The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

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The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Sun May 31, 2015 1:09 am

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A new study shows that the most disproportionate result in UK history cheated millions of voters out of representation

Before we start to forget what happened at the election, we ought to reflect on the most gobsmacking aspect of the result. I do not mean that the Tories won. I mean how they won. Some have attributed their shock majority to the dark arts of Lynton Crosby. Others to the lack of appeal of Ed Miliband. Some opine that the Tory win demonstrates that the English are an essentially conservative people. Others think Labour’s failure is a symptom of a worldwide crisis in social democracy. On they go, the theories. I have barely touched on the many interesting explanations for what happened. And they are all wrong. For sure, they may be among the factors that contributed to what happened on 7 May, but they are all insignificant compared with the main explanation for why David Cameron is at Number 10 enthroned atop a Conservative parliamentary majority.

There is a big, basic and brute reason why we have just heard a Tory Queen’s speech, will soon be listening to a Tory budget and have five years or so of Tory law-making ahead of us. It is so bloody obvious that no one is talking about it – it is the electoral system.

By no normal definition of the word popular were the Conservatives popular at the election. They received 36.9% of the vote. By no normal definition of the word mandate did they get the endorsement of the electorate to fully implement their manifesto. Nearly two-thirds of voters did not put their cross in the Tory box. Factor in the turn-out and the Conservatives secured the backing of less than a quarter of the registered electorate. It is first past the post that alchemises a minority vote share into more than half of the seats in the House of Commons, every seat in the cabinet and the power to pursue an entirely Tory agenda for the next five years.

The other party greatly favoured by winner takes all were the Scottish Nationalists. Their hugely swollen contingent of MPs have announced their arrival at Westminster in noisy fashion. When not winding up Tory traditionalists by clapping in the chamber, they are battling with Labour for buttock space on the opposition benches. More seriously, the size of Nicola Sturgeon’s clan, now the third largest group in the Commons, will entitle them to lots of significant perks in the party pecking order. They will secure more debate days. They will have many more places on select committees, including some chairmanships. Their leader in the Commons, Angus Robertson, will get two guaranteed pops at David Cameron every prime minister’s questions. They will maximise the advantages of that position to claim that they alone speak for Scotland at Westminster. As you would, if you were them. It is first past the post that has awarded them all these privileges. Half of Scotland’s voters wanted to be represented by the SNP. They have now got 56 of its 59 MPs to give megaphonic expression to their views; 50% of Scots did not want to send a Nationalist MP to Westminster. That half of the nation is represented by just three MPs, one each for Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems, which may go down to just two if Alistair Carmichael is unseated by a recall byelection.

Compare and contrast the jubilantly numerous Nationalists now swarming around the Palace of Westminster with the miserable fate of the shrivelled band of Lib Dems. They received about a million more votes than the SNP, but while the Nationalists celebrate, the Lib Dems are wearing mourning weed. All their big names defenestrated bar Nick Clegg and just seven other MPs huddling together for warmth. This has prompted some to recommend that they might as well wind up as a party and find something more rewarding to do with their lives. That suggestion is unfair not just to the important liberal tradition in British politics, but also to the 2,415,862 people who voted for the Lib Dems on 7 May. They must have thought there was a continuing purpose for the party. If seats were allocated in proportion to votes, they would have a respectable 51 MPs to represent them and no one would be telling the Lib Dems to shut up shop.

For the electoral system has more than one distorting effect. Having turned votes into seats in a wildly disproportionate way, it then reinforces that by skewing the shape of political argument in the years afterwards. During the coalition period, producers of TV and radio discussion programmes would want to have a Lib Dem on the panel just about every week. In the years to come, I suspect sightings of Lib Dems on programmes such as Question Time will be much rarer and there will be a lot more MPs from the SNP sitting around David Dimbleby’s table. The Lib Dems beat the SNP in votes, but because of the relative weight of their MPs, there will be much more amplification of nationalist views in the media than there will be of liberal views.

The Greens were another victim. They quadrupled their support to a million plus, but still have just the one MP – Caroline Lucas – to speak for them in parliament. Compare that with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists, who may become important players when David Cameron’s majority is eroded by byelection losses. The DUP, like the SNP, are a beneficiary of the way in which first past the post rewards parties whose support is geographically concentrated. The Democratic Unionists received fewer than 190,000 votes, yet that yielded them eight MPs.

