The EU Parliament: A Fake Democracy

As we digest the Python-esque election of the new Eu Commission President (she was the only candidate on the ballot paper) I thought I’d have a look at exactly how "democratic" the  EU Parliament actually is.

Lets compare the way Parliamentary democracy is conducted in the UK and the way it is conducted in the EU Parliament. 

UK Democracy

As you know, the UK uses First Past the Post (FPTP) for 650 parliamentary seats (soon to be 600 when the Boundary changes take place)

Many think (myself included) FPTP is a pretty crap voting system. It needs updating. It can (and has) lead to over/under representation.

But even so, within the limits of geographical practicality, the UK election process attempts to be scrupulously fair.

Currently we are about to implement changes to the constituency boundary’s as dictated by the independent Boundary Commission. These changes happen to ensure the fairest possible representation across the country

In mainland UK, constituencies must have an electorate of between 72,810 and 80,473 registered voters. 

Northern Ireland has slightly (but only slightly) different requirements where the minimum is lowered to 70,810.

There are four unavoidable exceptions to these rules. All involve islands. But these exceptions are based on practicality and geography, not on deliberate political manipulation.

Even so, the absolute outlier (Western Isles constituency size - 21,200) is only over represented by a factor of less than 3.5:1.

A great deal of effort is expended trying to ensure that constituency sizes are fair. 

In fact, (except for the four anomalies), all constituencies across the UK will be within 5% of the median value regarding electorate size. 

Truly, within the bounds of practicality, one persons vote is worth much the same as another.

But what about the EU Parliament?

Elections to the EU parliament are conducted by a party list system known as the d’Hondt system. 

While d'Hondt does have issues and is not really a true proportional representation system it does (more or less) ensure a fair result across a country.

And in that, we have the problem. 

Or rather the deliberately contrived anti-democratic malapportionment as used by the EU.

While it is true that each country elects its MEPs by d’Hondt, the size of constituencies from one country to another varies massively. 

By massively I don’t mean double or even triple. I talking orders of magnitude.

Lets look at the dynamics of this related to the UK which has 73 MEPs (or a representation per MEP of about 900,000 citizens)

The greatest over-representation is that on Malta which has 6 MEPs each representing about 73,000 Maltese citizens)

So compared to the UK, Malta is over-represented by a factor of over 12:1. 

If you were to reflect the variation in EU constituency size onto the UK, it would be like having constituencies (each still returning one MP) having their electorate size varying between 6000 voters and 80,000 voters.

This is no accidental cock-up or historical legacy. This is deliberate. The EU even have a term for it they call it "Degressive Democracy".

Degressive (or even Regressive) it may be. But I think few would consider it democratic.

Malta is the worst example. But not by much. If you add up the seats allocated to the nine smaller EU countries you soon get to the 73 seats allocated to the UK.

The difference is the UK has a population of 66 million. If you add up the seats and populations of the smallest 9 EU nations you find that they have a total population of 17 million

That means that these 9 countries (compared to the UK) are over represented by at least 4:1 or by an even higher over-representation than the absolute worst case geographical anomaly in the UK parliament.

The difference is the Western Isles is an outlier due to the practicality of the situation whereas these nine EU countries are over represented by deliberate policy of the EU.

But it gets worse.

There is even a significant voter advantage compared to the UK  with larger countries. 

Germany has the largest national population in the EU with a population 82 million. The UK's population is 66 million. Yet Germany still has a per capita (i.e. per person) voter advantage of 1.05:1. 

So the Germans get 96 seats. The UK gets 73. 

If it was fair they’d get 91 to our 73. 

If the EU “Degression” concept was anything more than outright Gerrymandering they’d have around 85.

This can only be called what it is: Rigged and anti-democratic.

Of course that only applies if (like me) you believe that democracy is defined as one persons vote should be worth (more or less) the same as the next persons vote.

When one persons vote is worth the same as 12 others in another country - In my book that is fake democracy.

So why has the EU deliberately set out to do this? 

There are reasons. Most of which in my opinion are malign and are actually more to do with subverting democracy rather than supporting it. (more in another post)

But whatever the reasons, I think it is clear that the UK democracy, even with the crap FPTP voting system does its best to be fair. 

While the EU deliberately sets out to be demonstrably and deliberately unfair. It perverts democracy to its own design and it does this with a ruthless and deliberate policy.

The sooner we are out of this monster the better.

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