A clear case for electoral reform

Friday, 20th May

Vote share

Share of the seats, left, and, right, share of the vote

• WHILE I have every confidence that Camden’s Labour council will continue to serve residents well, I continue to be concerned at the lack of other voices in the council chamber.

The pie charts prepared by @ElectoralReform (above), printed in the May 12 CNJ, show the vote shares and the seats obtained in Camden, a picture that will have been reflected all over the country, in many cases with rather more damaging outcomes!

Weak electoral accountability can have a negative impact on public procurement and on planning decisions while “one-party states” often discourage voters from active participation in their communities.

A similar story can be told about general elections. Westminster’s first-past-the-post, FPTP, system delivers governments which the majority of people did not vote for and puts parties in power even when they didn’t get most of the votes.

In the 2019 general election the Tories got 43.6 per cent of votes but 56.2 per cent of the seats. Although the Labour percentages were closer (32.1 for votes versus 31.1 for seats), Liberal Democrats only got 1.7 per cent of seats despite getting 11.5 per cent of votes; while the Greens likewise got 0.2 per cent seats but 2.7 per cent votes.

The resulting Conservative government has taken forward a disastrous programme which the majority of people (including many Conservatives) do not support, yet their parliamentary majority makes it nigh impossible to stop.

Organisations campaigning for electoral reform want a fairer voting system, which already exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Such a system will also make politics less combative and enable parties to work together on common issues such as the environment and housing.

Hopefully your readers will increasingly recognise the need for us to reform our electoral system to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and all parties will work together to make this happen.

CATH ATTLEE
Fordwych Road, NW2

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