Electoral Dysfunction

We’ve had a week or so to digest the UK general election results. The case for electoral reform has never been stronger. The LibDems increased their vote from 7.4% to 11.6%, an impressive 4.2% increase, yet got one less seat than previously. The Green Party increased their vote by 60%, to 864,743 votes, but still only the one seat. About four dozen parties got at least 500 votes each, several getting many tens of thousands of votes, but still no seats. The SNP increased their vote share by less than the Greens, yet their cohort of MPs shot up from 39 to 48, meaning that for each 25,882 votes they got an MP, as the above graphic from the Electoral Reform Society shows.

Labour lost 61 seats and gained one. Their vote share slumped from 40.0% to 32.2%, a fall of 7.9%. They continued to lose ground to the SNP in Scotland and now have lost much of the traditional Northern working vote to the Tories. Ironically, had we had Proportional Representation, Corbyn would now probably be leading a broad left of centre coalition of Labour, LibDems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens, which would have included 18 Green MPs.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives got only 43.6% of the vote, but that yielded them 365 MPs, a comfortable working majority. The Queen’s speech reveals more of the tone and direction of this Johnson led Tory Party, heavily influenced by Dominic Cummings. Out go any respect for science, fiscal responsibility or factual reality, in comes simplistic populism, preening narcissism and unfettered corporate greed.

The outcome of this general election is of course disappointing, but to me at least, it was not surprising, given our antiquated voting system, the toxic influence of huge flows of dark money, the use of psychological warfare techniques and the agenda of the billionaire owned newspapers. The media pitched the election as a contest between Corbyn and Johnson and many people voted for the one they hated least. Sadly few people felt they could truly vote for what they believed in. To reflect the breadth of opinion we need more parties in Parliament contributing ideas in a more cooperative and collegiate manner, as is the case in most of Europe, where, of course, Proportional Representation is the norm.

4 thoughts on “Electoral Dysfunction

  1. David Lovelace

    “had we had Proportional Representation, Corbyn would now probably be leading..” a better case against PR would be hard to find at present!

    1. Richard Post author

      I’m certainly no fan of Corbyn, but preferable, I think to Johnson. Tragically our system of First Past the Post encourages people who are dogmatic and not inclined to compromise. A more collegiate atmosphere prevails in many EU countries with PR, and I think would be greatly to the UK’s benefit.

  2. David Lovelace

    JC’s admiration of the Governments of Iran and Venezuela and his support for islamist terror groups trying to destroy Israel, places him further to the right than any other UK politician I can think of. A only charitable explanation is that he is extremely stupid (which he clearly appears to be); either way, there was and is no possibility of compromising with such a politician or the advisers he surrounds himself with. The electorate rightly shunned him and his cult-like advisers and followers. There was also the Clinton effect (that ‘basket of deplorables’): many were sick of being repeatedly accused of being ignorant racists if they happen to disagree with the identity politics of the Regressive Left (the term created by Maajid Nawaz, thanks Maajid!).

    1. Richard Post author

      The point of this blog was not to compare Johnson and Corbyn as possible Prime Ministers, but rather to stress the unfairness of the current voting system. One aspect of a proportional voting system would be to encourage a different kind of leader: one capable of listening, coming to compromises and working in a cross party collegiate manner. The current govt of Finland looks to be one of the best. Still not perfect, but way better than any imaginable govt UK will ever have until we change the voting system.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.