An inconvenient truth

posted 10 May 2010, 01:08 by Peter Shields   [ updated 10 May 2010, 16:46 ]
In Bradford East, 40,457 people cast their vote. 26,820 of them count for nothing.  That's right, 2 out of every 3 votes cast are utterly worthless.  And that's pretty much the same picture nationally. 70% of people who voted needn't have bothered.

One good argument in favour of the First Past The Post electoral system - that it produces strong, definitive government - has been proved false by this election.  That argument may have been stronger in times when there were only 2 parties, but that is no longer the case.

Fifty years ago 98% of all votes cast were for either Labour or Conservative. This time it was just 65%.  The tide is going out on simple 2 party politics.

Here's a break down of all the votes cast in this General Election:

And here's how that translates into actual representation in Parliament:

And here's what Parliament would look like under Proportional Representation*:

If chart 1 & chart 3 look remarkably similar that's because they are. In fact they're identical. Some people think that is shocking because it means the BNP would end up with seats in Parliament.  However I'm constantly amazed how those same people don't seem bothered by the fact that Sinn Fein are allowed representation in parliament.  The way to beat ideologies we don't like is to beat them, not to rig things against them.  Surely anyone interested in justice & democracy can see that our current electoral system is neither just or democratic.

And that is why we need a system where the true wishes of the people can be determined.  Proportional Representation would be a start.  Direct Democracy would be even better.

The mood for change is rising.  If you think it's time that democracy better represented you then the time to act is now.  Join one of the Take Back Parliament demos like this one in Leeds.

* - ok, it might not look exactly like this depending on which electoral system is used ... but it'll look more like this than the other one!