Friday 23 May 2014

Now is the time to change the Westminster voting system

Interesting night in the biggest elections in the UK this year. Until the Euro result on Sunday it will be hard to say what the real facts are, but one thing that is already clear is that the results are very mixed.

Labour winning in Hammersmith, but losing in Thurrock. The Lib Dems being hammered, but holding onto councils where they have MP's. UKIP broadly successful but not doing well in Eastleigh, one of their top target seats. The Tories too, losing overall in some funny places but gaining in Wigan.

All of this is explained by the First-Past-the-Post voting system. it is a great system for a 2 party election as it ensures solid government, even without majority voting from the people. However, now that UKIP are establishing themselves alongside the Lib Dems as the protest vote party, it causes some very odd results.

After all in 4 way split FPTP votes you can be elected with 26% of the vote - no doubt this is actually happening somewhere in the Country. UKIP, for whom I voted, are really splitting the opposition votes and picking up votes from all the other parties. Overall this is a good thing, as the Great Recession showed us that the two main parties have broadly the same policies which can lead us to disaster. Greater choice should be a good thing.

However, the voting system of FPTP falls apart. Next year we could see Ed Milliband and Labour elected with a majority government with about 34% of the vote, if UKIP performs strongly, maybe even 33%. Given turnout will be around 60% that could mean a Labour Government for whom just 1-in-5 voted for. With that level of democratic deficit, the Government could claim little real mandate to rule and govern.

In 2011 I was against the AV referendum, on the basis we had more important worries then, in 2014, the situation has changed as many of these have been finally addressed. the UK is already facing radical change with the Scottish referendum vote - the next few years it seems will be all about the politics of governance.


Electro-Kevin said...

UKIP are doing this despite - what seems to be - a coordinated press/BBC/Westminster assault on them. Including atrocious scare mongering from the vital Daily Mail.

One BBC political editor has been displaced for biased (and insulting) comments against UKIP on her public Twitter account.

Peter Hitchens has been promised an on-air apology by Radio 4 for misrepresenting him - alas this comes on Sunday, after the elections so the BBC achieved the damage they wanted and got away with it.

Then there is the plethora of UKIP-a-like parties deliberately set up to split the UKIP vote.

In a true democracy ALL out-of-EU votes would be added up to establish the total strength of 'out' feelings, alas they won't be.

UKIP have done well regardless.

Steven_L said...

UKIP winning in England will probably boost the 'Yes' vote in Scotland.

It's becoming a very real possibility Scotland will vote 'Yes' by a tight margin.

If they do, that will make the 2015 general election very interesting indeed.

Blue Eyes said...

You think the "main parties" (why didn't you just use the ridiculous LIBLABCON phrase?) have the same economic policy? Oops.

If you want electoral reform, do you think UKIP are the party to give it to you?

I would like some more responsive electoral system, but can you think of one that could realistically be implemented, without totally destroying the main purpose of elections which is the ability to kick out the government?

The good news about UKIP's "success" is that is totally disproves their idiotic wail that their views are being oppressed by a conspiracy by the LIBEral MetroPOLitaN eLITe, with help from the EU and Freemasons which are actually the same thing.

Blue Eyes said...

Also, these elections show (as if we needed reminding) how different London is to the rest of the country.

Independence for London. Passport controls at London Bridge, please.

Electro-Kevin said...

You sound kind of tense, Blue.

Bad news this morning ?

Thank goodness we don't live under a Labour government. By now we'd have:

- increasing national debt
- a housing bubble
- out of control immigration
- Mr Skull-Kracker and his mate Steve the Slasher walking out of open prisons
- An education secretary sending his kid to a selective school while telling us comps are the BEST !

A bit of creative destruction is what is needed before we get to the kind of party that is going to give us democratic reform.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

E-K is right. A few years back a Labour PM walked out of Downing Street and an alleged Conservative walked in, and nothing changed. Except for gay "marriage" which is wildly popular down our way. The only question we ask down the pub is "where's the foetus gonna gestate? In a box?"

They all want wind farms and assorted green bullshittery. Interchangeable metropolitan cunts, the lot of them.

