Friday, 7 May 2010

Britain falls into the democracy gap

Another UK election, and this time it's clearer than ever that first past the post system really doesn't deliver a democratic result. That anyone can defend a political system that delivers such skewed results frankly beggars belief.

Skewed? Well lets see now... The Libdems polled over one fifth of the vote and received about one in twelve of the seats in the house (57) - about 75 seats short of the number that they might expect. Labour's extra six or so percent brought them an additional 200 seats. If it happened in the Ukraine there would be protests on the streets....

Britain though is more worried about a hung parliament. It's better, apparently, to put up with a flawed and biased electoral system than to contemplate that politicians might, perish the thought, be required to co-operate and find what is actually in the national interest.

Language speaks volumes. The very phrase, the Opposition, defines an adversarial role across the benches. Some good old fashioned compromise will do them good...

Whoever ends up wooing the liberal democrats to form a government will do something quite unusual for modern times and actually have a government that represents the majority of the electorate - something that neither the Labour party or the Tories have a habit of achieving in their own right, regardless of how crushing a majority they have in the house. That makes this hung parliament the most legitimate form of representative government in modern times. Is that something to be scared about?

It is at times like these that the 'others' come into thier own - and yes, if you need their support they are going to expect sometrhing in return... but if you can't find a majority of members to support you without those concessions maybe you should wonder if your policy is really what the best thing for the country?

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