First Past the Post and Tribalism

On my post about how George Galloway won the 2005 Bethnal Green and Bow seat during the 2005 General Election, I described how FPTP was responsible for foisting an extremist candidate on the 65% of the electorate that did not vote for him. During the research for this post I noticed another very worrying issue related to FPTP.

Look at the result below from Bethnal Green General Election result 2010. Remember Bethnal Green has a very large (approx 34%) Bangladeshi community. However this is still by any standards a minority. Besides this large single community the rest of the borough is diverse.

Below is the demographics of Tower Hamlets which incorporates Bethnal Green.

Notice in the first table how most of the candidates in the 2010 General Election have Bangladeshi names even though the Bangladeshi community is a minority in the borough. While I am more than happy for all communities who are settling in the UK to strive to become part of this country (and that includes standing for parliament), I am worried that the candidates in this case, were not selected on ability but on their ability to command a large tribal vote.

Galloway demonstrated the under FPTP any electoral victor in Bethnal Green had to command the tribal vote of the Bangladeshi community. Consequently, in 2010 all the main parties presented Bangladeshi candidates, even though 65% of the seat is not Bangladeshi. Of course, each party would, no doubt, protest that their candidate really was the best candidate they had, but really it seems unreasonable that all top polling candidates have Bangladeshi names.  The candidate list has been stuffed in order to win the Bangladeshi vote on racial grounds not on policy grounds.

First Past The Post is highly sensitive to block voting. In the real world of the UK today we have  a number of communities who are prepared to vote according to what they are told to do or what they tribally fell obliged to do.

AV would have prevented the election of George Galloway and it would negate the need for political parties to select candidates on racial rather than ability grounds.

FPTP is yesterdays voting system. It is not capable of meeting the challenges of a modern society. It need to be replaced. Voting for AV is an opportunity to significantly improve the democracy in our country.

Vote for AV on Thursday.

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