We don't need a new voting system that gives us perpetual coalition. I want to fire these bastards, not enable backroom deals. What we really need is old fashioned lampposts and a plentiful supply of hemp. Perhaps then we can get our country back and rediscover old virtues like freedom of speech. If one more marxist arsehole on the BBC tells me mainstream opinions are 'inappropriate' or 'racist' i shall put my boot through the screen.

Farage may be a fool but at least he is a recognisable human being who is in favour of free speech and refuses to take part in the Leveson bollocks.

Electro-Kevin said...

SW - Farage is no fool.

Prime Ministerial ambitions are killed off over silly things such as:

- holding a banana the wrong way
- falling in the sea on a beach
- wearing a baseball cap on a roller coaster
- forgetting the words to the Welsh national anthem

Farage has not only survived week upon week of being called a racist (about the most serious slur in modern Britain) but thrived on it and created a four party state.

Being a true Cockney and having spent the major part of my life living as a Londoner and now living in the provinces I have a unique take on the capital where Labour is doing so well.

I quote:

"London liberals believe that a) their liberalism is self-evidently smart and b) anyone who rejects it is a bigoted moron. For years, those who do not subscribe to London’s fashionable politics have had to put up with being told not only that they are wrong but also mentally deficient and prejudiced. Hence, the attacks on Farage as a racist fool inspire, if not sympathy, a recognition that this slight is daily inflicted upon almost everyone who lives outside the M25. By treating so many of their fellow Britons with contempt, the London establishment has built up a tide of bitterness against it."

Farage is no fool and those who criticise him have no monopoly on being right. London may look good in terms of wads of cash but now we have highly qualified lawyers living in high rise flats originally designed for milkmen,street sweepers, office cleaners...

Now whatever thought process created that sorry situation IS foolish.

Timbo614 said...


I don't think you can brand Nigel as a fool. Many would like to think they could achieve what he has, despite the considerable headwinds of the MSM and cock-ups by his compatriots.

The unfortunate thing is that he has had to do it almost single handed and (reportedly) he is not a well man after all his accidents etc.

UKIP now needs serious politicians or at least enlightened newcomers/representatives. If he can swing that throughout the next year, then UKIP will be a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately it probably won't be enough and it will land us a labour government for 5 years...

I was in favour of PR/AV because of the distortions caused by FPTP, but it was obvious from the lack of publicity and urging to vote by the incumbents and vested interests that it was never intended to happen.

CU is correct tho' that the time is right for a major change of political direction, how that gets achieved I'm not sure except of course for lampposts and err... piano wire is quicker and more humane surely :)

More seriously it is obvious that the internet is the answer to the voting conundrum - instant voting/opinion on every move they make.

New world, new rules.

Ossian said...

Was at a vote telling last night at my local council. Watching paint dry is more interesting so all the agents had a chat.

Cons are still the party with the god given right to rule.

Mini-Cons (LibDems) were laid back as if they had been on too much of the weed. Politics is cyclical and UKIP help them under FPTP and not hinder. No-overall-control means they have the chance of another deal.

UKIP were their usual swivel-eyed loons. Where they have seats, the established parties are tearing lumps out of them due to their lack of knowledge of process and procedure. When all said and done Farage is merely a media tart. The FPTP does not help him. Neither does his assorted band of amateurs.

The real eye opener were Labour who were all knitted out with red clipboards and some sort of matrix (OCR readable) sheets where they wrote down "voting samples". The "samples" will be interesting as the voting papers were face down. Like some sort of school children they huddled and ticked all night long without showing anyone their new secret weapon.

So it seems that there is a new diktat from Labour HQ and some new tick-our-way-to-success scheme being rolled out. They were terrified not to abandon it despite the obvious waste of time.

The Cons will now steal UKIP policies to out-UKIP UKIP - getting votes without taking on the liability of UKIP party members of all ocular direction.

The LibDems will sit on the sidelines waiting to be wooed.

And then there is also Scotland and will those MPs still be available?

Interesting times.

First Time Commenter said...

There is real risk of England going Thai. A sophisticated affluent electorate in London vs the backward hinterland.

hovis said...

