#DemocracyIsBroken











Another UK General Election, another overwhelming feeling of being let down by the democratic process.

Let me get this clear from the start - this is a non-partisan review of the 2015 UK General Election, and why the definition of democracy in Britain continues to bewilder me.

According to the BBC News page linked above, the electorate [I.E. those eligible to vote] totals 46 million {okay technically 46,425,386, but I’m going to round to the nearest half-million for the purposes of this blog}.
The Conservative Party gained 11.5m votes - that is exactly a quarter of the electorate.

And yet, Friday afternoon, David Cameron had a chat with the Queen and subsequently formed a Majority Government.

And that’s not just a name - the Conservatives hold just over half the seats in the houses of Parliament (331).

Even ignoring the third of the country who chose not to vote, looking at the people who did vote - the Conservatives’ vote share is 37% which is still not a majority - I.E. more than half. But what is much more concerning is the ratio of votes to seats, as this simple table demonstrates:










Source: http://blog.alex.org.uk/2015/05/08/uk-2015-election-votes-per-seat/

Each Conservative seat was won with 34k votes, whereas nearly 4 million voted for UKIP, and were rewarded with just one seat.

The Green Party had over a million people vote for them, and received only one seat.

Does that sound fair?

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Of course I’m talking about Proportional Representation here. If you’re not entirely familiar with the concept, here is an excellent old - but relevant - video starring a certain J Cleese…


Sounds simple; sounds fair.

From a personal perspective, I am well aware that this would still mean that the Conservatives have a majority of Parliament, and (arguably even ‘worse’) UKIP have a far more prominent presence, but the point is - Parliament would accurately represent the spread of political opinion in the country.
I would much rather have a fair representation of the country’s political views as a whole, than end up with a quarter of the country having more than half the power.
It’s simple maths.

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I’m not going to bang on about PR right now - there are arguments and discussions to be had down the line about what type of PR is adopted - but for now I will end with an apology:

Every single day I am going to tweet 10 Downing Street and the Conservatives, asking how they can claim a majority in Parliament, when they represent only a quarter of the electorate.

Obviously there is a discussion to be also had about what the non-voting third of the country would have voted for, say if we had compulsory voting (which would still allow you to vote for ‘none of the above’).

Arguably, with PR giving a full representation of the British political map, there would be no need for people to vote tactically so more people might be encouraged that their vote will actually matter.

But - again - that discussion is further down the line; what is going to be the most difficult challenge over the next 5 years is firstly getting the party unfairly in power to acknowledge the unfairness of the First Past The Post System (unlikely, as the traditional parties benefit the most from it), and then putting a PR system in place.

I expect a compromise where a vote is run on whether we should adopt the new system - but done under the old voting system to ensure it is less likely that it wins through…

Until then - I can only ask each day, until I get an answer…

So apologies in advance for your daily reminder that - I for one - am not happy about the current ‘democratic’ process.

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