The people worst treated by the electoral system were those who voted for Ukip. There were approaching 4 million of them, making them third in share. For all those votes, they were rewarded with just the one MP, Douglas Carswell. He’s an interesting chap with some distinctive positions that are not, I suspect, wholly representative of the views of all Ukip voters. To them, this must seem not just grossly unfair, but utterly undemocratic. This has to be bad for the reputation of Westminster among those already most alienated from it. If you were a Ukip voter, you probably went into a polling station already thinking that politics is a rotten establishment racket. Now you must be absolutely sure it is.

The flaws of first past the post, especially when used in a multi-party political climate for which it was never designed, are well known. What’s special about this election is just how stark they have become. The Electoral Reform Society will tomorrow publish a study that marshals the evidence to argue that this was the most disproportionate result in British election history. It also makes a compelling case that the electoral system is now working to cleave an already fractious kingdom by artificially exaggerating our regional and national divides. Look at one of those maps with constituencies coloured to show the party of the MP. The sea of blue in the home counties leads you to think that there are virtually no Labour voters there when, in fact, there are quite a lot. The sea of red in the big cities of the north suggests that there are no Tory voters there when, in fact, there are quite a lot. Looking at the map you’d think there was barely anyone who wasn’t a Nationalist voter north of the Tweed when, in fact, half of Scotland voted for a unionist party. These many millions of voters have been cheated out of representation.

To an outside eye, this looks both absurd and outrageous. I was recently in conversation with some European diplomats. All of their countries used some form of more proportional voting. They expressed amazement that we still turn votes into power in a way that is so self-evidently unfair and some surprise that there was not a great popular outcry about it.

One reason that electoral reform has not gained enough traction in this country to force change is that the two biggest parties have never seen it to be in their interests to embrace the cause. This might begin to alter in the case of the Labour party. They now have to contemplate another five years in opposition, half a decade in which to reflect on their failure to do anything about first past the post when they were in government or to help the Lib Dems pursue reform in the last parliament. Labour is going to pay for it – literally so. The Tories intend to use the majority gifted to them by the electoral system to further entrench their advantage when it comes to money by making it harder for the trade unions to raise funds for Labour.

Some people do get cross about it. Shortly after the election, a petition was organised and 478,000 names signed the call for electoral reform. It was delivered to Number 10. Unfortunately for reformers, that is the one address in the UK least likely to be interested in changing the way we elect governments. David Cameron is the last person who is going to be interested in reforming a voting system that has just converted a minority of the vote into all the spoils of power. When he looks at first past the post, far from seeing a broken system, he sees one that has just worked perfectly for him.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/31/electoral-reform-general-election-results-2015-first-past-the-post

Always believed the proportional respresentation, even if it puts in more from parties I don't like. It is simply not right for such a large percentage of the population not to have a voice, and not much wonder that people decry democracy, when democracy isn't democratic.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:57 am

Belatucadros wrote:
risingsun wrote:Didge, would you like to take a deep breath and stop being so confrontational?  I have always, no matter who is in power, supported PR, and did so way back when the Liberal Party existed and I was Liberal (which at heart I still am, unfortunately the Liberal Party, which was very different to the Lib Dems, consists of about 10 people) and that was way back in the 1970s.

If you look at the figures which I already put on of how many seats the parties would have had under PR:

Cons 240

Labour 198

UKIP 82

Lib Dems 51

SNP 31

Greens 24

you will note that the Labour Party would have got less, and UKIP, which I despise, would have got a lot more.

However, going out and doing canvassing and telephone canvassing during the GE has taught me a great deal.  This election has shown up something that has never happened before.  There are many who don't want to vote for the 'main parties' and they feel totally disenfranchised.   And that is dangerous to democracy.  All those people who voted UKIP and got one MP as feeling very angry, and that is not a stable way for a country to be.   Also, I heard time and time again, I'd vote Green, but they won't get in etc.  

The article in the OP was simply a peg to hang a debate about PR on, and could have been an intelligent, rational discussion about something that is going to be more and more important in the future, as I can't see it ever going back to elections with 2/3 parties.


I do not need to take any breath sassy as again for one not once have I ever heard you say Labour should have ever been in power off this system.
It also shows that right wing support when you accumulate all RW parties up is over 50% of the vote. UKIP and Tories alone is 49.5%, add the DUP and you get 50.1% of which I can add more to this. What ever way you look at it, the Tories would have still had a majority Coalition with UKIP and are you saying you would prefer a Tory Ukip coalition over a Tory Government?


