An Autumn General Election to settle BREXIT?

Using our antiquated First-past-the-post voting system?

- and with 4 parties in pole position?

You might as well throw dice!

 

"There is no greater gamble on earth than a British general election"
James Middleton, Secretary of the Labour Party 1936

 

 

If you think a general election is going to solve the current political crisis, you had better think again.

 

After all, it was the last general election result that cost Theresa May her majority in the House of Commons two years ago when our outdated voting system awarded her 13 fewer seats in exchange for over 2 million additional votes!  Moreover, the fate of the nation turned on the results in a handful of constituencies; on the Saturday after Polling Day, the Times reported that just several dozen additional votes across 4 constituencies would have given Theresa May a working majority. In the same paper, a constituency map of the UK suggested a nation hopelessly split between rural conservative and urban labour strongholds when in fact this was a misleading image, a product of our divisive voting system which disenfranchised Conservative voters in much of London, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Wales, South Yorkshire and the North East, while denying representation to Labour voters in the shires.

 

And remember that our Victorian First-past-the-post is supposed to return "strong"majority governments!

 

Was the 2017 General Election a one-off? Unfortunately not; thanks to continued use of our Victorian voting system, we are a global laughing stock every time we hold a general election, as is evidenced by the following figures for this and the previous 3 general elections, with some of the major mismatches highlighted:-

 

 

Main UK Parties

% Votes and Seats

2005

2010

2015

2017

Votes

Seats

Votes

Seats

Votes

Seats

Votes

Seats

Conservative

32.3

30.6

36.1

47.2

36.9

50.9

42.4

48.9

Labour

35.3

55.1

29.0

39.7

30.4

35.7

40.0

40.3

Liberal Democrat

22.1

9.6

23.0

8.8

7.9

1.2

7.4

1.8

UKIP

2.2

0

3.1

0

12.6

0.1

1.8

0

Green

1.0

0

1.0

0.1

3.8

0.1

1.6

0.1

 

 

The 2017 election result could have been worse; our voting system, known as “First-past-the-post”, is so inefficient that the winners can end up losing! In 1951, the Labour Party won more votes than the Conservatives, but the Conservatives won the election. In February 1974, the Conservatives won the most votes, but Labour won more seats.

 

There is no rhyme or reason to First-past-the-post. You might as well throw dice. But why is this, exactly?

 

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© David Green