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Labour's Case Against P.R.…

Detailed Lists, Results and Guides

Labour's Case Against P.R. for Glamorgan. By T. I. MARDY JONES, F.R.E.S. (Parliamentary Agent, S.W.M.F.). The Labour forces in Glamorgan are not op- t posed to the principle of Proportional Repre- sentation. Nor does Labour suggest that Glam- organ has been deliberately selected for experi- ment from ulterior motives. The Boundary I Commissioners have carried out their duties im- partially and have grouped a number of one- member divisions into Proportional Representa- tion constituencies returning three or more members to Parliament in purely agricultural counties as well as in miniing counties; and they have also grouped a number of city areas in the same way. But only 100 seats are to be grouped for Proportional Representation, or less than one-seventh of the total. The very impai- tiality of grouping these seats for town and country alike regardless of the diversity of char- acter and interest of the areas grouped illus- tra;t,es the utter impr act iioility of a political compromise arrived at at the last moment un- ,]or pressure from the House of Lords, who in- stinctively clutch at Proportional Representa- tion in the hope that it will save them from the oncoming tide of Democracy after the war. UNWORKABLE HERE. I The object of Proportional Representation is to secure representation in Parliament in pro- portion to the strength of party opinion in the country in such a way as to enable a consider- able minority opinion in any part, of the country To secure representation. To do this it is neces- sary to have constituencies big enough in popu- lation to return at least three members jointly. With five, or six, or seven-member divisions Propoitional Reprentation will work still bet- Ter. But the necessary population in compact •areas can only be found in big cities; the coun- try areas are too huge in size and, usually, too diverse in their industrial interests, or in their geographical character, to be workable under Proportional Representation. This applies with particular force to Glamorgan. Mainly on -there grounds, at the local inquiry held a,t Car- diff on April 4th last all the political parties and most of the local authorities opposed the proposal to group the seven one-member divi- sions for Glamorgan into an Eastern division re- -turning four-members jointly, and into a "Western division returning three-members tointly with Proportional Representation as the method of voting. iUNANIMITY. I All chamibei-s of trade, trades councils ana ttie tike that agree with my case against the appli- cation of Proportional Representation to brlam- organ, irrespective of party, should at once -end resolutions of protest to the Home Secre- tary, WhiteHall, London, and to the Boundary •Commissioners Local Government Board Office, London The substance of my evidence against the proposal at the local Inquiry was as follows: Proportional Representation may work satisfac- torily in the small" compact area of a densely- populated parliamentary borough where the can- didates can cover the constituency in five or six JHJ blic meetings in two or three days. But the. facts set out as follows concerning the huge size ;.and diverse character of proposed East and West Glamor own r-enstiiueneuas will mam- !fest the fact- that Proportional Representation is impracticable and undemocratic for those two EAST GLAMORGAN. I Area, about 353 square miles; extreme length, aoout 28 miles from the top of the Rbymney Valley to either of the following three points in a straight line—Barry Island, Aberthaw, Nash Point—all widely separate on the Bristol Chan- nel coast. Extreme width about 25 miles ah the crow flies from the Western boundary of the Maesteg U.D.O. across the midway to the Eastern bound- J ary of the parish of Llanfedw; and abou t 22 miles in a straight line from the Western bound- ary of Porthcawl U.D.C. across the southern portion of the constituency. PHYSICAL FEATURES. I The greater portion of the area South of the G.W.R. main line from Cardiff to Bridgend is lowland served by the G.W.R., the Vale of Glamorgan line, and the Cowbridge section of the T.V.R. line. It is also well served by the main county road which traverses the heart of the agricultural portion from Cardiff to Brid- gend; and by numerous other roads in fair con- dition. This, area is easy of access by rail and road in normal times. But at present the train services are very restricted and motor-cars are either unobtainable or prohibitive in cost for electioneering purposes. North of the G.W.R. main line the country is very hilly, and over the coal-mining portions the constituency is inter- sected by ten mining valleys. From East to West these are: Miles long in th area. 1. Rhymney Valley. about 25 2. Bargoed Rhymney 7 3. Cwm Bargoed 7 4. Aber 5 .5. Taff 10 6. Ely „ 10 7. Gilfach Goch 5 8. Ogmore 10 9. Garw 6 10. Llynfi 8 Total 93 These