A General Election? Or a Lottery?

The General Election tomorrow promises to be the closest and probably unfairest election in recent UK history.

Tomorrow we may well see the SNP with about 5% of the UK national vote return 40 - 50 MPs while UKIP with 15% will return 2 or 3.

The Greens will get a national vote share of about 5% will return just one MP. Meanwhile the Lib-Dems with their 5-8% will return anything up to 30.

To emphasise how bizarre, awful and anti-democratic this all is, be aware that the single Green MP may well only get elected after fluking it with support of only 31% of the Brighton electorate (like she did in the last election).

But without that fluke the Greens with their 5% would have no representation at all.

Meanwhile Labour expect to maintain their tribal vote in the North while the Conservatives will expect to maintain their tribal vote in the South

Most of this gross unfairness is down to the rubbish voting system we use. The First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system is both prone to fraud and can easily return an unfair result.

The FPTP voting system strongly favours tribal voting. That's why Labour and the Conservative love it.

That's why five years ago both Labour and Conservative unleashed a wave of fear-mongering to get the referendum on proportional representation rejected. That coupled with an incompetent campaign run by the Lib-Dems led us to voting against reform. (Seriously, who put the Lib-Dems in charge?)

Because we now have many parties with significant (4% or more) support, tomorrow will be more like a lottery than a fair and democratic election. All thanks to FPTP.

So tomorrow, why not just vote for who you believe in?

True, you can try and be clever and second guess a secret ballot by voting tactically.

But really the chances are you'll either guess it wrong or it won't make any difference anyway. You will also disguise your true opinions.

Stay true to your principles.

Of course this travesty of an election is not a one off. First Past the Post has failed us many, many times in the past.

But there is one thing worse than voting in a FPTP election. That is NOT voting at all.

Below are the three biggest FPTP howlers. No prizes for spotting the unfairness.


Dioclese said...

Well said, Billo! Vote for who you believe in!!!

There was a disgusting article in the Daily Fail this morning on how to vote tactical to keep Ed out of number 10. Naturally most of it seemed to consist of vote Tory instead of UKIP.

FPTP has had it's day but if you replace it with PR then lunatics like the Greens would get more seats. Still, if that what the electorate want, they should get it. Might make people consider their choices a bit better?

I'm still in favour of compulsory voting with a 'no suitable candidate' option on the ballot and I reckon if 'no suitable' gets 51%, they should re-run the election with all new candidates. That'd shake the bastards up a bit...

Flaxen Saxon said...

Mr D, I agree with most of your sentiments, but can't agree with compulsory voting, for the obvious reasons. Anyway, it seems your oratory has taken hold with a good friend of ours and bore fruit. The greater credit must go to him, no doubt.

Russ Wood said...

But Proportional Representation isn't necessarily a solution! We've had it in South Africa since 1994, with the result that the MPs represent their party, not the voters. To keep their cushy jobs, the MPs HAVE to vote the way the (unelected) party officials say. So, once the voters have selected a party, that's it for the next 5 years!

BilloTheWisp said...

I hear what Russ says. There are of course many different PR systems. Some are prone to misuse. Especially if the scheme results in a dislocation between constituency and representative.

The one that appeals to me is a variant of AV (the scheme rejected in the last ref) Vanilla AV has problems (though better than FPTP) and there are better systems - but it does maintain the link between constituency and candidate . I cannot remember the name of the variant but this is roughly how it works...Maybe someone can remind me of its name!!

AV can be corrected by having extra seats awarded according to share of vote (per seat) The beneficiary is NOT party appointed but the best runner ups from that party. So you count up all votes per party divide by number of seats won. Which gives you the average vote per seat for that party. Parties get awarded more seats if their vote per seat is higher and the number is based on their total votes.

This way SNP (25K votes per seat) would get no extra seats while other parties with higher votes per seat would get suitabley extra MPs - these MPs would be the highest polling 2nd places for that party not party appointed apparachtiks.

No system is perfect and the above is just my favorite but there are so many problems with FPTP just about any replacement would give more democratic results.
I did a series of posts back in 2011 on the failings of FPTP - they are listed in the "voting" page

WildrosesRule said...

AV is far too complicated (even though I voted for it) - you need a much simpler system which you can sell to the public-

Anyway one of the top priorities of the new government (which they are not exactly shouting from the rooftops), is Boundary Change, which will shut Labour down for a generation. And they'll get it this time around.

The real story now is Europe, and whether Dave can fix the vote on this too, 'cos he sure as hell ain't gonna get us a deal.