It’s been a while since I wrote anything on this blog but events of the last 24 hours have got me irked enough to take fingers to keyboard once again.
Now, I’m a man of advancing years but despite this, yesterday was the first time I had ever ventured into a Polling Station.
It was quite embarrassing really. I had to ask the attendants for instructions on what to do.
“You take these two forms and put an ‘X’ against the candidate you wish to vote for. The white one is for the General Election. The pink one is for the Local Election.”
OK. Got it. Pink: General. White: Local. Hang on…
So, I went over to the booth and… I wavered for a moment…
I’d been intending to vote UKIP all along but now it came to it, I had some doubts in my mind. Would a vote for UKIP be a vote for Labour because I’d be taking votes away from the Tories?
I’m not a big fan of the Conservatives but they are more broadly aligned with my political beliefs than Labour and the thought of Ed the Red in charge for five years made me shudder.
But then I thought, “Sod it.” and I crossed the UKIP box on both papers.
A vote for UKIP is a vote for UKIP. If that leads to Red Ed then so be it. In a perverse way, that might not be such a bad thing. Let Labour run riot for another five years and completely screw up the country once again just like they’ve always done when put in charge. Maybe a bit of short term pain might be worth it if it removes any chance of my own children ever voting for the party that meant they spend their entire working lives paying off Labour’s debts (they’re already probably going to be doing this but hey ho).
I have no love for Tories or Labour so let them fight it out. I’ve voted for the party I believe in most at this point. My job was done. My conscience was clear.
Just after 10pm, I watched the TV and saw that the exit polls had UKIP on ONE seat with Conservatives looking likely to win by some margin (a margin which was to extend to the point of a majority as the night went on so I could breathe a slight sigh of relief… my one vote hadn’t put Red Ed in after all).
But then as the exit poll was confirmed this morning as being remarkably accurate, I couldn’t quite understand the figures I was seeing.
Conservatives – 331 Seats – 36.9% of the vote (11,334,920 votes)
Labour – 232 Seats – 30.4% of the vote (9,347,326 votes)
SNP – 56 Seats – 4.7% of the vote (1,454,436 votes)
Lib Dems – 8 seats – 7.9% of the vote (2,415,888 votes)
UKIP – 1 Seat – 12.6% of the vote (3,881,129 votes)
If this was a new country and we asked a group of boffins to come up with a Democratic Electoral System and we ran some scenarios though the computer and it came up with the above, the conversation would probably go something like this:-
“Guys… thank you for all your hard work on this. We know you’ve put a lot of time and effort into this system but… well… frankly… it’s shit. Back to the drawing board, I’m afraid.”
Quite frankly, if we’re trying to “sell” democracy to the rest of the world then this makes for an embarrassing advertisement.
Some 46,425,386 people were eligible to vote in this election and 66.1% turned out. I make that around 30,687,180 people. Almost four million of those voted UKIP.
I’m convinced that there would have been some people who, like me, found themselves wavering over the UKIP box but plumped for the Conservative box because they knew the system was shit and that their vote for UKIP might well be “wasted” so I’m convinced that under a fairer electoral system, the UKIP vote might well have been even larger.
But even ignoring these hypotheticals, surely anyone with half a brain, a grain of common-sense and a desire to see fairness in action can see that the following doesn’t add up:-
A party gets 37% of the vote and wins the election with an overall majority of 331 seats.
A party gets a third of that winning party’s vote and gets one seat.
One third the vote, roughly 0.3% of the seats.
UKIP started out with the sole aim of getting us out of the dreaded EU.
It has, perhaps inadvertently, become the champion of an entirely different cause.
The case for Electoral Reform has never been stronger. UKIP and it’s 4 million supporters have been shafted by this election.
At least 4 million people are going to be represented by ONE MP for the next five years so if that’s possible, why do we need 650 of the buggers?
This is supposed to be a GENERAL Election. It is to decide who represents the entire country, not a constituency.
Let us have a representation which is proportional to the votes received.
Out of politeness we can still call Cameron the Puppet and Merkels the Master but one step at a time.