Dear Sir,
December 12th’s General Election results show that the votes of many Newton News readers counted for nothing, thanks to continued use of our antiquated “First-past-the-post” voting system.
Signing away your democratic rights with the mark of illiteracy in single member constituencies enables MPs to be elected on a small fraction of the vote. As a consequence, seats won by a party do not necessarily reflect the level of support nationwide for that party, nor are outcomes consistent or certain. On December 12th, Boris Johnson’s so-called landslide was achieved on just 44% of the vote; 56% of those who voted did not support his party. Moreover, in Scotland, the Nationalists took 81% of the seats for just 45% of the vote while in Northern Ireland, Unionists were awarded fewer seats than the Nationalists, even though they had polled more votes.
As the Labour Party’s Secretary of the time observed as long ago as 1936: “There is no greater gamble on earth than a British general election. You might as well throw dice”.
If your readers want to know more, sets out the deficiencies of our current voting system and advocates its replacement with the Single Transferable Vote, a British invention which is used for some elections in Northern Ireland and Scotland. STV increases the degree and accuracy of representation, it minimizes wasted votes, and it is the most powerful vote on the planet. It is high time it was introduced for all elections in the UK.
Yours faithfully,
David Green.