There really is nothing new under the sun. It’s 2018 and we are still stuck with an ossified voting system. Labour and Conservative perpetuate,to their mutual advantage,the FPTP system and so keep the Punch & Judy tropes of British political discourse on an interminable respirator instead of switching it off.
So here’s my original blog post And So It Goes…#768 from May 6 2016. A timeless classic…
Democracy.Voting.The democratic process.Ballots.Universal Suffrage. These are terribly important,not only concepts, but practices for the acolytes of that most noble of specious secular quasi-theologies, Democracy.
It has always struck me as an indelible flaw in their national character for the British to have persisted for as long as they have,with the eccentricities of ” The first past the post ” system. Back in the days of the Reform Acts, of 1832 and 1867, there was plausibly nothing amiss with such a constricted,parochial settled kind of way of ascertaining the will of the people.
Time-honoured methods have without vigourous renewal become moribund and taken on the characteristics of arcane rituals. Geographic distances within the historically determined British national polity are no longer a precusor for division and rancour to any significant degree.Distinctions and differences matter far less than once they did.
And yet the legitimate expression of this innate plurality is stymied and devalued at every major opportunity. A Vote,the universal currency unit of political expression,is not equal to any other given Vote at any one time. Parliament ought long ago have instituted a fair and credible system of proportional representation.
Each contending Party’s ideological and practical political aspiration and raison d’etre-to win a majority for its policies and goals would not be compromised. After all winning a majority of the Sovereign electorate’s Votes cast is per se more democratic in truth than winning a numerical majority of arbitrarily defined seats.
All Votes must be of equal numeric value irrespective of where they are cast.
The alternative, as has been the sad dystopian reality for decades is the ” marginals “. Usually calculated to be around 70 seats out of the 630 where historic voting patterns and voter behaviour subject to minimal shifts in opinion poll discerned party policy differences turn these seats into genuine contests which determine the overall outcome of all 630 seats. That is not democracy.
Legitimacy is after all a learned behaviour. Given enough cynicism coupled with disappointment,disillusionment and a powerful,cogent counter-narrative, methods other than the democratic ballot and universal suffrage begin to be contemplated.
Footnote :- I emailed this to the Wakefield express and Yorkshire Evening Post the day after the local election results were announced on May 6.
Sir – i recall being in the Public gallery not so long ago when Wakefield’s Labour Councillors unanimously voted through £27,000,000 in Budget cuts. I also recall Council leader Box inveighing against the Conservative government and its Austerity measures. The central point of his lengthy,self-indulgent diatribe was to call into question the legitimacy of the Tories mandate to impose Austerity measures having won an overall majority with only 24% of the votes cast in the General election. Let’s put aside for the moment the Historic alliance Labour has with the Tories on the issue of first past the post system.Those two have been brothers-in-arms in colluding to maintain this palpably iniquitous and dysfunctional model of electoral representation. What,I wonder has Cllr.Box to say about last Friday’s results in Wakefield ? The turnout was 30%, of the 245,000 registered electors only 74,000 cast their ballot.Of the votes cast Labour got just over half,which means that Labour’s mandate to govern and implement without dissent let alone any form of active resistance the government’s Austerity measures is 15% of the electorate. Go figure.
Louis Kasatkin ( TUSC Candidate,Wakefield West 2016 )