• Melanie Newdick

Making Most Votes Meaningless 2019

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

We have just had a general election, in case you hadn't noticed and there have been an awful lot of comments and speculation about what the results mean. I wanted to look at the results in Scotland, because that is where I live. There were 59 seats. In 49 of them more people voted for parties/candidates other than the winner, i.e. the majority of people voted for something other than the person/party that was elected.

With such a system it is difficult to read anything into the results.

  • Does this system give the party with the most seats a clear mandate, given that more people voted against them rather than for them?

  • Does it give them clarity about their policies and commitments when so many people voted for other policies and commitments?

How do those people who voted for parties other than the 'winner' feel?

  • Do they feel their vote made a difference?

  • Do they feel that their views will be reflected in what happens during the next Parliament?

First past the post is designed to avoid hung parliaments where parties would have to work together to get things done. However, other countries operate coalitions successfully so why couldn't we? Are we really saying that one party has all the best, right, most appropriate ideas or would it be better to work across party lines for the good of the country?

Until we get proportional representation we will find it hard to read the results of elections because we will continue to have a situation where the votes of the majority are not reflected in the outcome, or the party that ends up holding power in parliament.

What if every vote made a difference and every vote influenced what happened in a parliament?

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