So, the results are in, and an unexpected outcome in some ways. Slim as it is, I don’t think many would have predicted the Tories getting an overall majority! However, in other ways the results of this election were entirely predictable, and one of the most predictable elements was that the distribution of seats would in no way match the distribution of the national share of votes. The SNP, with 1.45 million votes, has received 56 seats. That’s 8.6% of the seats with 4.8% of the votes. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile got 2.41 million votes and 8 seats – 1.23% of the seats with 7.9% of the votes. Continue reading
Only 24% of the electorate or 11.3 million people voted Conservative, yet we have a majority Conservative government. UKIP got 3.8 million votes, while the Green party got 1.1 million votes, but both ended up with only one MP each. Compare that with SNP who received 1.5 million votes and have 56 MPs. The Liberal Democrats received 2.4 million votes, yet returned eight MPs.
Then we have the roughly 35% of the electorate who did not cast a vote. Are they really apathetic about what way they are governed, or is it they feel disillusioned with British politics and that none of the parties represent what they stand for or believe in? I suggest it is the latter and they in fact did cast a vote on 7th May not to endorse the policies of any of the political parties. Surely all of these facts tell us that our first past the post voting system is unfit for a 21st century democracy. Continue reading
I want to share with others one approach to re-imagining democracy which may or may not work. It is small scale, experimental and with no certainty of success but even its shortcomings and failures will, I hope, afford some useful learning lessons for all of us.
It attempts to tackle two issues relating to representative democracy. The first is the absence of any clear, independent record of what candidates actually say and commit to. Cast your mind back to the last election and try Googling an issue of concern – can you find anything? There may be scattered references in local newspapers or on defunct blogs but the most important content has likely been deleted or removed, probably soon after the 2010 election ended. What your MP said then might be a source of some embarrassment now – or worse! But it is too late, the information has been deleted. Continue reading