Disproportionality

It has been far too long since I wrote a post, but the UK general election results really warrant my silence to be broken.

First of all, my congratulations to the Conservative party for their runaway and completely unexpected election result. They seem to have more support than ever before! In fact, their vote share is roughly the same as their loss to Labour in the 1974 October election (ukpolitical.info). But let’s not get carried away. Perhaps their vote share was proportionally more than any other party this time, with more political parties diffusing the other votes. Let’s have a look at the actual figures this time (taken from The Guardian)

Party Seats Seat % Votes Vote %
Conservative 331 50.9 11.3m 36.9
Labour 232 35.7 9.3m 30.4
UKIP 1 0.15 3.9m 12.6
Lib Dem 8 1.23 2.4m 7.9
SNP 56 8.62 1.5m 4.7
Green 1 0.15 1.2m 3.8

I really do think these figures speak for themselves. Nevertheless, let’s look further. Conservatives have a majority of seats with the most votes, fair enough. Labour are trailing with fewer seats and fewer votes, but still doing well, at least compared to UKIP.

UKIP really do deserve more seats. I may disagree entirely with their policies, but everyone in the UK has a right to fair representation in parliament. It is entirely unfair for more than 1 in 8 of the British population to have their views effectively disregarded. Even the Liberal Democrats and Liberals had more seats with not that much more of the popular vote in both this election and 1974 October respectively.

And now there are just two parties in my brief analysis: the SNP and the Greens. I don’t think I even need to talk about these here. The SNP had 25% more of the national vote than the Greens, and 5500% more representation in Westminster.


I find these results extremely worrying, particularly the way the votes have gone. Time after time during the results, it was suggested that people voted against the party who represents the opposite of their views rather than the party who does represent their views. In a two party system, these were one and the same, but no longer, and I fear that the swing towards Conservatives was a reaction by the opponents of UKIP.

Secondly, I think that UKIP’s success is representative of the success that could be enjoyed by the other small parties in the absence of tactical voting. I have spoken to several Green supporters, for example, that voted Conservative to form a stronger wall against UKIP, or that voted Labour as a stronger wall against Conservatives.

In all this, I call for Proportional Representation as an end to tactical voting, and an end to the unfairness inherent in the current First Past The Post system. Naturally it has its problems, as will any system, but I feel that it’s the best system for us in the current political climate, especially in this age of Chief Whips and Party Lines^(TM) where unfortunately many of us are misrepresented by an MP voting for the party rather than their people.

To those (like my parents) who are cheering for FPTP for preventing the rise of UKIP, I’d just like to remind them that UKIP this election under proportional representation would only have 82 MPs, a significant number, but not enough for undue influence.

If any reader agrees with me, I encourage them to sign this petition on Change.org, asking for a referendum for proportional representation: Reform our voting system to make it fair and representative

Appendix: MPs under Proportional Representation

Party Vote % Seats (650) Seats (1000)
Conservative 36.9 240 369
Labour 30.4 198 304
UKIP 12.6 82 126
Lib Dem 7.9 51 79
SNP 4.7 31 47
Green 3.8 25 38
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s