Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “lottery”

The Aftermath

Well I have had at least six hours sleep, breakfast and a bit of exercise – which probably makes me more competent to pontificate than most of those on the television.

Random headlines: Read more…

Polling Station Chaos

So it seems we cannot manage an election.  Faulty Ballot Papers, Insufficient Ballot Papers, Insufficient Staff to Process People Queuing, Insufficient Capacity at Polling Stations to organise a Lock-In for all those still queuing at 10:00pm.

It’s being called a scandal that people have been denied a ballot paper.  True (and embarrassingly obvious), but minor compared to the majority of us (outside the marginals) who have been given worthless ballot papers which will have no effect on the result what-so-ever.

Who chooses the Prime Minister?

David Cameron on Andrew Marr (2 May 2010) condemns Proportional Representation, saying:

It’s not the voter choosing the prime-minister

No David, it’s not – but neither is First Pass the Post (FPTP).  FPTP makes a few voters very important in electing the MPs in the marginals – and that determines which party has the lotto majority in the House of Commons.  The House of Commons then (by not voting down a government in a no confidence debate), selects the Prime Minister (the person “most able to command a majority”).

Proportional Representation makes a better job of choosing the House of Commons, and more of the voters matter.  Under STV around 80% of votes matter – in all constituencies. (see previous thread)

If Cameron really wants “the voters to elect the Prime Minister”, let him propose a Presidential System.  Unless he does that he is just being sanctimonious, two-faced, and self-interested (i.e. a politician) in his attitude to PR.

Hung up about Hung Parliaments

On BBC News Website Election 2010: War of words mounts over hung parliament 26 April 2010 20:01

Earlier Tory leader David Cameron accused the Lib Dems of wanting to “hold the whole country to ransom”, saying their proposed overhaul of the voting system would result in a “permanent hung Parliament”.

Is this any worse than ruling the country and doing things like introducing the poll tax or taking us to war when you only have minority support, but due to the election lottery you get an overwhelming “majority”?

Of course to avoid a “permanently hung parliament”, Cameron could try to win a genuine majority – in the country.  At the moment he only has to grab minority support – he can ignore the rest of us – hardly worthy of a prospective national leader.

Gordon Brown (same reference as above) is also hung up on the issue:

“Don’t be arrogant enough to assume that you can start talking about after an election, let the people make their own views up. And let people decide.”

I just wish the people could decide, most of us can’t; outside the marginals we can only watch as the electoral lottery machine spins and spews out red and blue balls.

Different Planets (1 of ?)

Listening to David Cameron on World at One today (he seems to have taken it over), his main proposal for parliamentary reform seemed to be to make all the constituencies nearer to the same size (I think this involves carving up the Isle of Wight).

Now Caroline Spelman on Any Questions defending first past the post as:

  • enabling you to throw out a government – leaving aside that outside the marginals you can’t because your vote does not count, we may see Labour come third in the popular vote but continue as a minority government.
  • giving a clear result – well Labour winning again would be a clear result, but if it did so after coming third in the popular vote it is scarcely reasonable.

Caroline Spelman would seem to prefer an illegitimate Labour Government (based on third place) to a fair system, because every so often her party will “win” the Great British Election Lottery.

I’m on a different planet to that lot; anyone with me?

The last shall be first and the first shall be last

Channel 4 News this evening (7:00 19 April) looked at how a poll with Labour last and the Liberals first (see my earlier post) could leave Labour with most seats. They asked the Prime Minster for his reaction:

“It’s illogical, it’s up to the voters to decide”

It’s certainly illogical, but unfortunately it underlines that it is not up to the voters to decide.  We have a lottery voting system and whether you have any role in the decision depends on where you live.  Outside the marginals it is not up to the voters.  Even within the marginals the results depend on how supporters of third (and fourth etc.) parties vote.

It’s worse than a lottery, the balls are loaded and the machine creaks!

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