Posts Tagged ‘european elections’

Is it worth voting in the EU elections?

Saturday, June 1st, 2019 | Religion & Politics

I’ve previously written about why voting in a general election is pointless. One vote never makes a difference. It did in 1886. And again in 1910. But both of those occasions were before you, me, or even my gran was born.

One of the major problems is the first past the post system. But the EU elections are run under proportional representation. So, does that make it better? It certainly does! It allows a much fairer representation of parties at the table. However, as it is done by region, and because of the number of votes, your one vote still doesn’t really make a difference.

Let’s look at my region, for example, Yorkshire and the Humber. Here is the outcome:

  • Brexit Party, 470,351 votes, 3 MEPs
  • Labour, 210,516 votes, 1 MEP
  • Liberal Democrats, 200,180 votes, 1 MEP
  • Green, 166,980 votes, 1 MEP
  • Conservatives, 92,863 votes, 0 MEPs

One of the best things about PR is that it makes the votes per MP fairer. For example, in a general election, the Lib Dems and UKIP typically have a large share of the vote while only a handful of MPs, while the SNP have very few votes but loads of MPs.

It’s not quite even in PR, but it’s better. The Brexit Party has the best ratio of votes to MEPs with 156,784 votes per MEP. So, in order for someone else to gain an MEP, they would have to beat this number.

Let’s look at what that would mean:

  • Conservatives: 63,921
  • Labour: 103,052
  • Lib Dems: 113,388

Or, maybe you want the Brexit Party to take a fourth seat. That would require them to take an additional 156,785 votes.

All of those are big numbers. Way bigger than the 23,698 votes it would require for the Conservatives to take Leeds Central away from Labour in a general election. Which they haven’t done since 1923.

I also ran the numbers against London. The closest people were the Conservatives who could have taken one of the Brexit Party seats (200,129 votes per MEP) with an additional 22,165 votes. I looked at South East England, too, where the Greens could have taken Labour’s seat with an additional 26,107 votes.

None of these results was close. One vote does not make a difference.

Democracy in action

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | Religion & Politics

I’ve seen a lot of posts, comments, tweets etc, about the results from Sunday night.

I’m sure you’re aware of what has happened but in case some of you aren’t, the results for the European parliament were announced with Labour getting trashed and losing Wales for the first time since 1918 and more importantly the British National Party won two seats.

UKIP managed to come second, beating Labour and nobody really seems to be concerned about this. I can’t imagine why, UKIP are a ridicious one policy party and that is putting it nicely. Why we would want these people in power I cannot imagine. UKIP leader Nigel Farage also worries me, I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be more smug than Mr. O’Shea but apparently it is possible 😉 .

The real backlash though has been against the BNP getting elected – in no less than two regions.

Personally I am sick and tired of people saying “oh this is awful, we shouldn’t have a system which allows people like that to get elected.” Of course you expect these stupid comments from Islamic extremists but they are coming from people I considered smart, educated people.

Of course the BNP should be allowed to run, we live in a free expression democracy and if we’re going to tolerate the Muslims we are going to tolerate the fascists, that’s just being fair. It isn’t a problem because if you’re saying really wacky far out there things nobody is going to vote for you.

What people are actually worried about therefore is that people are actually voting for the BNP and in large numbers – almost a million people voted for them in the recent elections. A million people!

No wonder given that nobody is even really discussing the issue. Everyone says “oh, how terrible, it’s the BNP” but most people don’t even know what the BNP policies are. Most people think they know BNP policy on immigration (you probably don’t though, it’s a bit different to what you think) but do you know their policy on the environment for example?

Probably not because it never comes up for discussion. The BNP are banned from campus at Leeds and if anyone else was watching the unbiased BBC coverage on Sunday night you will note that despite speaking to most of the party heads they never spoke to Nick Griffin or anyone from the BNP. How are we supposed to make informed choices if we can’t even discuss these issues?

The discussions that are going on are about how people could vote for the BNP. A protest vote? They just really hate Labour? What nobody seems to have suggested is that people actually like the BNP policies.

Maybe some people want safer streets. A stronger NHS. Less bureaucracy in the civil service. A cleaner environment. Maybe people like the fact the BNP are campaigning on local issues that actually mean something to people. Maybe people want a party that isn’t using our money to pay for duck islands or moat cleaning.

So rather than going off on one about how awful it is that the BNP got in and criticising everyone else for being such a weak opposition, I would like to congratulate the BNP on a hard earned success. If you don’t like it, go out and campaign for someone else.

I voted Labour, by the way.