I Should Be Laughing, But I’m Not

General Election 2015 – A Wake-Up Call For Democracy

General Election 2015 PR versus FTPTresults
Potential democracy in action. I might not like the fact that some form of PR would give parties I don’t necessarily agree with a larger representation in Parliament – but that’s just tough, because anything other than fair representation for all is undemocratic.

So what about UKIP – the crackpot party us ‘lefties’ love to hate and trade insults with over social media? There’s not much of their core policies I agree with, and their mainstream policies pretty much drift into the same territory as policies other parties I’m more in tune with display. So there I was, the day after the night before, watching the election results come in, wondering what seats the ‘UKIPpers’ would win, ready to laugh at any losses they might sustain.

But then it hit me – in nothing less than jaw dropping style, having learned that Nigel Farage’s party had gained 13% of votes cast, with just ONE seat won! This was no longer a laughing matter, but a serious, sobering error in democracy.

Although not a UKIP supporter, as far as I was concerned, this was the undeniable final nail in the coffin for FPTP politics. Love him or hate him, Farage had worked hard to promote his party, gained the third highest share of the vote, yet was denied anything like the representation of his voter’s views in parliament. To be perfectly honest, I actually felt sorry for Nigel Farage and his supporters – they’d been robbed. With the SNP gaining 56 seats on 5% of the vote the figures were certainly turning out to be a travesty, the mouldy icing on the cake being yet another thirty-something percentage ‘majority’ government – a lot like the 2005 victory Labour took.

With 63% of voters not voting for the party that got ‘first past the post’, this was actually a General Election nobody won, the biggest loser being democracy itself. In a fit of disgust, I immediately joined the campaign for electoral reform as a paid-up member, never having felt so politically infuriated – not even during the Thatcher years. This was a new level of anger, driven by the injustice of a broken electoral system fit for the Tories and Whigs of three centuries gone.

Just for the record, if anybody hadn’t noticed, the 2-party political landscape of the 20th century is over, along with the dinosaur structure used to allocate seats in parliament. The time for change is NOW!

So how do we remove a broken electoral system not representing the people who participate in what is now a pseudo-democracy, where minority support governments can win the right to govern without capturing the majority of votes cast? For me, the issue is clear:

Cross-party consensus on action for electoral reform.

Now is the time when we have to put our political differences aside and unite as one body to challenge the political establishment on this issue. We have to stop trading insults over Twitter and stand together for our right to a fairer electoral system – even if it means other parties we don’t agree with win their fair share of representation in parliament. I’m prepared to drop my ‘lefty-liberal’ antagonism for the greater gooddemocracy – because without it, we are all losers. The issue at stake is bigger than divisive party politics. If that means me standing shoulder to shoulder with ‘UKIPpers’ to force change, then so be it. The Green Party are already making tentative steps in this direction because it’s the same raw deal for them. I hope other parties who feel strongly about the need for electoral reform will also stand up and be counted on this principle. At the end of the day, it’s about fairness and if UKIP have won a portion of the vote indicating they should gain more seats in parliament than people of my political leanings would like, then it’s tough, because that’s REAL democracy in action. In the end, it benefits us ALL.

We can go back to party politics after we’ve won the battle for reform, knowing we’ve achieved a better platform for the British electoral system to flourish under. If we carry on bickering over the social media fence, the 37% ‘majority’ governments will just sit back laughing at us, knowing that they can leave us to fight amongst ourselves, whilst they head for another minority vote victory in 5 years time – and that’s not democracy.