UK Election: The Tory Trouble

Speaking during a visit to Cheam, in south London, Tory leader David Cameron said: “We should have a society where we back commitment and where we recognise marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system. Would it be a good thing if more people came together and stayed together and showed commitment? I think it would.”

Brown said Labour’s offer to voters would be credible rather than exciting. “It is about substance in the end,” he said.

Clegg said he was “not campaigning for a hung parliament” but it would be preferable to rule by a party with a tiny majority based on a minority of votes. “Do I think politicians working together can be a good thing? Of course it can.”

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The UK election offers several “choices”. None of these seem at all democratic except for the dreaded “hung parliament”. In the case of no absolute majority, the outdated First Past the Post system offers governments formed with less than a majority of the votes. With an electorate where not everyone votes and of those who do, the prospect of every Government based on a minority of voters is plainly undemocratic and Nick Cleggs forecast of social unrest is not only inevitable in this but in every election.

The current “government” is only based on 22% of the eligible vote. When you have two main parties who gravitate at the “centre” and a third party that is actually a centrist party – there is no real choice except the personalities involved. The policies and policy reputations of the parties are not to be relied upon. Whomever “wins” this election will have to take actions that make their political future very dim. A coalition is almost necessary to avoid any individual party being tainted, but that is certainly the wrong reason to go into coalition.

Democratic politics is not about the winning. It is about the representation. If all three parties went into coalition to implement their austerity measures, they would still be doing so with less than 50% actual support. Only the Lib Dems are coming out to say it and only because they have little hope of winning enough seats for the “absolute majority” that the first past the post system appears to offer. Based on less than a quarter of the will of the people it is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the majority.

Proportional representation with all its problems is a far better way to evolve good government.

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