Imagine you are a vegetarian, and have a choice between a cheese burger and a steak; it will make little difference to you what to choose, you don’t agree with any so why bother? Then why is it acceptable in 2017 to have a democratic system based on a similar style voting system? We all know about the first past the post (FPTP) system; it gives constituents the choice between the two most popular parties in their constituency to represent them as their MP. However, this is not democracy. If you vote for something you don’t believe in just to stop something potentially worse you can hardly say that it is democratic. You are being held electorally for ransom.
Most people will have done the online tests that suggest who you should vote for based on policies alone. Many people will see high percentage of Green policies as something they agree with but despite this, no one ever votes Green. Why? Is this because no one trusts them? No. It is because the electorate know it won’t make a difference. Your choice is primarily Labour or Tory (with a few exceptions dependant on constituency). It is true that we no longer have this ‘Diet-Tory’-centrist-Blairite monstrosity that was Labour and we do now have a credible left wing alternative to the Tory right, so there is at least a difference between the two parties now. But that does not mean the system is now fair. In a democracy you should be able to vote for what you believe in and get that voice heard equivalent to the proportion of the public that agree with you. That’s just fair. That’s not being unreasonable. It is just being democratic.
Proportional representation (PR) is the best current way to solve this problem. A few examples; if Greens get 10% of the vote, they deserve 10% of the seats. If UKIP get 10% of the vote, they too deserve 10% of the seats. This is just what democracy is. One of the main arguments against PR is the increase in frequency of coalition governments. Yes, this is true; PR will likely damage the percentage of seats the two major parties hold. However, if you have a coalition of two parties that in total represented the largest proportion of seats, is that not better that having, for instance, the Tory party needing to bribe the northern Irish DUP with over £1billion to secure a larger amount of seats not even in proportion to the number of people who voted for them? We would not get situations like this with PR. If PR was in place for this most recent election Labour would have 40% of the vote to the Tories 42.5% enabling either side to form a coalition. But this would be a coalition based on the legitimate majority of our choice which would be a far stronger and in fact more stable coalition than whatever on earth is going on now.
It almost stands to reason that if you don’t feel represented you will lose interest in politics and voting altogether. When you get to the polling station on an election day you can either compromise your beliefs and tactically vote, vote for what you truly believe and affect nothing or just don’t vote. How are any of those options democratic?
The Tories would never relinquish a system that keeps them perpetually in power and I’m sure there are many in labour also against PR. It is the duty of anyone who genuinely aligns themselves with the minor parties or anyone who agrees in democracy to lobby for a change in the system. It does not matter if you are left, right or centre, you deserve to be represented in your own country. I urge you to write to your MP’s and begin the process of true change in this country, for a democratic Britain.
Got an idea for an article? Click here to find out more about writing for us.