Looking at previous reforms they only occurred after a major war or threat of revolution. We are not there yet.

No matter how you view change from 3 to 4 recognised parties it is not:

1832 (Captain Swing Riots, Peterloo Massacre, large scale agitation.)

1868/1872 Large scale agitation and revival of Chartism

1918 (homes fit for heroes and demobilsation after the recent Russian Revolution)

1945 (demilitarisation)

We are nowhere near that level yet, so things will only get worse.

Expect more corportism, corruption, cronyism, evisceration of freedoms, surveillance state, dismantling of common law, non transparency in the rule of law.
All will increase, especially with things like as TTIP on the horizon.

Electro-Kevin said...

I suppose all those who say UKIP will never be a serious party are right.

For me that is not the point of them.

2015 really will be year zero.

The only part of the establishment I can kick is the only one I've ever supported. The Tories.

We're all in it together ?

They're all in it together.

LibLabCon is actually the perfect name for them.

If we're going to be in Europe then let's get right in. Turn our own parliament into a museum and stop insulting our intelligence by telling us that it can make a difference.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I beg to differ re Farage. He has no actual concrete credible plan to exit Europe and his party cannot get its story straight over using Article 50 (good idea) or just declaring UDI by repealing the relevant UK statutes (bad idea). Which means, when the referendum comes, we 'outers' will lose for exactly the same reasons the SNP are going to lose in Scotland. Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

Nevertheless he is a good speaker and his heart seems to be in the right place, so I voted for his party anyway. But they need to get their act together on policy to move beyond a protest vote.

Malcolm Tucker said...

Labour have sneaked up to almost 300 gains. While that isn't particularly good it isn't going to be bad enough to keep them from office.

Red Ed still looks like being the next PM.

But a weak PM with a weak party and weak majority.
Not sure what he can achieve. Probably just make things worse.

Anonymous said...

UKIP's problem are they attract too many fruitcakes, and are held together by the personality of Farage.

They need to dump stupid policies like stopping gay marriage, the only people who worry about that are the religious nutjobs and coffin dodgers, neither of whom can be considered a long term platform, although US politics has a rich history of allowing the dead votes, so maybe Labour could mine that for their next foray into electoral fraud.

Pull out some policies on how we leave the EU, some figures on how we'll do it, some more ideas on the economy.

They've got their foot in door, now they've really got to try and come up with something to move it up and become more than The Nigel Farage Party.

It's all very Wizard of Oz right now, where Farage tries to ensure we don't peep behind any curtains.

I'd also be a lot happier with them if many of the people I know voted for them were not also the exact same people who haven't cottoned on they've arrived where they are in life, not because of immigrants, but because they fucked up in life. Walk out of school thinking £100 a week was gold, exams were stupid and that college and uni was for poofs. Then 15 years down the line discover their pay rise is down to the minimum wage increase and the 'poofs' are doing a lot better because they decided education wasn't a sandpit to dick around in.

Mining the same rich vein of stupidity and jealousy the socialists do. Not something that appeals really.

Timbo614 said...

@SW (from Timbo slightly pissed): Riding the wave of opportunity, does not make you a fool.

It gives Nigel something in common with many people: "I'll cross that bridge if/when I get to it"

@Anon 10:05: in 1968 (when I left school, after dicking around A LOT) £100 a week was gold. Just remember George Best was the first £1000/week footballer...So if today we earned 10% of what the world's most famous footballer did, we would all be on say £10,000 a week...

That's inflation for you.

First Time Commenter said...

I feel quite sorry for a lot of the people who want to use UKIP to kick back somehow. I suppose it must be a case of "those people over there are doing better than me so they must be corrupt". Blame-shifting.

Jan said...

I think Ossian may be on to something with his observation of the "tick-our-way-to-success" Labour strategy. This sums up the Labour mentality to a T. They could stand around feeling important and more importantly doing something however useless. (I bet it was invented by Harriet Harman)

Electro-Kevin said...

First Time Commenter - nonsense.

We're fed up with being condescended to and patronised. Like you've just done.

john in cheshire said...

I voted against AV because the repulsive eddie izzard and billy bragg had the temerity to send me messages telling me to vote for it.

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