see www.dannydorling.org). His work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education and poverty. Before a career in academia Danny was employed as a play-worker in children's play-schemes where the underlying rationale was that playing is learning for living. He tries not to forget this. He is an Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and, in 2008, became Honorary President of the Society of Cartographers. In 2011 he became a patron of the charity Roadpeace.

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Review

' I have no doubt that this is an important contribution to knowledge and to the debate about electoral reform.' --Graham Thomas, University of Reading

About the Author

Ron Johnston is Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol Charles Pattie is Professor of Geography at the University of Sheffield Danny Dorling is Professor of Geography at the University Of Leeds

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