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DOES OUR VOTING SYSTEM NEED UPDATING?

Updated: Jun 28


All Socials: @MrPaulHolton

News Blog Article by: Mr. Paul Holton


For my entire life, our political voting system has stayed the same, with the two main political parties overall always having the majority, meaning other parties struggle to gain seats compared to voters' intentions and actual votes. However many UK voters feel like not voting because they feel their votes won't count and will be disregarded. But the main parties do not want change or reform of the way we vote, mainly because they would lose power.



When comparing the CURRENT SYSTEM of First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and a newer system, which is gaining support for nationally which is: Proportional Representation (PR) in the context of UK elections, it's important to understand how each system works and the advantages and disadvantages they offer.



First-Past-The-Post (FPTP)


How It Works:

  • The UK is divided into constituencies, each electing one Member of Parliament (MP).

  • Voters in each constituency cast their vote for their preferred candidate.

  • The candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins the seat.


Advantages:

  1. Simplicity: FPTP is straightforward and easy to understand for voters.

  2. Strong and Stable Governments: Typically, FPTP leads to majority governments, which can govern without relying on coalitions.

  3. Clear Local Representation: Each constituency has a single MP who represents them, making it clear who to approach with local issues.

  4. Deters Extremist Parties: Because smaller parties find it harder to win seats, it can limit the influence of extremist groups.


Disadvantages:

  1. Disproportionate Representation: Parties can win a significant share of the national vote but receive far fewer seats, or vice versa.

  2. Wasted Votes: Votes for losing candidates, and votes for winning candidates beyond what is needed to win, do not contribute to the outcome, leading to many wasted votes.

  3. Safe Seats: Some constituencies are so heavily inclined towards one party that the outcome is almost certain, reducing voter motivation.

  4. Minority Rule: A party can form a government with less than a majority of the national vote, leading to questions about its mandate.


Proportional Representation (PR)


How It Works:

  • There are several forms of PR, but the principle is to allocate seats in proportion to the number of votes each party receives.

  • Common methods include party list systems, where voters select a party and seats are distributed according to the percentage of the vote each party gets, and Single Transferable Vote (STV), where voters rank candidates in order of preference.


Advantages:

  1. Fair Representation: PR ensures that parties receive seats in proportion to their share of the vote, reflecting the electorate's preferences more accurately.

  2. Fewer Wasted Votes: More votes contribute to the outcome, as even smaller parties can gain representation.

  3. Encourages Broader Participation: Voters are more likely to feel their vote matters, potentially increasing voter turnout and engagement.

  4. Coalition Governments: PR often leads to coalition governments, which can encourage more consensus-based politics.


Disadvantages:

  1. Complexity: PR systems can be more complex for voters to understand and for authorities to administer.

  2. Coalition Instability: Coalitions can lead to unstable governments if parties have significant disagreements, resulting in frequent elections or policy gridlock.

  3. Fragmented Representation: With many parties represented, it can be harder for voters to identify a clear representative for their local area.

  4. Rise of Extremist Parties: Smaller parties, including extremist ones, can gain representation more easily, potentially influencing policy disproportionately.


Conclusion

The choice between FPTP and PR depends on what values are prioritized. FPTP is favored for its simplicity, clear local representation, and the ability to produce strong, stable governments. However, it often leads to disproportionate outcomes and wasted votes. PR, on the other hand, offers fairer representation and can enhance voter engagement but may result in coalition governments and more complex electoral processes.

In the UK context, the debate continues, with some advocating for PR to better reflect the diverse political landscape and others supporting FPTP for its tradition and straightforward nature.




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EAST THANET CONSTITUENCY

East Thanet Boundary Commission Map


East Thanet Constituency covers wards including:

Beacon Road, Bradstowe, Central Harbour, Cliffsend and Pegwell, Cliftonville East, Cliftonville West, Dane Valley, Eastcliff, Kingsgate, Margate Central, Nethercourt, Newington, Northwood, St. Peters, Salmestone, Sir Moses Montefiore, Viking.




 

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Regards


Mr. Paul Holton


Independent Candidate for MP (Member of Parliament)

East Thanet Constituency

All Socials: @MrPaulHolton

 




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