I’m grateful to Peter Lindsay from UKIP Reigate for the following analysis of the First Past The Post system;
An electoral system which unequivocally produces skewed results, but which is nevertheless maintained by the party or parties in power which benefit from that skewing, is clearly CORRUPT.
Although the First-Past the Post system was never intended to be corrupt, it has become a corrupt system since at least 2005, arguably since 1974.
The British people had an opportunity in a referendum in 2011 to change to a much fairer system – Alternative Vote – but in their wisdom decisively rejected AV.
Another example of “Stockholm Syndrome”?
I’m sure a lot of those who rejected AV in the referendum would have voted UKIP in 2015 and got absolutely zilch for their vote. Did they want this?
To explain – by reducing to the absurd, imagine there are just two rival parties of virtually equal popularity, with a distribution of support exactly even over the whole country.
- Overall, the result is say 10,000,650 votes for Party A and 10,000,000 votes for Party B
- A narrow , but fair win for Party A
- The votes are divided into 650 separate contests, all of which result in Party A having a majority of just 1 vote over party B
- Result: all 650 seats go to party A.
- Actually this is not unfair, in terms of power, as it doesn’t make any difference whether Party A has all 650 seats or 326 seats. Party A will do what it wants if it gets more than 50% of the vote whether it has a majority of 1 seat or 650 seats.
So first past the post produces fair results where there are just two dominant rival parties and this was the case during the whole of the 18th and 19th centuries up to 1921 and also between 1945 and 1974.
However, it starts to produce unfair results as soon as there are a number of substantial additional parties. Winning with more than 40% or so is just about acceptable but where it becomes grossly unfair is where the winning party achieves unfettered power despite getting less than 40% of the total vote.
Under first-past-the-post the UK has now had skewed general election results since 1974, when the Liberals re-emerged as a major party. Since then the winning party has obtained unfettered power on the following shares of the vote:
Skewed results (unsatisfactory but acceptable)
Seriously skewed results (unacceptable)
2010 36.1(Con led coalition)
With UKIP absurdly getting just 1 seat for 3.9 million votes in 2015, compared with the 40 or so which that vote would have earned under an AV system, and the anti-English SNP getting all but 3 of the 59 Scottish seats on just 50% of the Scottish vote, the outrageous unfairness of the system has now reached epic proportions and something really must be done to change it.
Treasurer Reigate branch