Firstly I would like to start off this blog by offering my own condolences to the many victims of the Mosque shootings in New Zealand that occurred this past week.
I will always struggle to understand the actions of extremists no matter where they come from, and who they claim to represent.
I can only hope justice is done for those who were murdered, and that the government of New Zealand follow thorough with the promised changes to their gun laws.
Okay so i0to my next blog post…
There have been numerous calls for a ANOTHER general election after Theresa May’s latest attempt to flog a dead horse failed!!
The only issue with this is due to the system we use to elect our members of parliament (MP’s) chances of the same tired old politicians getting back in (or someone from the same old stock) is sadly almost inevitable.
Let me explain, for elections involving MP’s and the Westminster Parliament we use the first past the post voting system. Its a very simple set up you vote for who you want to be the MP in your constituency and whoever gets the most votes wins the seat. Then whichever party has the most seats forms the government.
Many people have stated that this system has provided stable government in this country when other countries who use different systems have chopped and changed on a regular basis because nobody gets a majority (at least very rarely).
Only problem is it limits the amount parties who can get into parliament, and also means a majority can be secured with far less of the popular vote than what Donald Trump had in the US Presidential elections.
A couple of very good examples of this include:
1983 General Election that returned the Tories under Margaret Thatcher with a landslide (still riding high on the positive feeling the government received after the Falklands War of 1982).
The Tories scored about 52% of the vote so had the right to form a government but got 62% of the seats in parliament.
Labour won 34% of the vote, enough to finish second and received 32% of the seats.
Now interestingly the Liberal/SDP alliance won 31.2% of the votes but only received 3.5% of the seats in parliament.
Why? Well this was because Labour were very strong in traditional Labour areas and one the single seats based on the aforementioned election method, and their concentration of votes. The Liberal/SDP Alliance had support spread thinly across the country and this didn’t translate into seats in parliament.
1997 General Election that brought Labour back to power for the first time since the 1970’s, and started the whole Blarite cool Britannia movement of the late 90’s early noughties.
In this election Labour secured 43.2% of the popular vote, however managed to get 418 seats in parliament or 64%.
The Tories who capitulated at this election after so long in government managed 165 seats in parliament, but still managed 30.7% of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats achieved 46 seats and 16.8% of the vote.
Obviously the regional nationalist parties also achieved seats in parliament to make up the rest.
In recent years we have had a hung parliament twice in three elections however one thing remains pretty constant and that is that MP’s invariably come from 1 of 3 parties (Scotland and the SNP being unique to that region of the UK).
There are a few exceptions to the rule such as the SDP (who eventually merged with the Liberal party to become the Liberal Democrats), and Martin Bell and his white suite in 1997 to name but just two. However the reality is that the effect has been so small over the years that the last permanent change came at the beginning of the 20th century when the Labour party replaced the Liberals as one of the big two political parties in this country.
People in many seats have blindly voted for the incumbent on so many occasions that votes for any other party in those seats really don’t tend to count beyond being and interesting reflection of where the far right sit in each constituency.
So far there have been no blistering new political movements set up to compete with the establishment no matter how bad each party has been on trying to secure Brexit.
The independent group may claim to be the next step in our politics, but honestly I feel if any of them actually had the guts to put up their seats in a bi-election they would lose (most likely the reason they don’t).
So my conclusion must be that sadly if a general election were called tomorrow whoever won the same tired old political elite would ultimately rule supreme.
Now I know I have mentioned a fear of the rise of extremism in this country at a national political level should Brexit be stopped, and the referendum result ignored, but the fact is this could take some time to gather momentum.
I also note that many people have said they will never vote again, and the truth of this is that the politicians want this to happen because it means those who always vote, and blindly vote for the same party will ensure that the status quo party wise will be the same no matter what is said.
The only solution (and you have heard this from me before) I believe is to introduce a proportional representation system of elections. That way the will of the people can be more accurately displayed across the country and reflected in parliament.
We desperately need a change in parliament but it is hard to see it happening any time soon.
As always my views are my own. Thanks for reading.