Talk:Derry City Council

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Untitled[edit]

What is the latest on removing the 'London' from the city's name? It's proving very difficult to find this out, and why it didn't happen the night that nationalists were allowed to be a majority on the city council. What is the obstacle?

I'm not sure exactly, but I think the NI Assembly has to apply to get its charter changed... and there is no NI Assembly right now. Theres also the possibility that the City Council don't really care all that much. --Kiand 21:46, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Historical names of the council[edit]

Can someone clear up a question. I believe that up to 1973 the coucil was a county borough council (so strictly not administratively part of the county) with tightly drawn boundaries. In 1973 it became a district council with extended boundaries(and the administrative county abolished). In 1984 it changed its name to "Derry City Council" but remained a district council. But what precisely were its names before 1973 and from 1973 to 1984? "Londonderry County Borough Council" or "Londonderry City Council"? Based on Schedule 1 of [1] I had thought the former but a recent edit makes me doubt it. --Henrygb 17:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know before the local government reforms, the area was Londonderry County Borough and the council's official title was Londonderry County Borough Council (or Londonderry Corporation less formally). (The council had actually been abolished before 1973 and replaced with a development corporation as one of Terence O'Neill's attempted reforms.) After 1973, the council was a district council, so the County Borough title was not relevant (the area of the County Borough was much smaller). The County Borough may still exist as a legal entity, in the same way as counties still exist legally in Northern Ireland, but it was no longer the unit electing the council. So while the council was a district council it used the style of City. PaddyMatthews 17:44, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Not entirely correct. Derry (as it then was) became a city in 1604. The name changed to Londonderry in 1613, when city status was confirmed in a new royal charter. When the County Borough of Londonderry was established in 1899, the county borough acquired the city status. Until 1969, the council could be known as Londonderry City Council, Londonderry County Borough Council, or Londonderry Corporation, the last of which was an obsolete term, but still widely used for borough councils in the United Kingdom. As PaddyMatthews notes, the council was abolished prior to the 1973 reorganisation of local government (in 1969, along with Fermanagh County Council and the local councils in Fermanagh), and replaced by Londonderry Development Commission, which also covered the area formerly administered by Londonderry Rural District Council.
After the 1973 reorganisation (when the two county boroughs in Northern Ireland were abolished), the new District of Londonderry was established, which held borough and city status (the city status having passed, under the legislation, to the successor district). Thus the council was officially entitled Londonderry City Council. In 1984 the council resolved to change its name to Derry City Council.
There is some doubt over the legal status of the name change, and whether the city (as opposed to the city council) in now Derry or Londonderry. Some argue that the name of the city can only be changed by either legislation, or the issuing of a new royal charter. As far as I'm aware, this has not been tested in court. Wikipedia refers to the city/district as Derry, whilst referring to the ceremonial county as Londonderry (a classic Wikipedia compromise, reached after much wailing and gnashing of teeth!). Others, including the BBC in Northern Ireland, often refer to London stroke Derry or London/Derry (or even, whimsically, Stroketown). In Great Britain, the settlement is sometimes referred to as Londonderry and the city as Derry, or else Londonderry is used for both. In the Republic of Ireland, the city, settlement and county are almost universally referred to as Derry. Skinsmoke (talk) 05:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

1973 election[edit]

[2] is fairly clear about the votes and seats in the 1973 election:

Party            Votes     %     Seats
SDLP             11,008 (32.4%) 10 Councillors
Nationalist       2,850  (8.4%)  3 Councillors
Republican Clubs  2,091  (6.2%)  1 Councillor
Alliance          4,930 (14.5%)  4 Councillors
United Loyalists 12,483 (36.8%)  9 Councillors

To me this is clearly a majority of seats (14/27) for nationalists and republicans combined compared with a majority of votes (51.3%) for loyalists and Alliance combined. --Henrygb 17:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

