28 July 2005
2005 General Election Facts.
68% of the electorate didn't vote for their MP.
78% of the electorate didn't vote Labour.
81% of the electorate didn't vote Conservative.
87% of the electorate didn't vote Lib Dem.
The least supported MP;
82% of George Galloway's constituents didn't vote for him.
Even the most supported MP;
54% of Gerry Adam's constituents didn't vote for him.
Most voters who switched from Labour to Lib Dem would be horrified to know that this led to a Tory MP being elected to represent them. This happened despite the Tory vote not rising. In fact in a lot of the 33 seats gained by the Tories, their vote actually fell!
This is 'first past the post'(FPTP). A system designed for two party politics dysfunctioning under multi-party voting.
The parties have become less democratic and less responsive to the electorate because FPTP encourages them to ignore millions of voters in safe seats and concentrate on a few thousand 'chosen ones' in marginal constituencies.
Without changing a single vote, the result could be completely altered just by moving the boundaries. The Tories know this, that is why they are proposing reducing the number of constituencies to 500.
If they are elected and make this change then Labour could face decades in opposition. The Tories know FPTP is their only chance of being elected into government because they only need around 20% of the electorate's support.
The majority of voters in this country support parties with progressive views. Nearly 60% consistently voted against Thatcherism but were ignored for 18 long years! We must never forget that this will happen again if we don't change this awful system. We must not be afraid of the voters, they want progressive policies, but the progressive vote is split, PR enables that vote to count!
PR countries have more equality because the electorate's views are more accurately represented in parliament. The UK is the most unequal country in the EU.
There are now over a 100 Labour MPs who support PR. All the Tory MPs support FPTP!
It's a complicated debate, but the facts are there to support PR. What we should all agree about is that our present system is not working at all well.
Obviously no system is perfect and changing the electoral system is only part of the answer to solving our democratic dysfunctions but FPTP is one of the worst electoral systems we could have.
We had the Royal commission, they recommended a PR system. Our manifestos promised a referendum on this outcome, for once lets' be true to our word.
For these facts and more visit the ERS General Election Report or contribute to the debate at make votes count.