How is it democratic that more constituents vote against a sitting MP than for them? As people increasingly vote for parties other than Labour or Conservative, MPs are increasingly elected on less than 50 per cent of the vote in their constituencies. In the 1950s, 86 per cent of MPs received over 50 per cent of the local vote; in 2010, just 33 per cent did.
How is it democratic to live in a constituency, as many people do, that has been Labour or Conservative since the 2nd World War? Are we surprised that so many MPs do so little and fiddled their expenses when they believe they have a “safe seat” for life. In 2010, in 111 seats that changed hands, just over 460,000 voters – or 1.6 per cent of the electorate – gave the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats majorities in the seats they gained from Labour.
How is it democratic that the party with fewer votes can win more Parliamentary seats? First Past the Post has generated the wrong winner twice before (in 1951 the Conservatives won more seats than Labour on a lower share of the vote, and in February 1974 the situation was reversed, when Labour formed a government on a lower share of the vote).
Since 1945, only three new democracies have introduced First Past the Post based on the British model – Albania, Macedonia and Ukraine – and even these countries subsequently decided to switch to a different system when they had a chance to change. The shocking truth is just how undemocratic our current voting system (first past the post) is. This May we have the chance to vote for a change.
The Alternative Vote allows you to rank your vote preferences, it is as easy as 1 2 3. The winner must obtain 50% of the constituency vote. If there is no clear winner the lowest polling candidate is eliminated and their ballot papers are recounted based on the second preference votes.
Vote YES in the May Referendum, make our MPs work harder and help take back politics.