Our Democracy is Broken

There is a national campaign running called http://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/ and it is concerned with voting reform in the United Kingdom and in particular Proportional Representation.

Our democracy is broken, there is no if’s, but’s or doubts about it. Our democracy has been broken for as long as I can remember; my whole voting life my vote in UK General Elections has just not mattered, that is replicated across the whole of the UK for far too many voters. The current system is UNREPRESENTATIVE.

In the 2015 General Election the Conservatives won an overall majority with just 36% (330 seats) of the vote. Labour received 30% of the vote (232 seats) , the Liberal Democrats 8% of the vote (8 seats), the SNP 4.7% of the vote (56 seats), UKip 12.6% of the vote (1 seat), and the Green Party 3.8% of the vote (1 seat). I have not included Northern Ireland as some parties don’t stand. So as you can clearly see the number of seats a party receives just does not appear to make sense based on their vote share under the current first past the post system.

It doesn’t make sense.

This problem is set to become even worse if proposed boundary changes come to fruit with parliament being reduced from 650 MPs to 600. If this were to happen then parliament would look something like Conservative 322 seats, Labour 204 seats, SNP 50 seats and Liberal Democrats 4 seats, this change would virtually guarantee Conservative majority UK Government for years and years to come. That for me is an absolutely horrific thought that actually scares me, it scares me for every one of us who work for a living, who are vulnerable, who are old, who are poor. This proposal should scare every single one of us and should get every single one of us fighting for electoral reform before it’s too late.

Now my preferred choice for electoral reform is proportional representation which is an electoral system where the electorates votes are reflected proportionately in parliament. If 30% of the electorate vote for a particular political party, then roughly 30% of seats will be won by that party. The idea of this system is that all votes contribute to the result: not just a plurality, or a bare majority, every vote matters. Proportional representation would require the use of a multiple-member voting system in our constituencies, currently we have a similar system in Scottish local Council elections (Single transferable Vote) although this is not a proportional representation system, it’s just close to it in that it provides approximately proportional representation, it enables votes to be cast for individual candidates rather than for parties, and minimizes “wasted” votes (votes on sure losers or sure winners) by transferring them to other candidates. . Far from perfect.

Proportional Representation is used in most of the world, only the UK, the US, India, Canada and France, still have elections that are decided by plurality (first past the post) voting systems. That in itself tells you a lot.

Now those with vested interests, mainly the Tories and Labour, will tell you that proportional representation allows extremist parties to gain a foothold, and that PR tends to produce coalition governments that are often weak and indecisive. They are lying, democracy matters and proportional representation would produce election results that reflect the desired will of the voter, that means something.

Now I accept that our previous experience of coalition government has been a disaster, due to the weakness of my own party the Liberal Democrats, and this experience allowed the Conservatives to campaign on fear and racism by scaring voters into thinking that the nasty, dirty Scots, would hold the balance of power in England. Ignoring the virtual 400 years of basically English rule in Scotland, but again it was all lies.

I ask you to look around you, look at the poverty, the sanctions on those who are unfortunate to be out of work, look at those who are homeless, look at your falling living standards, wage cuts, redundancy, lack of care, crumbling and dirty towns and cities and tell me that the Conservatives are a price worth paying.

First past the post will inflict more of the truly scary, and in my opinion, evil Conservatives on our country, more socialism for the wealthy and austerity for the poor and the rest of us. More right-wing driven policies designed to return us to a new Victorian Age and greater servitude. The Tories are the scum of the earth and we had better embrace electoral reform now before it’s too late and we all live to regret it as we walk along to the food kitchen in every town and city across the whole of the UK.

We have been warned.

If you agree with what I am saying please share this blog, we need as many people as possible to embrace electoral reform, it’s important and I really believe that our very wellbeing and futures depend on electoral reform as long as we are a part of the United Kingdom.

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