Jump to content

Flaw in uk democracy


Dak
 Share

Recommended Posts

the 'blair resigns' thread reminded me of this.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/constituencies/default.stm

 

share of vote at last general election:

 

Labour: 35.3%

Conservative: 32.3%

Liberal Democrat: 22.1%

Others: 10.3%

 

so, about a third of the people who voted voted for labour. percentage-wize, there should have been a hung parliment, or a coalition: either labour-libdem, labour-conservative, or conservative-libdem. for a hung-parliment, a libdem-other coalition would have resulted in a pretty even three-way split in power between labour, cons, and libdem-other.

 

however, the actual results by seats (i.e., in the way that matters) were:

 

LAB 356

CON 198

LD 62

 

giving labour an overall majority.

 

couple observations:

 

libdem got ~ 2/3 as many votes as labour, whilst they only have ~1/6th the seats.

 

conservative got pretty much the same share of votes as labour, whereas they only have a bit over 1/2 the seats.

 

labour only got ~1/3 the votes, yet have a majority; in other words, they now have overall power in the country, whilst only having the support of a minority of the population.

 

is this not, essentially, winning the election via simpsons paradox, due to the way that the seat-system works? and, does allowing a party to win with only the support of a minority not remove democratic accountability, and thus foil the whole point of democracy?

 

if so, why is no-one complaining?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seats are won by winning a riding, not by popular vote.

Though 35 % of the total population may have voted for Labour, it was distributed in such a way that they won a majority of seats.

 

This type of government election occurs in many many places around the world, and it is expected that the popular vote does not resemble the seats won. Thus ofcourse noone will complain...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

is this not, essentially, winning the election via simpsons paradox, due to the way that the seat-system works? and, does allowing a party to win with only the support of a minority not remove democratic accountability, and thus foil the whole point of democracy?

 

if so, why is no-one complaining?

 

There is no country on Earth (that I am aware of) which is a true democracy. In most countries you elect someone to represent you in government. If the person elected to represent you does not reflect the wishes of the people who elect him (as a whole) then you have grounds for complaint. But you cannot expect to impose your minority view on the majority of your constituency.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The head of the boundaries commission being a Labor MP helped last general election's win, I believe. If the boundaries were set out well, then there wouldn't be such a huge difference between votes and seats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that, plus the fact that labour aren't going to switch to direct proportional representation, makes me pretty sus that labour are intentionally exploiting this.

 

There is no country on Earth (that I am aware of) which is a true democracy. In most countries you elect someone to represent you in government. If the person elected to represent you does not reflect the wishes of the people who elect him (as a whole) then you have grounds for complaint. But you cannot expect to impose your minority view on the majority of your constituency.

 

yes, but the point in a representative democracy is that a representative should only have overall control of the govournment if he has overall support from the country. if he only has partial support, then he should only have partial power.

 

Labour represent a large minority (i.e., only 35% of the country), yet they have overall control. this, imo, is wrong. why, for example, should the 35% that voted labour get their representative to have overall control, whilst the the 32% that voted conservative have to take a back-seat role (especially as 65% in total voted someone other than labour).

 

also, labour need only please those same 35% to get re-elected... hardly democratic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's all about how the votes are distributed. Each constituency has chosen a party/mp to represent it; the people in that constiuency want to represented by that party/constuency. This, in turn, is how we choose the overall representative of our country.

Now, as far as i can see, if we went purely on P.R (the total votes) then our representative party would be chosen more by the extreme voting areas of our country. Those areas which contain more voters.

This could cause a problem with the rising popularity of BNP up north. If the votes not the constiuencies down south were looked at, i bet, due to the voting inertia in the south, that BNP would become much more controlling of our country.

I can think of many reasons pro-P.R but i'd be interested to see what things other people come up with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We have a similar situation in Oz. It's not that the system is being rorted, just that it is flawed.

 

Put simply, in a perfectly fair election, a party needs to get a majority of seats. To win each seat, they need a majority of the votes.

 

Imagine if we had a population of 10,000 people in 100 electorates of 100 people each. To win government a party only needs to win 51 seats, giving them the majority. but each of those 51 seats can be won with 51 votes. So on the popular vote a party would only need 51% of the vote in 51 seats or 26.01% of the actual total vote.

 

Down here we use the "Preferential" system, whereas the UK uses "First past the post". Your system makes matters worse. If we take the same theoretical electorate but using "First past the post" and 5 candidates per seat the figures reduce to 21 votes in 51 electorates to win government. A ludicrous 10.71% of the total popular vote.

 

Play with weightings and electoral boundaries all you want, but the simple fact is that in the UK system you can win an honest election with a very low percentage of the total vote. That's just how the system works. *shrugs*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.