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Is Britain's political system fit for purpose?
Britain has a first past the post electoral system in which people vote in constituencies of about 85,000 people to elect MPs and the government. This means that the total number of votes won by a party is less important that your spefic concentration of support. Winning a constituency by 35,000 votes has the same effect as winning a constituency by one.

In a two party system, this would matter less but Britain of course is massively divided and has a multi party system. Only labour and Conservative will have the power to form a government but several other parties are competing for seats and for votes.

Sooooo... tactical voting really matters. Some constituencies are safe for a party but what do you do in a marginal constituency where your favourite party can't win? Do you vote for a lesser evil or do you 'waste your vote' l. If I lived in a Conservative Lib Dem marginal then it would be a huge dilemma. I hate the Lib Dems but I hate the Conservatives more and I don't want a hard Brexit.

So many dynamics are at play because people will be considering lots of different policies as well as the all important Brexit question.

I think people should be free to vote for their first choice party and that we need a proportional representation system.
36-40, M
16 replies
Nov 8, 2019
Edited: 1 week ago
FPP has some advantages even for the smaller parties just ask the DUP.
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@417364,Ozymandias] Yeah, if they have local concentration of support and it's the same in Scotland with the SNP. If you have four million votes throughout the country and gets no seats it's not fair.
[@422868,Burnley123] The unfairness helps with stronger governments. Italy has a pretty fair PR system but a new government every other week.
fairefoutre · 70-79, M
Hthe British political set up is total garbage. We get governments with a 100 majority with only one third of the votes cast, it is not democracy but a parliamentary dictatorship. The control the government is able to have over parliament is an obscenity.
beckyromero · 31-35, F
[quote]Winning a constituency by 35,000 votes has the same effect as winning a constituency by one.

In a two party system, this would matter less but Britain of course is massively divided and has a multi party system.[/quote]

In the U.S., there have been proposals for choice or ranked voting, so that as a voter's first choice is eliminated, their vote can still count if no candidate received 50% plus one as voters' first preference.

But weird results can still take place, such as a candidate with 16% of the vote ultimately winning even if one candidate topped 43%.

[quote]what do you do in a marginal constituency where your favourite party can't win? Do you vote for a lesser evil or do you 'waste your vote'[/quote]

Third option is to move. 😉

Or, to be more technical, register at another place of residency.

More U.S. university students attending college out of syaye could do this if state governments didn't make it so difficult,
Brianthesnail · 51-55, M
Unelected Head of State
Unelected Head of Government (well, elected by a few who paid for the privilege)
Ministers appointed by the above, without any democratic scrutiny
Upper house appointed or by or inherited privilege
Lower house elected by the most undemocratic system FPTP

And the lower house doesn't normally have any practical relevance, being completely dominated by the the executive, except in the recent situation of ineffectual leadership .

So, NO, not fit for purpose
BlueVeins · 18-21, F
Really, ranked-choice is the only sensible answer for any country.
MartinII · 61-69, M
I agree with your analysis. No one system is inherently better than another, in my opinion. It depends what you want to achieve - a majority government which commands general, albeit reluctant, acquiescence, or all opinions reflected proportionately in Parliament, with the inevitable resultant horse trading. An interesting historical example is the large majorities won by Mrs Thatcher in 1983 and 1987, in large part because the SDP and then the Alliance split the anti-Conservative vote. Lots of people deeply regretted the outcome, of course, but I don’t remember many questioning its validity.

You don’t mention the option of constituency based elections decided by single transferable vote rather than first past the post. I think that has something to commend it.

By the way, we have at least one thing in common politically. We both hate the Lib Dems! 😀
MartinII · 61-69, M
[@483274,Brianthesnail] Not absolute rule, obviously. That’s impossible in a Parliamentary system. But generally, clear majorities are accepted as legitimate, whatever the share of the vote. Like Thatcher, Blair never achieved 40% of the votes. Labour achieved over 50% in 1951 and lost. These things happen in a constituency based system, and while they seem odd, I don’t think they are unfair. It’s also important to remember that in a different voting system people’s voting behaviour would be different.
Brianthesnail · 51-55, M
[@268418,MartinII] so, you can "win" with 40% and lose with over 50%.
And everyone is OK with that??
MartinII · 61-69, M
[@483274,Brianthesnail] It’s a matter of historical fact that when a party has won a clear majority of seats, its government has almost always been generally accepted as legitimate, whatever the vote percentages have been.
Nunos50 · 56-60, M
The whole nonsense now of no Brexit party in existing tory seats and the remain alliance just shows how utterly out of date & broken the UK election system is. It's simply not fit for a 21st century election.
fairefoutre · 70-79, M
The Scottish Parliament is elected by the deHont system. Constituency MPs with a top number of MPs to reflect each parties actual share of votes cast. It has worked well here to the satisfaction of all, but not to that of the English government who designed the system specifically to prevent the SNP ever gaining an overall majority. It didn't work we naughty Scots like the SNP and elect them in droves. Lol

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