As I say sour grapes

Also the vote system you propose is not a fair system locally for who people vote for, its only fair nationally, which denies people locally who they vote for.
There is thus both good and bad in both systems, but at least this has one party not hindered by others to form a coalition. We have seen a coalition in the form of the most idiotic party to grace this nation the Liberals and people resoundly voted against such a coalition happenning, which is telling in itself

No Didge, I'm saying that a large part of the population feel disenfranchised and that is not a good idea for the stablity of a country. We scraped by on first past the post while there were only 2/3 parties to chose from. Now we have so many, who don't look like they are going to lose support, people need to know their views will get a fair crack of the whip. And yes, even UKIP, because if their voices are not heard they will become more extreme.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:00 am

risingsun wrote:
Belatucadros wrote:

I do not need to take any breath sassy as again for one not once have I ever heard you say Labour should have ever been in power off this system.
It also shows that right wing support when you accumulate all RW parties up is over 50% of the vote. UKIP and Tories alone is 49.5%, add the DUP and you get 50.1% of which I can add more to this. What ever way you look at it, the Tories would have still had a majority Coalition with UKIP and are you saying you would prefer a Tory Ukip coalition over a Tory Government?


As I say sour grapes

Also the vote system you propose is not a fair system locally for who people vote for, its only fair nationally, which denies people locally who they vote for.
There is thus both good and bad in both systems, but at least this has one party not hindered by others to form a coalition. We have seen a coalition in the form of the most idiotic party to grace this nation the Liberals and people resoundly voted against such a coalition happenning, which is telling in itself

No Didge, I'm saying that a large part of the population feel disenfranchised and that is not a good idea for the stablity of a country.   We scraped by on first past the post while there were only 2/3 parties to chose from.  Now we have so many, who don't look like they are going to lose support, people need to know their views will get a fair crack of the whip.   And yes, even UKIP, because if their voices are not heard they will become more extreme.


So the majority should pander to the minority then being even less democratic, because some peoiple cannot just accept a democratic vote.
The problem then is with those throwing their dummies out when they had the chance to vote and change this very recently.
The problem is again the PR system only is viable when you look nationally and not locally for people, which I find a cheating system to allow people to get in through the back door. People not only vote for which party but individuals.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:03 am

What majority? The majority did not vote Conservative. They did not vote Labour either, or UKIP etc etc etc. That's the point, the minority win in a first past the post when there are so many parties.


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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 am

risingsun wrote:What majority?   The majority did not vote Conservative.   They did not vote Labour either, or UKIP etc etc etc.   That's the point, the minority win in a first past the post when there are so many parties.  


The majority voted to keep the voiting system. No the majority party win in first past the post and rightly so on how people vote locally for you they wish to represent them in parliment, which in the PR system they could see who thery majority voted for lose out due to the national vote. I find that a least democratic system
Again your view is that some people cannot be adult enough to accept a vote we should bow down to fear.
Sorry that is wrong on every level, people if they wish and want to have another refernedum, should do as can be done by gaining a hundred thousand signatures to bring about another debate for a  referendum.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Eilzel on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:09 am

Oh fgs didge, you say 'in all that time' you never heard sassy support PR during Labour- well all that time was 2 years (2008-2010), and yet at that time we both did. Get over yourself and your stupid demands for impossible answers.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:11 am

The voting system was not up for a vote Didge.   Did you go round canvassing?  Did you hear what people really think and how fed up they are with not being able to vote for the party they really want, but have to vote tactically?   Do you think that tactical voting rather than voting for the policies you want is good?


Last edited by risingsun on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:11 am

Eilzel wrote:Oh fgs didge, you say 'in all that time' you never heard sassy support PR during Labour- well all that time was 2 years (2008-2010), and yet at that time we both did. Get over yourself and your stupid demands for impossible answers.

No I will not get over myself and we have moved on from that point, which it is you wishing top continue weasel.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:13 am

Nice.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:13 am

risingsun wrote:The voting system was not up for a vote.   Did you go round canvassing?  Did you hear what people really think and how fed up they are with not being able to vote for the party they really want, but have to vote tactically?   Do you think that tactical voting rather than voting for the policies you want is good?  

