16 April 2010 (Friday) - Little Bit of Politics...

One of the girls at work collected her cat from the vet’s last night. A week ago the thing had staggered (literally) home, having broken its leg somehow. After surgery and a week in cat-hospital, the moggie was ready for collection. The bill - £1,700. I would suggest that any of my loyal readers with pets seriously consider pet insurance.

Last Saturday I mentioned that I had the cooked breakfast at work. Today one of my colleagues was boasting that he’d just had the breakfast. That gave me the taste for it, and so I had some. And I spent the day wishing I hadn’t. I’ve had guts ache ever since. Being in a bad mood, I phoned Toys R Us and complained about the headache that I got from the noise in their store last night. The girl on the phone listened politely to my rant, but clearly couldn’t care less.

And then home to assemble the new bike. It seems to be together properly, but in the absence of any instructions I’m left hoping I did it properly. It all seems OK, but the acid test will be tomorrow when the thing is ridden in anger for the first time.

I see the whole world watched the big political debate last night. I didn’t. Despite having applied for a postal vote, I am fast coming to the conclusion that there is little point in my voting at the upcoming general election. For all the hot air the party leaders spouted last night, we don’t get to vote for them. Having done a little research, I can’t believe how sucky the UK electoral system is.

There is not “a” general election. There are 650 elections for local MPs, and it is then a count-up of MPs which determines which party forms a government.

But it’s not as simple as that. These 650 mini- elections don’t all have an equal number of voters. And in each election, all that any MP has to do to win is to get more votes than anyone else. Which means that given that Party A wins in one town with a majority of two votes, and Party A also wins in another town with a majority of three, then they have two MPs. Party B might win somewhere else and so would have one MP. However the fact that Party B might have won their one seat with a majority of fifty thousand is irrelevant. It’s quite possible (and actually happens) that Party B has more votes, but actually has less MPs than Party A.

A “first past the post system” makes no allowances for the amount of votes cast for the losing parties, which is why I am seriously considering not voting. At the last election my current MP got more votes than all the other candidates put together. It’s going to need over a quarter of the local voters to change their minds to unseat the chap, and he’s the only one for whom I’ve seen any election posters.

I’ve heard it said that by voting for those who are clearly going to lose, I could send a message to the floating voters, but I don’t see that somehow. How many people even bother to vote, let alone show an interest in the mathematics of election?

And as a P.S. to all this, if you feel your vote isn’t quite the wonderful thing you once thought it was, spare a thought for the voters in Buckingham. Their current MP is the Speaker of the House of Commons, and it is a tradition that whoever is Speaker stands for election unopposed by any candidates from the other main political parties…

1 comment:

  1. Since the courts decided that Election Menefestos have no legal standing, I see no point in voting, as there is no method of judging what what you a voting, and no way other than waiting until the next election of holding MP to account by which time it is too late.

    Having said I see no pointin voting, I am in favour of first past the post election at least there is some semblance if a connection between the political classes and the rest of us and we do get the occasional independantly minded politicians. With proportional representation, there is a total disconect and the leaders of the parties get to choose form a list mindless clones in descending 'kiss up' order.