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Category: Life: Politics

General Election – What would it be under PR?

With the UK 2010 General Election now finished (with 649 of the 650 seats declared – “Thirsk and Malton” is delayed until the 27th of May due to a candidate’s death), we official have a “Hung Parliament” which means no single party has an overall majority (326 is the number needed). The two major parties, Conservatives (306 MPs) who are trying to take Government control from Labour (258 MPs), are now “courting” the Liberal Democrats (57 MPs) to try and form a coalition so jointly they can make a majority government. However, one of the key policies/principles for the Liberal Democrat party is that of Electoral Reform – more specifically changing the UK’s voting system from “First Past The Post” to “Proportional Representation”. This means, in a very simplified manner, than instead of each constituency “returning” an MP who has managed to get the largest number of votes in that area, the votes are then pooled on a regional/country basis and then split proportionally – i.e. if 50% of the votes were for party X, then party X would get 50% of the MPs. At the moment, it’s possible (as indeed happened), for a party to get 23% of the vote but only 8.78% of the seats.

So, what would the General Election look like under PR? Would we still have a Hung Parliament? Well, I’ve taken the data from the BBC’s General Election website and calculated how many seats each party would get under a very very simplified Proportional Representation system. It’s very simplified as I’ve just pooled the votes nationwide and then worked out the percentage: under “real world” situations each constituency would join others to make a large one and then pool on that level.

Well, the table is in the “Read More” section of the post – but what conclusions can I draw?

  • We would still have a Hung Parliament
  • The Conservatives would actually lose 71 MPs compared to now (from 306 to 235), and Labour would lose 69 (257 to 189)
  • The Liberal Democrats would actually gain 93 seats to go from 57 to 150 (so it’s understandable why they like PR)
  • The Green party would increase their single seat to 6 seats (a gain of 5)
  • Unfortunately, “right wing” parties such as the BNP would go from no seats to 12 and the UK Independence Party would also go from no seats to 20
  • The Conservatives could only form a majority government with the help from the Liberal Democrats with 150 MPs: all the remaining parties only have 76 seats spare – Conservatives would need 91 seats
  • Labour could only form a majority government with the help from the Liberal Democrats with 150 MPs: Labour need 137 seats to go over the 326 majority threshold

So, in realistic terms, not much would be different to the current situation – EXCEPT (and this is the most important part in my eyes), the mixture of MPs will more accurately represent the voting intentions (and wishes) of the electorate. I might not agree with them, but if that’s what 5% of the voting public want then perhaps we should have some.

Proportional representation may actually lead to more coalition governments in the future – after all Germany “the powerhouse of Europe” has a coalition government, but Greece and Iceland (both who have had major major financial difficulties recently) have majority governments…

Anyway, here’s the data:

Politics: General Election – my thoughts

I think, that in this weeks General Election, the following events will happen: * There will be a hung parliament * The Conservative party will have the most MPs (less than a 100 needed to form a majority government) * If the Conservatives are short by less than 50 seats, they will try to form a minority government * If the Conservatives are between 50 and 100 seats short, then they will approach the Liberal Democrats to form a government. The Liberal Democrats will, in turn, ask for Proportional Representation to be pushed through (although the Conservatives will not like it) and will ask for Vince Cable to become the Chancellor * The Liberal Democrats will still be the third largest party, but there will only be a difference of less than 25 seats between them and Labour * There will be at least 2 Green MPs * No Pirate Party candidates will become MPs * Gordon Brown will not resign as leader of the Labour party, but will instead be forced out in a leadership contest in one to two weeks after the election * There will be around 12 recounts of key marginal seats * The final official…

Poitics: My thoughts on prison overcrowding

This post was inspired by one of Votematch’s questions which was “New prisons need to be built to ease overcrowding (Crime and Justice)”. Here’s who agreed and disagreed with the statement: Me UKIP BNP LibDems Conservatives Green Labour Agree Disagree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Open-minded Current prisons are overcrowded (“two to a cell designed for one”, “doubled up in cells…113% of capacity” with Ministers admitting prisons are overcrowded), and whilst I do believe Prisoners should be punished – this does not mean depriving them of their human rights (note that access the television, computers, gym equipment etc are not human rights!). Therefore more prisons do, unfortunately, need to be built. My response to comments on Votematch: UKIP did say that they “would double prison places” and Liberal Democrats said “[we] will make prison work to turn people away from a life of crime; We will take steps to stabilise the prison population in the short term and reduce it in the long term”: but did not state that they would ease overcrowding for people that should definitely be in prison (I’m talking the “serious” crimes such as murder here)

Politics: Response from LibDems on “Stop the war”

On the 19th of April (3 days ago), I wrote to Rachel Joyce (of the Conservative Party), Gareth Thomas (of the Labour Party) and Christopher Noyce (of the Liberal Democrats) via Stop The War Coalition as they are candidates for the Harrow West constituency for the General Election 2010. I could not email Rowan Langley (of the Green Party) nor Herbert Crossman (of the UK Independence Party) as StopWar did not have an email address for them. So far, I have only received one response – from Christopher Noyce of the Liberal Democrats. It was short and sweet (full text in the “Read More” section) and he’s supports the withdrawal of troops from Afhanistan, doesn’t support the war in Iraq and, in my eyes, answered the remainder of the questions in a way I would like to see. However, there were three very small “picky” things that put my off from his response – his candidate email address is a Hotmail one (!), the fact he failed to state which party he represents and whether those views were his personal thoughts or those of the Liberal Democrats. I know all candidates are a bit busy, so I’m not too concerned…