OMG so in one area is your bases for change?
Behave, again if you want to have change then you go throuigh the process, not out of fear as you suggest.
I think people should be able to vote for who they want locally to represent them, is what matters most, not have this taken away from them, because of a national vote. Not every party has representatives in all seats, so again it is an absurd voting system, which takes a national view and not the actual view of people locally.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:16 am

Oh go in dark room and lie down Didge, you really aren't worth wasting time on, and I have far too much to do.   Or you can go to work in a few minutes (I presume) muttering OMG to yourself and fighting with the lamp posts.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Eilzel on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:18 am

What we have is a system where over 50% are usually not really getting their view represented at all in parliament. It is as simple as that.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:19 am

risingsun wrote:Oh go in dark room lie down Didge, you really aren't worth wasting time on, and I have far too much to do.   Or you can go to work in a few minutes (I presume) muttering OMG to yourself and fighting with the lamp posts.

So as per usual instead of debating you then offer up woeful excuses.
You then make the pathetic view on my work, which shows how bitter you can be and is nothing more than a pathetic deflection.
I am at work and have been so for the last half an hour.
So please spare me the babble if you cannot address my points, then do not post at all, as all that reply was, is nothing more than a copout.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:21 am

Eilzel wrote:What we have is a system where over 50% are usually not really getting their view represented at all in parliament. It is as simple as that.

Nonsense, thos locally are getting their view represented, by who they vote for locally.
What you are saying is because support is big in certain places though second, those in other areas should lose out to who they voted for in the majority and that a minority in many seats gains seats not off what the people locally wanted.
That is as poor a system as you can find and takes away the majoirty view of people who vote for their representative
.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by sassy on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:29 am

So they get what they want locally do they?

Let's take Colchester as an example as I was talking about them:

Conservative
, with candidate Will Quince
, have the following results:

   18,919 total votes taken.
   38.9% share of the total vote
   +6.1% change in share of the votes

Liberal Democrat
, with candidate Bob Russell
, have the following results:

   13,344 total votes taken.
   27.5% share of the total vote
   -20.5% change in share of the votes

Labour
, with candidate Jordan Newell
, have the following results:

   7,852 total votes taken.
   16.2% share of the total vote
   +3.8% change in share of the votes

UKIP
, with candidate John Pitts
, have the following results:

   5,870 total votes taken.
   12.1% share of the total vote
   +9.2% change in share of the votes

Green Party
, with candidate Mark Goacher
, have the following results:

   2,499 total votes taken.
   5.1% share of the total vote
   +3.6% change in share of the votes

Christian Peoples Alliance
, with candidate Ken Scrimshaw
, have the following results:

   109 total votes taken.
   0.2% share of the total vote
   +0.2

So 61.1% of those voting DID NOT vote for the candidate who won (this is just an example, the fact that he is Conservative is not the point, happens where Labour get in as well), and this is repeated in many constituances all over the country.

Now, perhaps if you are at work you should give your employer the time you are being paid for (especially on a Monday morning) and I'm back to packing as only have 12 days to go.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:32 am

Sassy one last time, it has fuck all to do with you when I post at work that is you poorly deflecting again. Stop being a complete twat
Here people vote for different parties, the biggest is the tories, hence they voted in the majoirity for one person to represent them.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:39 am

Belatucadros wrote:
risingsun wrote:So I changed who I supported.  Isn't that democracy, or do you think people should only ever stick to one party?  I changed for Liberal to Lib/Dem because the Liberal Party to no longer existed and Bob Russell was a brilliant MP.   But the Lib/Dems has moved a long way from the ideas of the old Liberal Paty, and I no longer live in Colchester which Bob Russell represented.   And I was very vocal about supporting PR during the time it was being discussed.

Frankly Didge, you could have a fight with wet flannel in dark room and you are looking pathetic and unable to have a grown up conversation.

I am not concered who you change your support to.
I am only concerened at how at no point did you ever say Labour should not be in power based off that voting system.
Also the PR vote system you propose is not a fair system locally for who people vote for, its only fair nationally, which denies people locally who they vote for.
There is thus both good and bad in both systems, but at least this has one party not hindered by others to form a coalition. We have seen a coalition in the form of the most idiotic party to grace this nation the Liberals and people resoundly voted against such a coalition happenning, which is telling in itself.

So you say grown up conversation and then insult as well, so gloves off then if you so wish?
Eilzel is a weasel for pandering to the troll.

..So you say grown up conversation and then insult as well, so gloves off then if you so wish?
Eilzel is a weasel for pandering to the troll..

oh dear.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:40 am

Shady wrote:
Belatucadros wrote:

I am not concered who you change your support to.
I am only concerened at how at no point did you ever say Labour should not be in power based off that voting system.
Also the PR vote system you propose is not a fair system locally for who people vote for, its only fair nationally, which denies people locally who they vote for.
There is thus both good and bad in both systems, but at least this has one party not hindered by others to form a coalition. We have seen a coalition in the form of the most idiotic party to grace this nation the Liberals and people resoundly voted against such a coalition happenning, which is telling in itself.

