When First-Past-The-Post Failed Us

On May 5th, we go to referendum on which voting system we should use.

The choice, as we all know, is between the Alternative Vote (AV) or First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) which we use now.

I believe we should adopt AV, primarily because FPTP has an intrinsic flaw that can defeat democracy.

The First-Past-The-Post system has on three separate occasions in recent history, resulted in the party with the largest slice of the popular vote failing to get the most seats.

On one of these occasions the loser was even able  to form a government with an absolute majority.

The other two travesties ended up with a "losers coalition", where the most popular party was not even given the opportunity to try and form a government first.

These general elections took place  1929, 1951 and 1974.

(WikiPedia links here - 1929  1951 1974 )

Each of these elections was technically "won"  by a party that not only had failed to secure a majority of the vote but had also  failed to even secure the largest single share of the vote.

Because of the invidious way FPTP dictates that  a few swing seats can decide who rules the country, in each of these elections, the party that should have gone on to form the government, (gauged by the total national vote), ended up as the opposition.

Even by the ideal of FPTP these elections were a travesty. But by using FPTP as the voting system, such undemocratic results were, and will be in the future, inevitable.

But actually it was worse than that.

For each of these elections was at a critical time in the history of our nation. Each of these elections failed the electorate, diminished our country and led to weak indecisive government.

My next three posts will detail each of these catastophes.

No comments: