First past the post system

#1
As I am relativly ignorant of politics, and I am a first time voter, I have been following the election with interest.Consequently I have been keeping an eye on the polls , and something has been consistently bugging me.

Could someone please explain, how our voting system means that even if Lab get 28% of the vote,and are in third place, they are still the largest party by 20+ seats.

How does this represent the will of the voting public?It seems to me that there would have to be a terrific landslide, to have any chance of removing the incumbent party.
 
#2
It makes a joke of our "democracy" if when we hold an election, a greater number of people vote for someone other than Labour, and they still hold power. I think if this is the result there will be civil unrest on a grand scale until Labour are thrown out of office.

It appears that the boundaries commission may not have been doing a good job of ensuring balance amongst constituencies, I wonder why?
 
#3
Who cares, as long as it keeps the Tories out; they're the only ones who think it's a good idea too.

You elect one MP. If you happen to vote for one of the losing candidates in your constituency your vote isn't represented in parliament. Tories are also more popular among the self serving money grabbers cramming themselves in to the constituencies of the SE.

It hardly represents the will of the electorate if their only means of expressing it is a pencil X about every 5 years
 
#4
Self serving money grabbers carmming themselves into the SouthEast and voting Tory.... surely all those immigrants will be voting Labour? Its why they let them in, in the first place.
 
#5
WO2.Ghandi said:
It hardly represents the will of the electorate if their only means of expressing it is a pencil X about every 5 years
My bold

Well, thats how we do it here, unlike other countries who prefer armed coup's, civil war or assassination.
 

Guns

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#6
Six Reasons Against a Hung Parliament

1. Policy will end up being a negotiated stitch-up by the political class in back rooms and corridors. Power will be the key at the expense of principle.

2. There will inevitably be another election within 12 months. That means more debates, more spin, more media saturation. If you're already annoyed with the amount of politics in the papers and on TV a Hung Parliament will get you even more.

3. As everything will have to be negotiated there will be time delays leading to uncertainty. The markets will not like it and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying or on crack.

4. As there will be another election the politicians will try to do things for tactical electoral advantage. Party politics in search of power will be put before doing what is right.

5. It's likely that full-scale change to the voting system will be on the agenda if the Lib Dems perform well in the popular vote. Get a Hung Parliament now and you may have them forever to come meaning complete loonies - that is more loony than the current crop - will start to get representatives in the Commons.

6. If you think politicians bicker already, just imagine it amplified by an order of magnitude.

* Hat tip to Dizzy Thinks Blog
 
#7
Labour's pretty keen on fptp too - it's the system that gave them such a large majority wuth only a minor share if the vote this last time. Personally, I like having a constituency MP - but then again I usto live in one of the last places to return a genuine local independent MP.

And loss of first-past-the-post would certainly encourage the BNP who would probably score a few seats.

Current constituency boundaries should probably be changed, to minimise the number of rottenish boroughs.

But then again, this always seems to become topical when Labour loses or thinks it will lose - but then has never actioned when it could. Sniff of desperation and shabby expediency?
 
#8
Hung parliament... sounds like a good idea to me...









Taxi!
 
#9
Personally, I'd be in favour of a coalition government this time, certainly in preference to a situation where the government has a majority in single figures (as happened with John Major), and in an effort to keep the lunatic fringe of the party on-side, the tail wags the dog bigtime.

Don't forget, in a coalition government, both parties have to agree, which keeps the lunatic doctrinal ideas (be it from the save the gay whale or the privatise everything, God will know his own types) to a minimum as these will not be acceptable to the other party in government. Also, the smaller party will not want to rock the boat too much, as they will not want to have the expense of an election (where they might not get the same influence).

It seems to work in Scotland, it works in most other European countries (leave Italy out of it, the problems there have more to do with institutional corruption than anything else), and might be a good idea here.

However, keeping on thread, proportional representation is the way to go, as it does give a better mix of what voters want. Otherwise, why not have a dictatorship and be done with it, if a single centre of government is all that is your desire.
 
#10
It's not about whether first past the post is unfair. If the constituency boundries were properly managed without political bias or interference then there would not be this situation.

PR is always held as being a good thing, but it could mean in theory that a Glaswegian constituency could end up with a Tory MP and a South of England one end up with a Labour MP. If I were in one of those constituencies I would feel cheated by PR.
 
#12
flamingo said:
Hung parliament... sounds like a good idea to me...

Taxi!
And me.

The first past the post system is a complete con which only enables the Tories and Labour to remain in power. This is why they want to keep it.

With Proportional Representation (PR) every vote is made to count, so in all those seats where the Liberal Democrats come second, and there are an awful lot, they would end up getting better representation in Parliament and rightly so.

It's got to a point now under the current system where over a third of the population don't bother to vote, because unless you live in one of the swing constituencies it's a waste of time as you know who is going to win before it even happens.

That leaves an awful lot of people pissing into wind and their vote means nothing.

Of course the downside of PR is that extremist groups like the BNP will gain a few seats, but let's face it their influence will hardly scratch the surface in Parliament as none of the other parties will want to be seen courting them for support.

Black Buck One - Out
 
#13
It doesn't quite work like that, Oyibo

From experience at how it happens in Ireland, each constituency has a number of MP's (3 to 5), and the seats are allocated by the total number of votes. The parties usually field more than one candidate, and the seats are allocated by number of votes - if over a certain number of votes - a "quota", then you gain the seat. When voting you vote in terms of preference, and the left over votes from one candidate are transferred to another.

You need to forget the traditional 1 constituency, one candidate, one MP model that FPTP has.

For a better explanation than I can manage, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote

Edited to add - yes, in can result in smaller parties getting seats as well, however, that is democracy as well - if there are enough people prepared to support the Monster Raving Loony party then they get a seat! Unfortunately, that's why the Sinners keep getting the odd TD in Ireland.
 
#14
BlackBuckOne:

"Of course the downside of PR is that extremist groups like the BNP will gain a few seats, but let's face it their influence will hardly scratch the surface in Parliament as none of the other parties will want to be seen courting them for support"

Under PR Governments will soon come knocking on the doors of the odious parties like the BNP when you have a government with an agenda such as the one we have at the moment. How many times did Labour use the Parliament Act? Its not necessarily the legislation they want to pass that may be the issue, its what they trade and barter for their support that counts.
 
#15
FPTP has been adopted around the world for its unique form of 'tactical politics'. A party is required to focus its efforts in specific areas to gain the required votes to get the seats. Thats why Labour tends to get MPs in urban areas and Conservatives in rural areas. Although its not the most proportional of systems it does help to prevent extremist parties getting seats unlike in some foreign countries....
 
#16
bobthedog said:
BlackBuckOne:

Under PR Governments will soon come knocking on the doors of the odious parties like the BNP when you have a government with an agenda such as the one we have at the moment. How many times did Labour use the Parliament Act? Its not necessarily the legislation they want to pass that may be the issue, its what they trade and barter for their support that counts.
The main use of the Parliament Act was because the House of Lords rejected the legislation, The Hunting Act being a prime example as it was rightly seen by the Lords as being undemocratic and more to do with class than animal welfare.

Personally I don't think any of the major parties would court the BNP openly, and many are so against such an extremist group like them that it would soon get out if they did and they would be hammered for it.

The problem we have which also needs addressing is party politics and the whip system, where a government in power will do almost anything to maintain it. This leads to unfair legislation and also sees MP's from Wales and Scotland voting on matters which only affect the English.

How many times did Labour rely on them to pass legislation, quite a few, and I've no doubt the Tories if in power would do the same, except they don't have any Scottish MP's, well done Scotland :clap:

Black Buck One - Out
 
#17
"MP's from Wales and Scotland voting on matters which only affect the English"

This wasnt a problem before Devolution, maybe they should reduce the number of MP's that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland send to Westminster proportionate to the powers the devolved parliaments have.....

Hunting wasnt the only reason the government has turned to the parliament act in the past 13 years:

The Act has been used three times since 1997. These were:


European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, which changed the system of elections to the European Parliament from first past the post to a form of proportional representation.

Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, which equalised the age of consent for male homosexual sexual activities with that for heterosexual and female homosexual sexual activities at 16.

Hunting Act 2004, which prohibited hare coursing and (subject to some exceptions) all hunting of wild mammals (particularly foxes) with dogs after early 2005.

Used for such great and important legislation that affected the security of the nation 3 times.......

Perhaps the European Parliament act should be used as a reason NOT to use PR, seeing the undesirables who now occupy the European Parliament on our behalf. BNP and the UKIP have taken their seats at the trough, indeed UKIP have a couple of "members" serving time now at Her Majesty's Pleasure for fraudulent expense claims.
 
#18
The last time we had a prime-minister whose party actually had more than 50 per
cent of the popular vote was Stanley Baldwin in 1935.

I think one of the worst aspects of the current sysytem is that it has a habit of producing
landslide victories which sets the new government, of whatever colour, up to do whatever it
wants without restraint. Then when they have gone far too far and consequently stuffed the job up,
the whole thing lurches jist as far in the opposite direction.

A PR system that produced consistent middle-for-diddle politics but without handing the Kingmaker
role to the Nutjob party would be perfect.

But other than that - Hung Parliament? How about a Hanged Parliament, now your talking!
 
#19
First past the post was chosen in the dim and distant past (16th Century) because a borough selected somone to represent the borough in Parliament. The elected Member was expected to ensure that local interests were fully protected and advanced and the borough didn't find itself saddled with a whacking tax bill to pay. The MP would ensure that legislation of critical interest was passed, such as enclosure acts, navigation acts, trade protection and anything that would enchance the borough. This did include acts to build bridges over naviagatable rivers and establish schools.

To have a chance of standing the candidate had to be known to the electorate, and local rules would frequently make it impossible unless the candidate lived there and paid taxes there!
 
#20
bobthedog said:
"MP's from Wales and Scotland voting on matters which only affect the English"

This wasnt a problem before Devolution, maybe they should reduce the number of MP's that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland send to Westminster proportionate to the powers the devolved parliaments have.....

Hunting wasnt the only reason the government has turned to the parliament act in the past 13 years:

The Act has been used three times since 1997. These were:
I think we are both primarily singing from the same hymn sheet and I agree with your idea of reducing the number of Scottish Welsh and Irish MP's in Parliament, seeing as they now have their own devolved parliaments.

I am also aware of the other uses of the Parliament Act, I just quoted the Hunting Act as an example as it is the most well known.

I think what pissed a lot of people off about the Hunting Act, was that not only did Labour invoke the Parliament Act to pass this badly thought out and illiberal legislation, but some of the most vociferous supporters of it were people like Tony Banks, an inner city MP who had lived in London for most of his life and had not the first idea of what the countryside was all about.

It wasn't as if packs of hounds and riders were galloping down Newham High Street in London several times a week chasing foxes. Besides, they very rarely get the fox anyway and it's the same with hare coursing, but if they do it's lights out in a fraction of a second anyway.

Black Buck One - Out
 

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