Home > Uncategorized > Democracy – First Past The Post style.

Democracy – First Past The Post style.

I’ve been keeping up to date with all the releases about the AV referendum in May especially from people who may not get as much press as more well known people.

David Cameron is often quoting Winston Churchill, the great war leader on AV as “the most worthless votes from the most worthless candidates.” I’m a supporter of Yes & well I can see Churchill’s point but as Mark Pack points out on Liberal Democrat Voice, he is also damning of FPTP saying it is:

The present system has clearly broken down. The results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious representation.

I find Jonathan Harvey’s piece on what our criteria should be for deciding how to vote a compelling piece. Talks about choosing what is the right system for electing MPs on principle instead of what the consequences may be.

This piece from bad conscience is the most compelling for First Past the Post. Argues for majority government and how we should allow the largest minority a ruling majority & why this is fair as opposed to having balanced parliaments that represent the people where our representatives come to an agreement.

That is really what i want to argue against. This argument may seem like scaremongering & it is a hypothetical, potential consequence of FPTP that has happened in many countries. At the moment in our country, it looks decades off.

Lets assume in a constituency of 70,000 people with 12 candidates standing, this is the result:

Labour 6282 (8.97%)

Liberal Democrats 6256 (8.94%)

Conservative 6212 (8.87%)

Green 5718 (8.12%)

UKIP 5892 (8.42%)

BNP 6282 (8.97%)

English Democrats 5820 (8.314%)

English Defence League 5968 (8.52%)

Pirate Party 5270 (7.53%)

Christian Democrats 4000 (5.71%)

Moderate Islam Party 6000 (8.57%)

Jihad Party 6300 (9%)

The candidate that is elected is a member of the Jihad party on 9%. If this was replicated across the country, it is possible that the Jihad party could get a majority in parliament even though the majority are against them. This is the fatal flaw of First Past the Post , it gives minority rule against the majority.

Can you imagine the maiden speech by the Jihadist?

My constituency of [enter some community] has a 70% white population, with a considerable anti-Islam feeling. The rest of the community is made up of a variety of ethnic minorities including a moderately large Muslim community of which I’m a member of. I feel confident of being able to represent all of these views to you, my honourable friends.

When what he really means, is that he will kill any anti-Islam people who come to see him.

EDIT: Not meant to be anti-Islamist but it could be any extremist party & lead to a situation similar to the Nazi’s where the majority don’t actually get their say. Now back to the original post.

The people in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen who are fighting for democracy, fighting to have a say in how their country is run are not fighting for a system like FPTP. Strong, stable government is one thing but allowing majority rule to a minority however large that minority is wrong. Democracy is about comprise & we as a country need to embrace it.

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