Monday, 26 April 2010
Sunday, 18 April 2010
The UK General Election is almost upon us, May the 6th to be precise, and the big question on every set of lips is "Who's gonna win?".
The press, the polls and even the average joe on the street seemed to have David Cameron and his Conservatives winning by a landslide - that was until Thursday.
On Thursday the first Prime Ministerial debate took place on ITV and according to the majority of pollsters Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats was a clear winner, in some cases by a rather wide margin.
The results of the debate seem to have blown shit right open with the Lib Dems climbing the opinion polls at a rate of knots and people who historically would not have considered voting Lib Dem because "they can't win" are now taking a closer look.
For you see Ladies and Gents contrary to what Labour and the Conservatives would have you believe it's not a two horse race, it is NOT a two party system, there will not be two candidates on your ballot, there will likely to be closer to a dozen if not more some from different parties and some will be independents. And get this, you can choose ANY OF THEM! Honest, you're not restricted to Labour or Tory!
Ok, so we don't have a Two Party system, but our electoral system is pretty conducive to developing one as we've seen in the last, what, 65 years? What we have is a First-Past-The-Post system. Most votes wins and that's it. That sounds pretty fair on first glance, but think of it this way: if 6 candidates stand and 5 of those candidates get 15% of the votes each and one gets 25% then the 25% candidate gets the seat even though 75% of the electorate did not vote for him/her. To me that means 75% of the constituents in that constituency don't have representation in Government.
Now you might be thinking "Hang about, you can still petition your MP even if you didn't vote for them" and indeed you can, but this'll do you little good thanks to another shitty stalwart of British Governance: The Whip System.
The Whip system is the manner in which Political Parties in the UK "control" their MPs. So if you petition your MP and ask him to vote "Nay" and his Party Whip has ordered "Yay" then you're probably shit out of luck. In a choice between party and constituents and conscience the majority of MPs historically go with Party. I believe this is an injustice and an affront to democracy.
Back to the f-p-t-p system being conducive to a two-party system, which I almost glossed over. It's due to the retarded principle of "tactical voting". If there is some absolute cunt of a party in charge then people will tend to vote "tactically" for the party they feel have the most chance of displacing the cunts in power (even if philosophically they score only slightly lower on the cunt scale) rather than the party that most suits their views. Again it's not particularly democratic as people aren't voting for their own views, more like against the views of others.
When you look at the breakdown of Popular Vote Vs Seats gained for any given UK General Election (2005 is the most recent) you see the real impact of the f-p-t-p system. Labour in 2005 obtained 36.91% of the popular vote yet 55.11% of the seats, The Conservatives obtained only 3% less votes than labour but only 30% of the seats. So the views of Labour supporters are currently far over-represented in Parliament while Conservative supporters are slightly under-represented. The real dick-in-the-face however are the results for the Liberal Democrats who saw 23.09% of the popular vote but only 9.6% of seats.
First-Past-The-Post, democratic? Hardly seems it, does it? The answer would appear to be a form of Proportional Representation which would see Popular Vote and seats-gained aligning more closely.
But that's irrelevant for now as the election on May 6th will employ f-p-t-p. So who should you vote for? Well, I'm not going to tell you.
Visit that site, take the survey and see what you get, you might be surprised by what you get.
I got 44% Green, 33% Lib Dem, 11% Conservative and 11% UKIP.
That's all for now, I'll just leave you with the wee fact that Proportional Representation is a core Liberal Democrat policy and the next debates are on Sky News on the 22nd and BBC1 on the 29th.
I've been freedoms_stain, it's good to be back, out.