So you say grown up conversation and then insult as well, so gloves off then if you so wish?
Eilzel is a weasel for pandering to the troll.

..So you say grown up conversation and then insult as well, so gloves off then if you so wish?
Eilzel is a weasel for pandering to the troll..

oh dear.


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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:44 am

Belatucadros wrote:
Shady wrote:

..So you say grown up conversation and then insult as well, so gloves off then if you so wish?
Eilzel is a weasel for pandering to the troll..

oh dear.


Make sure you get in the last post Didgey pirat ...You fit the criteria.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:45 am

Shady wrote:
Belatucadros wrote:


Make sure you get in the last post Didgey pirat ...You fit the criteria.

Razz Razz Razz

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Raggamuffin on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:47 am

Without looking at the statistics for other elections, it does feel like this election has really exposed the disparity between the number of seats a party gets and the percentage of the popular vote.


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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:48 am

Raggamuffin wrote:Without looking at the statistics for other elections, it does feel like this election has really exposed the disparity between the number of seats a party gets and the percentage of the popular vote.


So here locally people voted differently, yet the Tories had the most votes. Going off the PR system, the Tories could lose out, how is that fair tot them when they held the majority vote?

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Raggamuffin on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:54 am

Belatucadros wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:Without looking at the statistics for other elections, it does feel like this election has really exposed the disparity between the number of seats a party gets and the percentage of the popular vote.


So here locally people voted differently, yet the Tories had the most votes. Going off the PR system, the Tories could lose out, how is that fair tot them when they held the majority vote?

The Tories had a simple majority or an absolute one?

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:58 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Belatucadros wrote:

So here locally people voted differently, yet the Tories had the most votes. Going off the PR system, the Tories could lose out, how is that fair tot them when they held the majority vote?

The Tories had a simple majority or an absolute one?

They had a majority over each party

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Raggamuffin on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:00 am

Belatucadros wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:

The Tories had a simple majority or an absolute one?

They had a majority over each party

A simple majority then.

The more small parties stand for election, the less likely that any candidate in any constituency would get an absolute majority. There's no alternative to a simple majority system in each constituency as it stands.

Under a PR system, the current constituencies would go and the country would be divided up into much larger areas - like in the European Parliament elections. If the Tories in each of those areas got more votes than any other individual party, they would get more seats than any other individual party.

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Raggamuffin

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:02 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Belatucadros wrote:

They had a majority over each party

A simple majority then.

The more small parties stand for election, the less likely that any candidate in any constituency would get an absolute majority. There's no alternative to a simple majority system in each constituency as it stands.

Under a PR system, the current constituencies would go and the country would be divided up into much larger areas - like in the European Parliament elections. If the Tories in each of those areas got more votes than any other individual party, they would get more seats than any other individual party.

Which I think is wrong as it is taking away what people vote for locally.
It places a view on a national vote, denying the local vote who vote for their party and could see them end in second due to the national vote, I find that unfair to say the least.
We have seen what a nightmare a coalition is for this country.

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Re: The real reason David Cameron is sitting on a Commons majority

Post by Raggamuffin on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:11 am

Belatucadros wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:

A simple majority then.

The more small parties stand for election, the less likely that any candidate in any constituency would get an absolute majority. There's no alternative to a simple majority system in each constituency as it stands.

Under a PR system, the current constituencies would go and the country would be divided up into much larger areas - like in the European Parliament elections. If the Tories in each of those areas got more votes than any other individual party, they would get more seats than any other individual party.

Which I think is wrong as it is taking away what people vote for locally.
It places a view on a national vote, denying the local vote who vote for their party and could see them end in second due to the national vote, I find that unfair to say the least.
We have seen what a nightmare a coalition is for this country.

It would mean that each person in each large area was properly represented, although it would also mean that people would no longer know who to call their MP, so in that sense they might feel lumped together with people miles away from them. At the moment, all the votes for the party which does not get a simple majority are binned - they simply don't count at all. You would still have local elections though - County, District, Town Councils, etc.

It would be interesting to see how a PR system would have affected all the elections for the last 50 years or so. Under a PR system it's less likely that any party would have overall control, and then party politics would really come into its own. The more parties there are, the more coalitions would form on individual issues, and less would get done in terms of passing laws or managing the economy.

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