We heard so much during the referendum debate about the politics of AV, which would inevitably lead to PR and what PR actually delivers against the stalwart FPTP voting system.
We heard so much during the referendum debate about the politics of AV and PR, believe me the only reason the Lib Dem’s supported AV is because they saw it as a route to PR, and what PR actually delivers against the stalwart FPTP voting system, follow me now as we take a look at both systems and then you can make your own mind up for any future debate.
FIRST PAST THE POST
The ‘First Past the Post’ (FPTP) is one of our most successful exports currently being used by half the world, it is decisive, simple, most of the time delivers a winner with a working majority and generally delivers the will and voice of the people, in the last election for example the public wanted the Labour Party out but were not sure about Cameron so FPTP delivered a hung parliament and the current coalition.
The argument against FPTP is that the threshold for winning seats is deemed high, about 15% of the vote nationally and about 3.5 times the votes per seat gained, this can mean it looks unfair to smaller parties, to look at the main parties:
Votes = 10,706,647 Vote % = 36.1%, Seats = 306, Votes per Seat = 34,989
Votes = 8,604,358 Vote % = 29%, Seats = 258, Votes per Seat = 33,350
- Lib Dem
Votes = 6,827,938 Vote % = 23%, Seats = 57, Votes per Seat = 119,788
So when you look at FPTP that way it appears very unfair to the Lib Dem party, because their votes are spread more thinly they need 3.5 times the number of votes to achieve each seat and that is the way FPTP is made to look unfair and undemocratic but is it?
Our democracy is based on ‘one man one vote’ and the individual being accountable back to a particular constituency, which means he has no where to hide and one thing true PR does is break that constituency link, if a party like the Lib Dem’s fight every seat but lose in most of them then they will have a higher votes per seat because they have a higher failure rate!
One way in which the government is making FPTP fairer is to equalise the constuencies, this was neglected under labour but is essential to making FPTP a fairer system and equalising the constituencies will reduce the number of MP’s but maybe not as far as they should be reduced.
For the Lib Dem’s to succeed under FPTP they need to increase their hit rate in winning constituencies by putting together properly costed policies which will make sense to the electorate but to date they haven’t done that. take a look, in this current parliament:
- Vince Cable viciously attacked David Cameron’s speech on immigration, this was a well argued and sensible speech which in a poll had 93% public support.
- Replacing the Human Rights Act with a UK Charter of Rights, this is being stopped by the Lib Dem’s but has probably 75% public support.
- Taking a tougher line on the EU cannot happen whilst the Lib Dem’s are in coalition because the Lib Dem’s are wedded to the EU but has 85% public support.
- The Lib Dem’s will fight to let the prisoners have the vote but there is easily 85% public support against giving prisoners the vote.
- The Lib Dem’s are for higher taxation, apart from up to