ten valleys are separated by mountain ranges from 1.000ft. to 1,500ft. high. In most cases there are no mountain roads and inter- communication is by means of primitive sheep tracks and footpaths. The only modern means of communication is by road and rail along the lie of the valleys. This is circuitous, slow, tedions, and costly especially since the recent drastic restrictions in train services and the in- crease in train fares. Motor cars are unootain- able or prohibitive in cost; and are likely to con- tinue so for a few years at least. A large sup- ply of powerful motor car's are indispensable for candidates and agents in a huge constituency like East Glamorgan, and the lack of them will seriously hamper legitimate electioneering. INDUSTRIAL CHARACTER. About 70 per cent. of the population is en- gaged in the coal-mining industry; and about 10 per cent. in agriculture; about 10 per cent. in commercial pursuits; and about 10 per cent. in railway and dock work. The data concerning the Local Government bodies. and areas, popu- lation, electorate, and polling districts in each of the seven one-member divisions are approxi- mately as follows, as culled from the 1911 Census returns and other Government publications: .1 '_c..¥J. Area in Approx No. of Statute acres, Population voters at 1 in Total C?t?cy. L.G.B?,in?. Land & Inland in ,hùy, :3 of pöp. Poll Water. 1914. in 1914. District ICAERPIDLLY- 14,426 37,118 1:> 3 7 3- CaerpMb- D.C.   uj>x 13,371 < 31,198 77,232 25,744 19 IPONTYPRIDD— 8 140 ?? 15,316 11 Pontypridd U.D.C. R,140 ;15,949 15,816 11 S??'<Fl?tFa?R.D.C: ? 1?9 gg • Cowbridge II.D.C. 40,016  8,212 2.737 j CowbritIge mb 1 66,67:3 74,218 24,739 22 "LLANDAFF& BARRY— 65,299 35,751 11,917 15 Llandaff and Dina.Po? R.D.C. 6ój,299 35,7õl 11.917 15 Bar? U.D.C. 3,9,7 a5,455 11,818 7 69,076 71,206 23,735 22 "OGIORE-" 1-" -jGArOliK- 3'r> 28,458 9,486 7 &?. ?1? .?? ? 8,454 5,942 _t Rridcrend tl D.C. 1 ',21 8,454 2,818 1 D-.q??R?.(?rtof) 33,566 17,827 5,942 _4 .39,416. 82,220 27,4()7 16 59,416 82.220 27,407 16 TOTALS for the proposed East Glamorgan 226,363 304,876 101,625 79 Note that the eelleeccttoorraatte e for Ea,? Glamorgan will be almost equal to the combined Glamor  n Gower,?a?d. Qf South G l amorgan, East Giamorgan, MId- electorate for the fhe d ^JJ"ndd abolished. These had a total e Glamorgan, Mid- Gkmorgan ,Gower, and RlOndda now 2'oohshoo. ese had a total eledoraœ of 116,928 on the Parhamentary RegIster for 1910. Its area is actuall, 7,593 -wres greater than on the S?o?? h ind B?t Glamorgan divisions. In thec?e of the  the (-olli b ine d ,trea.4; of tk greater than the combined areas of propo?d ?est ? ??"? ?. ? ? ?.; ?-?t the electorate ?U be .31.?1 ?re??r    ?.id ?o d?io? ? the.e .1? .1 '40,.3R5 electors on the 1915 rûgist.('L INCREASED COST OF ELECTIONS. I I The benefits of one free postage and ot the State payment of the Returning Oiffcer's fees are distinct gajn. But these are more than balanced by the enormous increase in the cost of printing and distributing election literature, of wages for necessary clerical and other assist- v ance, of travelling expenses, and the like. All these items will be more costly in JÏÃtst and Wet Glamorgan than for the seven one-member divi- ?; A% 11 (,-ont-est the sions; whether candidates will contest the seats ( singly or jointly. For example, the average, population for each of the four divisions can be taken at 75,000, and the average electorate of I •each at 2.5,000. Under the Fourth Schedule of the Act each single candidate is allowed a maxi-1 mum of 7d. per elector or a total of €729 in election expenses. Under Proportional Repre- ¡ sentation the population for East Glamorgan l will be 300,000, and the electorate 100,000. In I that case a sinKle candidate coidd pend up t,()) A maximum of ?2,916 at <d. per elector. ^w° -a mayimiim of at 4d. per or more joint candidates are allowed one-and-\I half times the 7d. per elector for a single candi J date, or lO?d. per elector jointly, or a total oi £4,374 as the maximum whether the joint can- didates are two, three, or four in number. Thus a. single candidate under Proportional Represen- tation oould spend up to P,2,916 to win one seat out of four, or as much as four single candidates could spend at the maximum of JE729 each to enable ench to win a seat in four one-member divisions. If two candidates run jointly in East Glamorgan they will spend t4,374, or an aver- age of £ 2,187 each to win a seat each. Thus two seats under Proportional Representation would cost £ 1,458 more to win than it would -coat to win four seate in four one-member divi- sions. Moreover, as Proportional Representation is devised to enable a candidate who represents an. appreciable minority opinion in the constituency to form a quota it follows that single candida- tures will prove costly and prohibitive to all can- didates who are not wealthy men, or who axe. not, supported by wealthy organisations. For to bring out more than one minority