Monday, May 10, 2010

The Election

As a lifelong Liberal (the Democrat bit was added later and I've never been that fussed) I confess to being cheered and saddened by the election. Cheered by the Parliament being hung; saddened that the Lib Dems didn't make bigger inroads into the Commons.
The only really obvious thing to come out of the election is that some sort of proportional representation is long overdue. The number of voters it takes to secure a seat is quite illuminating.
The DUP come out best. Although we had the fun of watching Robinson lose his seat (...and here's to you Mrs Robinson) they do best of all. Every seat "cost" only 21027 voters. The Labour Party come in second. Every one of their 258 MPs cost 33350 voters. Compare this to the 34989 voters it took to elect each Conservative MP and you can see why Cameron was so cheesed off. If he had had to pay (in voters) what Labour paid for their seats he would have has 321 - very close to the magical 326.
Plaid Cymru and the SNP deserve a mention here. Each Plaid seat cost 55131 voters; each SNP seat 81898. Using Labour as a "voters per seat" benchmark, Plaid should have had 5 seats, the SNP a whopping 15.
Then we come to the Lib Dems. My favourite bridesmaids. Every Lib Dem seat cost 119788 voters. If they had been Labour voters they could have expected 204 seats with that many voters.
A lot of voters don't vote Lib Dem because they don't like wasting their vote. You can see why.
I also feel really sorry for the Greens. They would have had 9 seats under the same "voters per seat" as Labour.
If we went for simple proportional representation, with every vote contributing to a big "pot" from where MPs would be drawn we would have ended up with a parliament that looked like this:

Con 252
Lab 203
Lib 161
Oth 34

The supposed massive downside that sticks to this type of vote is that it ignores "local interest". Not so, as it turns out. The parties from norn'ir'n would stull have approximately the same nomber of seats (do you like my Ulster accent?). Similarly, Plaid and the SNP do pretty well out of this method.
MPs then get assigned to constituencies. That would be fun - to see who we would get. Of course, what we would always get is a hung parliament. Good. Let's see a bit of concensus and compromise rather than the antagonistic, hostile way that things are done now.
Dream on.

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