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.