‘Our democracy’ is highly undemocratic

These statistics are from the Electoral Reform Society for the recent general election.

I wonder if all those youthful Labour campaigners would like to know that, for all their effort, they got a third less MPs than they would have done if they were Conservatives – and half as many as the SNP.

But pity the LibDems – and especially the Greens…

The system doesn’t work as we are told democracies ought to! Change to the electoral system is surely unarguable and would, I suggest, be an easy sell for fairness in the next Labour manifesto. The LibDems were always in favour of change to the electoral system but seem to have been blown off course by the failed referendum during the coalition. The Greens are already in favour. In my view Labour really ought to be embracing electoral reform now – in readiness.

The only reasons against are by definition less or even un-democratic.

Comments

  1. Richard Bond -

    I am in total agreement with the need for some kind of PR, did you have a specific system in mind?

    However, unless the Tories remodelling of the constitution starts a national debate, I don’t think Labour will go for it:

    – The Green Party in E&W for eg. polled 1.8m in the Euro elections under PR, but in the distorted world of FPTP only 857k. I would imagine Labour was the beneficiary for almost all the difference (including my vote, just this once) and would not want to lose them.

    – Votes per Seat has historically favoured Labour and they are unlikely to want to change if it means a coalition government.

    – People have just categorically shown they’re not overly concerned about fair play. With government spin and a compliant media against them, I think Labour will see it as an unnecessary diversion from key battlegrounds.

    This is, of course, assuming there will be future elections!

    1. Andrew (Andy) Crow -

      “….I don’t think Labour will go for it:…”

      Neither do I. They have an arrogance based on having got away with it too often in the past.

      Labour will ‘buy’ PR when they have lost hope of winning power any other means (which is the default win when the Tories crack-up completely in one of their periodic crises).. By then it will be too late.

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  4. Mike Ghirelli -

    Well, yes, it is ludicrous that the UK is one of the very few modern democracies that relies on a first past the post system. I do not think that any general election in post war Britain has produced a result giving one party over 50% of ther poll. Can someone confirm that? That means that there would have been, under a PR system, a succession of post-war House of Commons without any party having an overall working majority. Nercessarily, therefore, coalitions would have been formed, ar tacit agreements, and policies enacted that would be the result of negotiation and co-operation between parties, rather than the system of electoral dictatorship of FPTP that rewards absolute power to a minority elected party with less than 50% of the vote. There would never have been an EU mebership referendum in 2016 had the Commons been elected by PR. So yes, logic, natural justice, the need for good governance of this country all demand that we have PR replace FPTP.

    BUT IT AIN’T GOIN’ TO ‘APPEN. NO WAY. The parties (in England and Wales) that would favour a such a constitutional reform, the Greens, the Lib Dems, and paradoxically, UKIP, and The Brexit Party, have not a snowball’s chance in hell of forming a government. Labour have shown no inclination in the past towards abandoning FPTP, a system that could be relied on to reward them with periods of government in alternation with the Tories. And who among us can see the present Labour party, massacred, blitzed, limping crippled from the fray, forming a government in 2024 – or 2029? The Tories have now got total and absolute power over the UK, and they are not going to trade in their (blue) passport to power, FPTP, for a system that will deprive them of that assurancew of control over the social, political, and economic life of this country. The only hope is that Johnson and his mostly incompetent acolytes make such an utter chaos of government and of the Brexitised economy, a chos perhaps amplified by a major world wide financial crisis on the scale of 1929 or 2008, that governing the UK (with a 95 year old weary head of state) – or whatever remains of it after Scots and Ulster withdrawal – is reduced to such a state of anarchy and revolution that an emergency administration has to be formed and a root and branch reform of the constitution is forced through somehow by someone. But this would involve an awful lot of sufffering, and hardship that especially would hit the levels of society least able to adapt to the chaos. Until that moment, if it comes, where is there any effective pressure, any irresistible force, that will impose upon the present or any future government a system of electing to Parliament that better represents the – er – “will of the people”?

    1. Peter May -

      Labour might be ‘part’ of a government if the embraced PR. They simply have to recognise this – as most of their Europen counterparts do.
      I agree about your Tory ‘total power’ – and all on a minority of the votes cast!

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  6. Jeremy GH -

    One of the other things about British elections is that voting systems vary (i.e. the ‘instructions to voters’ will vary, depending on the election: I think, if there are two elections at the same time, they are only the same if it is in Northern Ireland, and neither is a Westminster parliamentary election.

  7. Ian Robert Stevenson -

    The people of Northern Ireland seem fairly united in rejecting Brexit, especially a ‘no deal’ one which is again likely. This could mean a referendum on unity. If they get one or come close, the Scots will also be demanding one.
    Johnson won’t like it but he could come over ‘all democratic’ and allow it. If the separation is rejected, he wins. If they vote to leave, he loses opposition parties. England usually returns a Conservative majority.
    The nuclear deterrent is located in Scotland and it would take several years to rebuild.
    That would cost him electoral support -from his own supporters.
    We could end up with rump United Kingdom of England and Wales. Would we keep or seat at the UN Security Council?
    All the consequence of nostalgic British nationalism.

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