candidate in East or in West Glamorgan would belie the claim that Proportioinal Representation is Pro- portional Representation. Thus Proportional Representation perpetuates the very privileges of pelf and power which the Franchise Act, 1918, was passfd to abotish or it fails to achieve its object of minority re-presentation as the. huge cost debars minority candidates from contesting a seat or seats. ALTERNATIVE VOTE v. P.R. I The sole defect with regard to one-member divisions is the retention of the X method of voting. The adoption of the Alternative Vote method would remove all danger of the election of any candidate by a minority vote. It is easier and wiser for Parliament to pass a short Act to enforce it in one-member divisions than to impose Proportional Representation in un- wieldly county areas. ELECTIONEERING DIFFICULTIES. I There are 79 Poll districts in Eawt Glamorgan. At least 120 public meetings wilil be required in as many separate towns and villages to enable each single candidate or joint candidates to make a complete tour of the constituency. On an average of two meetings per day for five days a week this will take up twelve consecutive weeks of strenuous electioneering. Two com- plete tours would" take up half the year. This factor alone will debar many excellent men of the best tvj>e in all parties from contesting in the fact of such ,a herculean task, and the na- tion will "lIffer r he loss of their valuable ser- vices. For such men cannot spare the time and energy for such sustained and prolonged elec- tioneering. As all elections will be held on the same day they can get little or no outside assist- ance. It is, therefore, self-evident iliab no candidate nor any combination of candidates can effectively cover the huge areas of East and Wet, Glamor- gan in less than three months; arid it would take half a year to do it twice. For joint can- didatures do not do away with the rightful de- mands of the electors iV every town and village to be given adequate opportunities to hear each candidate expound his views, and to test his view- by way of public question and public answer. The fact that many electors never at- tend election meetings does not do away with the greater fact. that the mass of electors will insist, on such opportunitiies to test the qualifi- cations of each and every candidate. It is the time-honoured privilege of the elector, and woe betide the oandidate who ignores the fact. Nei- ther parties nor Governments dare disregard this vital feature of British politics. Once this sheet anchor of public challenge and correction is lost representative government is lost. For in the last resort elective representation in Parlia- ment is a delegation of power vested in trust by geographical groups of citizens to the Members of Parliament. The only ultimate means the electors have to estimate the qualifications of candidates and to test the stewardshiip of mem- bers is by means of public meeting. No device of Proportional Representation can eradicate this ingrained feature of British politics. VITAL PRINCIPLE IN COUNTY DIVISIONS. 1 Nowadays, an M.P. in the small and compact one-member county- divisions created under the Act will be fully occupied with State affairs at Westminster during Sessions: and with the manifold duties placed upon him by his constitu- ents. He will also be expected to intervene fre- quently with various Government Departments on behalf of the L.G. Bodies in his constituency concerning the multifarious functions increasing- ly imposed upon local authorities by Parliament in connection with the war and with after the war problems. Further, the member will need to make periodical visitations to his constituency between the parliamentary sessions. In each of the proposed East and West Glamorgan divisions there are exactly 20 local authorities. Each member would need a staff of clerks to cope with his correspondence and an army of party agents to maintain his hold on the constituency. Labour candidates and Labour members in Glamorgan would have far less to fear in this connection than other party candi dates and members, as they could adjust their Labour or- ganisations to cope with the work. But Labour strongly objects to two such unwieldly, unwork- able. and unfair divisions for Glamorgan, as they would debar the best types of candidates of ail parties from contesting seats. Most of them could not afford to give up* the, necessary time to embark upon the preliminary and superhuman task of touring and nursing either of such mam- moth monstrosities politely designated "single constituencies." For the foregoinig reasons the South Wales Miners' Federation and the Labour Party respectfully submit that the Parliamen- tary interests of the Parliamentary County of Glamorgan will be best served by adhering to the seven one-member county divisions, originally and wisely allocated by the Boundary Commis- sioners.

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