While the number of votes and seats in the 1973 election are clear enough, the wording that "unionists (who had an electoral pact in that year) and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland won a majority of votes between them" carries the implication that the Alliance Party was allied - informally - with the unionists, and I don't think that was the case. (The probable reason why nationalists took a majority of seats might be that enough Alliance voters gave them second preferences ahead of unionists.) It might be more accurate to say that neither nationalists nor unionists won a majority of votes without lumping in Alliance along with one side or the other. --Paddy Matthews 17:54, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Your last point is correct - but the nationalists etc. did win a majority of the seats with a minority of the vote. There is no evidence to suggest that Alliance->nationalist transfers had much impact. Following the link above suggests the immediate cause: the electoral areas with the lowest quotas (C and D) were those where nationalists dominated. There are two indirect causes: C and D had lower % turnouts, which is not a problem; and D (almost totally nat/rep suggesting relatively few nationalist-inclined Alliance voters) had too many councillors while E and perhaps B had too few, which if the demographics had been reversed given the previous history would have led to accusations of gerrymandering. --Henrygb 11:27, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

STV can throw up these cases from time to time - Malta has had several elections where the most votes and most seats are different - see Maltese general election, 1981 for the first case. The main problems tend to be:

  • Seats are apportioned on the basis of electorate not turnout (or population) so differential turnout can produce anomalies.
  • Even when first used boundaries are already out of date.
  • Not all votes end up behind a successful candidate under STV. Because of the way the quota is calculated (basically the number of votes divided by one more than the number of seats rounded up) the count is always going to end with slightly less than a quota's worth of votes behind unsuccessful candidates.
  • Transfers are rarely 100% between candidates of the same party (although in Malta they're incredibly strong - indeed Sinn Fein could take lessons from Maltese parties on how to prevent vote leakage), let alone between candidates from different parties.
  • With a small number of seats there will be a significantly high percentage of votes left over.

If a party gets 50% of the vote in a constituency (and has strong internal transfers) then it will win 60% of the seats in a five member constituency and 67% of the seats in a three member constituency. However it will only get 50% in a four member constituency (and could have got them with 40% of the vote) and 50% again in a six member (when it would only have needed 43%).

Looking at the five DEAs the 1973 result seems to have been caused as follows (all quota calculations are rough estimates):

  • A: In a 6 seat DEA, the United Loyalists had just short of 3.4 quotas but the SDLP had just over 2 quotas, the Alliance just short of 1 and the smaller party votes were inclined towards either the SDLP (Republican Clubs, Nationalists) or Alliance (Labour). So the United Loyalists were not in a position to convert their vote into 4 seats.
  • B: In a 5 seater the SDLP and Alliance both had just over 1 quota each and the smaller party votes were both SDLP inclined. So the United Loyalists again had about 3.5 quotas but got rounded down to 3 seats with the SDLP and Alliance each taking 1.
  • C: In a 5 seater the SDLP got just shy of 3 full quotas so didn't get rounded down. Republican Clubs were just below 1 quota whilst the Nationalists were slightly above and both got 1 seat. Hence it was Alliance who fell short completely.
  • D: In a five seater the SDLP got about 2.5 quotas but only 2 seats whilst the United Loyalists got 1.5 quotas but only 1 seat so the effect cancelled off against each other. Alliance were not far off 1 quota and got 1 seat, as did the Nationalists who were further away but again the smaller parties were Republican Clubs, Independent Republicans and the SDLP surplus who'd be inclined that way.
  • E: In another 6 seater the United Loyalists and the SDLP both got around 2 quotas and both got 2 seats. Alliance was just short of 1 quota and the Nationalists had just over 0.5 of a quota with the smaller parties being favourable.

So without even looking at the turnout or apportionment, a reason for the failure of the United Loyalists and Alliance to win a majority between them can be found in the former stacking up surplus half quotas in A, B & D whilst the latter fell just short in C - a combined total of over 2 quotas "wasted". By contrast the SDLP, Nationalists and Republicans had a much better success rate of not being rounded down with only really 0.5 quotas in D wasted (if that - it may have helped the Nationalists get over quota). Timrollpickering (talk) 00:12, 21 July 2009 (UTC)