Election 2015: In Response to “Time For Change?”

The author of the article entitled “Time For Change?” boldly asserted that the biggest loser of the 2015 general election was not a particular party as one might expect, given the annihilation of the Liberal Democrats and the whitewash that confronted the Labour Party, nor was it any single politician who was unfortunate enough to not be re-elected, such as the heavyweights Ed Balls or Vince Cable. No, instead, the author blamed democracy.

One of the main critiques he puts forward is the fact that First-Past-The-Post, the electoral system used in general elections, so greatly disadvantages smaller parties; take a look at UKIP, who received close to four million votes and yet only one seat, compared to the SNP’s snatch of fifty six seats for a share of only one and a half million votes. Unfair? On the face of things, it seems so. But one must remember the purpose of First-Past-The-Post – to provide strong, accountable constituency MPs. Any system of proportional representation would not only weaken this function, but also give rise to a situation where the people of a constituency would not be represented by their first choice party. That is to say, the people of, say, Lanarkshire in Scotland, chose to be represented by an SNP representative. Under PR, a Labour MP could very much be their port of call. Despite Labour having a great share of the national vote, they do not have a greater share of the constituency vote, and therefore First-Past-The-Post remains the best way of ensuring that constituencies are effectively represented in Parliament.

The author also raises the point that the Conservatives are now ruling over the four different countries that make up the United Kingdom despite only gaining a majority of votes in one of them. It is important to note, however, that given the sheer size of England compared to the other countries, one cannot reasonably expect the winning party in any other region to be in government because the area it represents is so small. Indeed, logically speaking, the SNP should never be in government – not only because they represent the self-serving interests of about a tenth of the total UK population and only put forward candidates in Scotland, Nevertheless, the people of Scotland had the opportunity to break with the rest of the UK, and firmly rejected it. The devolved assemblies have full autonomy over a number of policy issues too. The high turnout of the referendum and the increased turnout in the election, clearly demonstrate that democracy is most certainly not dead.

What is more important, however, is that MPs from any party can be returned under the current system; the Greens, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP – whatever it may be. Party membership is shooting up at an inexplicable rate. We have never seen so much activism, especially on social media. With an EU referendum looming for 2017, democracy will be booming. It has never been so alive.

By: Greg Alexander, 18, Conservative Party activist, @alexgr03

Image credit: http://www.lgbtjigsaw.net/

Election 2015: In Response to “Time For Change?” Election 2015: In Response to “Time For Change?” Reviewed by Admin on 22:01 Rating: 5

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