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Querying First Past the Post – Supporter Letter

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Mervyn Pearce

I have voted for 44 years in UK elections. In that time, I have never had a party in power that represents my wishes. The present government has got in with 43.6% of the vote but has 56% of the seats in Westminster. 56.4 % of the people did not vote for the present government and have 44% of the seats between them.

Our first past the post system is not fit for purpose in our multi-party country. I believe our present system dates back to1265 with lots of reforms on the way to its present form.  It has served us well when there were only 2 main parties, but we now live in a different world, with lots of parties and it is time for another reform of the voting system. It needs to be fit and relevant for the 21st century. I believe the wishes of the majority of people should be put before party politics. There is only one way to achieve this, bring in proportional representation. It would require politicians to work together to represent the majority not just their own party interests. Wales and Scotland have forms of proportional representation so why not the whole of the UK.

I have experienced the swings from left to right and back again driven by political doctrine and the lust for power. The majority of people are in the middle busy dealing with life, family, work and all the things we all have to deal with.  We assume that the politicians represent the wishes and best interests of the people who voted for them, and also the people that did not.  There are many exceptions, but most MPs vote according to political dogma and party whips.  We do not see cross-party cooperation. Decisions are brought based on dogma, power, political spin, and the media. It is hard for the majority in the middle ground to know to distinguish between facts, truth or lies and I believe Brexit is the biggest example of this. I think if a large unbiased survey of people had been done 6 years ago about things, they would like to change about the UK I don’t think the EU would have ranked highly. I may be getting older, but I don’t remember mass demonstrations, petitions or public meetings demanding to leave the EU prior to the referendum.  In my opinion, it was driven by political dogma and the media, it could have been prevented if, at the election Labour (with 32.2% of the vote) and the Lib Dem (with 11.5% of the vote), total 43.7% had worked together and with other parties.  But again, I did not see the parties putting the needs of the people above party politics.

 

I believe a new voting system where all votes count, would help the voters ‘’Take back Control’’. The climate emergency is being given the attention it deserves by the two main parties. As an example, the Green party has 2.7% of the vote but only 1 MP if based on votes they would have 17MPS.  We will not tackle major problems or reflect our diversity until we change the voting system. People, like myself, will not have wasted their vote for 44 years.

 

12 December 2019 (Wikipedia)

Seats: 650

Majority boundary: 326

Party

Leader

%

Seats

±

Conservative Boris Johnson 43.6 365 +48
Labour Jeremy Corbyn 32.2 202 -60
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 11.6 11 -1
SNP Nicola Sturgeon 3.9 48 +13
Green Jonathan Bartley & Siân Berry 2.7 1 0
DUP Arlene Foster 0.8 8 -2
Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald 0.6 7 0
Plaid Cymru Adam Price 0.5 4 0
SDLP Colum Eastwood 0.4 2 +2
Alliance Naomi Long 0.4 1 +1

 

 

Figures from Wikipedia, BBC, UK gov