Saturday, 9 May 2015

3.9m votes = 1 MP

Of course this must be the most pressing matter arising from GE15. 

In the past I've stood against PR in any form and in favour of FPTP, but the iniquity of the UKIP result has changed the facts. And I always reserve the right to change my mind when this happens. However, there will be little appetite on the Treasury bench to look at this; FPTP works (sort of) with a 2.5 party system, but not with the multi-party result split along national borders that we've just had. 

Add to this the urgent problem of boundary changes, where currently the vote of someone in Manchester or East London is only worth a third of the vote of someone in a rural Welsh or Scottish constituency. Equalising constituency sizes to a lesser-developed nation standard of at least +/-5% is essential; achieving the +/-3% level that advanced democracies such as New Zealand achieve must be an aspiration.

My great fear with PR is that we will be deprived of the Balls and Portillo moments. UK elections are usefully brutal at times in reminding politicians who their bosses are. Party grandees tend to be protected under PR, with hopeful newcomers taking the kicks. It really would be a shame to lose the spectacle of a humiliated loser pay for his/her hubris by standing on the returning officer's stage as they are openly shamed.


DeeDee99 said...

I would happily lose the very rare "Portillo" moment in favour of having fair representation in what is supposed to be OUR Parliament.

The Westminster Parliament doesn't represent me - or the other 4 million people who voted UKIP.

It's no wonder millions don't bother to vote and are so apathetic about politics.

Our political class will only take notice of the electorate when they are forced to: and that means losing the protection of FPTP.

TrT said...

Under pr
Balls would still be an mp

Span Ows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Span Ows said...

In fact UKIP polled a full million MORE than the TOTAL of votes cast in Scotland...

TrT said...

Next time around will be a key test
UKIP may have ran out of steam, but if they can regroup, theres no reason those second places cant become first places next time around

Span Ows said...

1.45 million votes = 56 seats in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Under the current system it is possible for the total votes cast for the several loser exceeds the number of votes cast for the single winner.
PR breaks the connection between the "winners" and constituents and can lead to placemen winning "seats".
Single Transferable Voting is too complicated.
The French system whereby if no one candidate gets 50% of the popular vote there is a run-off between the top two has none of those defects.
We also need to solve Voter Registration and Voter apathy.

GreatScot said...

I reserve my right to not vote if none of the candidates and none of the parties represent my beliefs and values.

I refuse to vote for the "least worst". I will not give my mandate to act on my behalf to lying, thieving, warmongering, trouser lining, professional politicians without an ounce of integrity, morality or honesty between them. .

opsimath said...

Apathy was not the sole reason for people not voting. I didn't vote but I did accompany my wife to the Polling Station and sat inside the door while the whole, largely pointless, exercise unfolded.

And although I didn't vote, I feel quite justified in complaining about anything I choose; I am particularly angered by the number of seats UKIP had to win a single seat, but I live in a typically 'red-pig' constituency; my vote was worthless anyway.

Why pretend otherwise? This entire 'representation of the people' is a sick joke.

Budgie said...

Errmmm, PR and FPTP are irrelevances whilst three quarters of our governance is carried out at the whim of unelected EU bureaucrats. And UKIP has not "run out of steam"; 12% is pretty good (though not good enough) and together with the EU election win makes UKIP clearly the third force in UK politics.

john cheshire said...

Maybe it's time to push for the Harrogate Agenda to be implemented.

Anonymous said...

The Harrogate agenda needs to be pushed anyway John.

UKIP need to play the system, all is not lost. IN fact I'd say the opposite, indeed there is everything to play for, the tories will self destruct - they have no opposition and without at least some one to call them out their squabbling will only increase and it will highlight just how politically skewed bent most of the camerloons are become, in that these witless fuckers: don't know which way is up.
when camoron starts campaigning to keep Britain in the EU that's when the tory implosion begins.

Similarly, many former Zanu Lav voters have at long last come to their senses, they need a political entity which speaks for them. The must be made to realize UKIP can meet their demands. Aye, England for the English, small taxes, hope not hate for small businesses, self employed men and women - less bureaucracy and end to catch-all fuck everyone big state policy.

For the rump client state of the labour supporters, they can go and continue to vote for the losers or, get a life, wake up and start working for a living and get with the new political force in the towns and shires - UKIP.

FPTP, can be made to work for UKIP, the system needs to be manipulated to suit UKIP. Thus, they just need to further the ambition and to carry on making progress at the 'coal face' of politics; local democracy and council influence.

England cries out of a party which speaks for - England and UKIP always was first and foremost the party of England so we should play on that.

James Higham said...

In a sense, good that it happened. The fixation with FPTP has gripped many an Englishman for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

The SNP is an irrelevance. They are simply the nasty, selfish, somewhat thuggish, side of Labour with a takeover of their management. They should properly change their name to National Socialist Scottish Workers' Party. They already have the political uniform - tartan and kilts.

Taking votes from Labour was a pointless exercise, but they simply wanted to piggyback off the predicted Labour win in England to gain power beyond their numbers. The whole point of than manoeuvre was to put their hands deeper in English pockets to further their statist dependency culture. It was sold to the electorate on that basis, and Cameron should call their bluff.They will prove to be an irrelevance in parliament, because they'll keep on bleating about scotch business, and weaken the opposition accordingly.

lee said...

If they won't let you join the golf club you don't have to pay the green fees.

haddock said...

"the Harrogate Agenda", that's the one pushed by Dr 'Reg' North isn't it ? (In between sulking, shouting 'splitter' at Farage and asking " what have the UKIP ever done for us".)
An irrelevance, we don't have fifty years left to translate theory into practice. We need lumps of 4x2 with nails in , not exquisitely made and gilded rapiers, to defeat the enemy.

Plantman said...

As far as PR is concerned I regard the pros and cons as the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Undoubtedly Thursday's result highlights very graphically the unfairness that can, and given the death of the two party system, is more likely to occur. This will become increasingly dangerous calling our political process into even deeper disrepute and angering bigger segments of the public. We will become an even more unhappy, uncharitable place. Violence can stem from this.
So part of me shouts inside we must have a form of PR!

Then, an equal powerful inside voice says "but look what happens in those states that do" In essence you get the same establishment carve-up - the LibLabCon with a bit of tinkering round the edge to get the numbers right. I fear that PR will only strengthen the "It's ours to rule" establishment with the quango, luvvie and media support that it pays for and commands.

We need a change, God how we need a change but let's be careful what we wish for. I cannot come up with a fully thought out and rational alternative that shifts the balance of power from the Establishment to the subject.

Something in the head eats away at a percentage of the electorate - those able to vote, not just those who do - must be reached or a certain level of turnout must be achieved (another version of the same sort of thing). In constituencies where it is the FPTP candidate is elected. Where it is not PR divides up the "unwon" remainder along Party PR lines.


Nick Drew said...

the counterfactuals are complex and unknowable

people voted as they did, under the prevailing system - who knows how they would have voted under different rules?

what you've got is what you've got: and the only way for UKIP to advance is to supplant another party, as Labour supplanted the Liberals in the last century

seems to me that Labour are the more vulnerable right now, and unlikely to return to robust health any time soon - thus, the more obvious target to be bundled offstage

but 5 years is a long time

Nigel Sedgwick said...

Here is rather a long comment that I posted yesterday on Charles Crawford's website. It addresses particularly, my concerns about proportional representation, what that might mean, how different sorts of changes might be proposed to bring it about, and why some of those methods would be very bad for our democracy.

Best regards