There seems to be a common misperception with regards to our democratic voting system. Many seem to think that First Past the Post (FPTP) works very well and is a democratically fair system. However, there are many others who can (rightly) see something far more problematic with it. Regarding those in support of FPTP, they tend to only be supportive of this electoral voting method due to it benefiting their own ends in someway. On the other hand, many voters seem to accept FPTP due to apathy, as well as being far more ready to accept the status quo than to challenge it.
FPTP is far more about competition than it is about representation. It is based on either winning or losing. If it is fair to say that Members of Parliament are elected based on winning, then is it not also fair to question the fate of the losers? Surely our democracy is not one based on representation but one based on gambling. It is based on chance rather than choice – it just really presents the illusion of choice. Of course you have a choice. You can vote with principle or tactically, but as much as you do so, you will never get the representation that you truly want. Not unless you are on the winning team, of course
Fundamentally, FPTP underpins and supports a two party political structure that is not fit for purpose in 21st century Britain. To put it bluntly, It’s simply like going to Lingfield and trying to figure out the right horse to back. If you happen to get lucky and win, you will see great returns. But if your horse falls at the fences and you lose, then you simply go home empty handed; having to wait five more years until you get another chance to place your bet.
It is completely understandable why many feel that voting is pointless. In many ways under FPTP it is. Those disillusioned mostly say, “Nothing will ever change”, and despite everyone making the effort to encourage non-voters to vote, the non-voter does have a legitimate point to make. This point needs to be understood rather than criticised. If telling non-voters that “if you do not vote, then do not have the right to complain” is justified, then what do you say to those who do vote and yet their vote still counted for nothing?
When the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories, the Liberal Democrats wanted to push electoral reform by bringing Proportional Representation (PR) to the negotiating table. In my own personal opinion, there is not a fairer and more representative system that exists today than PR. Although, the Lib Dems have been accused of being nothing more than “power hungry” and “careerists”, the Lib Dems gained a position of power through FPTP and yet still wanted to introduce a fairer voting system!
Seeing that the Conservatives won a small majority, a majority nevertheless, the idea that Britain is crawling with Tories could not be farther from the truth. Overall, they only picked up 36.9% of the vote share and yet are now representing the other 63.1% of people that did not vote for them. Surely in a fair democracy, you would at least expect any governing body to rake in at least 51% of the vote. Unfortunately, the majority is being governed by a minority who are clearly dressed in baggy trousers; appearing the majority just because the goal posts have been placed where it suits them.
Another thing one must question, is, if the Conservatives really cared about the electorate having any form of real representation, then why did they refuse to accept a PR referendum when the Lib Dems put it on the table? It was simple. They did not care about the electorate having representation, they solely cared about maintaining their position in power; not to represent but to govern instead.
There are small pockets in the country, voting under FPTP, who’s vote counts up to 22 times more than the vote of others. It took millions of votes to elect one Green and UKIP MP and yet only around 33,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP. This is our democracy people. Like with a game of sport, that has been played under corrupt rules, we must demand a replay under new and fairer rules. This Conservative government, in my eyes, do not have the legitimacy to represent or govern the majority. Our system appears more elitist than ever before. The system is broken, and we should be doing everything we possibly can to fix it.