Is the First Past The Post system democratic? Watch

ChampagneCharlie
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The LibLabCon really seem to like the First Past The Post system because it helps them to stay in power for ever.
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Rorystheman
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Completely agree they like it it means they control almost all seats without sharing with less established parties PR would be more democratic since the % of the vote a party gets is the % of mps it gets and that would take more away from liblabcon and hand more power to small parties which the establishment don't like
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gladders
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*ahem* the Liberal Democrats have been opposed to FPTP since at least the 1920s. Get your facts straight.

Labour has always expressed support for reform but have been found to be strangely uninterested when they have the ability to bring it about.

The Tories are the only party which openly and apologetically supports FPTP, even though it is a system that nowadays tends to hurt them.
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Genocidal
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At the local level FPTP is the most democratic system because the person with the most votes wins. It's only after that it gets complicated.

The thing with voting reform is it rears its head every so often. Only the minor parties really have any interest in it. But the general public by and large couldn't care less. It's like House of Lords reform. It's not really a big issue for people, and so nobody really pays it much attention.
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username1230881
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(Original post by ChampagneCharlie)
The LibLabCon really seem to like the First Past The Post system because it helps them to stay in power for ever.
The Lib Dems have been against FPTP for a long time - their current manifesto declares support for STV. I don't think they've expressed overt support for FPTP this century - and that's why they focused so much on the AV referendum.

And no, it isn't democratic. While in each constituency it's technically fair that the person with most votes wins, but on a national level it's awful - the two largest parties get far too many seats (and the winner may have less votes than the party that came second), and everyone else is vastly underrepresented. Even though it's fair-ish on a local level, the difference in votes between the winner and second place may be minimal, and safe seats (there's basically no point even voting in Whitney, Cameron's seat) are undoubtedly undemocratic - why should your location affect the quality of your vote?

Personally I support STV, which is proportional yet allows the voter to choose more than one candidate, and it leads to multiple representatives per constituency. I was hoping Labour would include it as a pledge, but unfortunately they want to keep it due to it benefiting them.
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RF_PineMarten
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I don't think it's the most democratic voting system we could have.

Protesting is kind of the whole point of being able to vote. But FPTP actively discourages protest voting by forcing a lot of voters to vote tactically to keep out the party they hate the most, rather than vote for a party they actually support. It also allows "safe seats" to exist, which allows parties to take their voters for granted sometimes.

Our system of government is a "representative democracy". Instead of direct democracy with voters voting on lots of individual laws with referendums, we vote for representatives to do that instead, and only have referendums on major issues. But how does representative democracy work when the voting system is very unrepresentative?

A PR system would be much fairer and would improve the quality of our democracy greatly. I'm just not sure which PR system would be the best (there are a few different types).
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mojojojo101
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(Original post by gladders)
*ahem* the Liberal Democrats have been opposed to FPTP since at least the 1920s. Get your facts straight.
That's a fair point but I do think its rather interesting they have barely.mentioned it in this election. I suspect its because they dont think they'd gain as much as they would have 5 years ago.


To be fair, all forms of representative democracy will struggle with just quite how democratic they really are. All of them are pretty much compromises between a direct democracy and what can be logistically achieved.
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HigherMinion
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FPTP is a far more democratic voting system. If everybody in the UK were the same and had the same priorities, it wouldn't matter, but no. You had industrialists in the North, farmers in East-Anglia and city folk dotted around. They all have different priorities and thrusting a powerless local minister with no vote is pointless. Telling a constituency, "right, here you go- you get a Green MP. We're just dolling these out randomly." it's not going to fly, is it?

What I would like to see is BBC reform more than electoral reform. I like our system, but the problem is how dominating and tribal the two main parties seem to be. That is the real problem. PR does not address this in an ethical way.
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MindTheGaps
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(Original post by HigherMinion)
FPTP is a far more democratic voting system. If everybody in the UK were the same and had the same priorities, it wouldn't matter, but no. You had industrialists in the North, farmers in East-Anglia and city folk dotted around. They all have different priorities and thrusting a powerless local minister with no vote is pointless. Telling a constituency, "right, here you go- you get a Green MP. We're just dolling these out randomly." it's not going to fly, is it?

What I would like to see is BBC reform more than electoral reform. I like our system, but the problem is how dominating and tribal the two main parties seem to be. That is the real problem. PR does not address this in an ethical way.
The LibDems and most of the smaller parties support Single Transferable Vote. You still vote for individuals in your constituency, but the constituencies are larger and send a few MPs to parliament, who may or may not be of different stripes.

Personally I think it's undeniable it would be a fairer, more democratic and more accountable system. And I say this as a Conservative voter, whose party would be hurt by it.
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HigherMinion
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(Original post by Rinsed)
The LibDems and most of the smaller parties support Single Transferable Vote. You still vote for individuals in your constituency, but the constituencies are larger and send a few MPs to parliament, who may or may not be of different stripes.

Personally I think it's undeniable it would be a fairer, more democratic and more accountable system. And I say this as a Conservative voter, whose party would be hurt by it.
Surely, the larger the constituency, the more diluted and less democratic/representative the vote will be? Why not give every village, or every large village at least, an MP of their own? Sticking to FPTP but even smaller constituencies would do the trick without destroying our system.
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MindTheGaps
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(Original post by HigherMinion)
Surely, the larger the constituency, the more diluted and less democratic/representative the vote will be? Why not give every village, or every large village at least, an MP of their own? Sticking to FPTP but even smaller constituencies would do the trick without destroying our system.
Oh good, more politicians! :rolleyes:

So, where I live, the Conservatives always get a clear majority. This annoys the 40% or so who don't vote that way, and even I sometimes wish my vote counted in a seat where the result wasn't a given.

With STV, you'd have a large constituency, taking over the areas of a few MPs, but the same number of MPs. Votes aren't diluted at all, most people's would have more weight. Everyone gets to vote in order of preference. If a candidate goes over or below a threshold, they get accepted or eliminated respectively and their excess votes get distributed proportionately by second/third/etc preference. My area might return a few Tories, a kipper and a LibDem, say. Everyone knows they're going to get seats, but how many???

There would be a big boost to accountability. If you don't think your MP is doing a good job for whatever reason, you can still vote for your party of choice without having to vote for them individually. You put your preferred people from x party first. You can't do that now, there are plenty of unpopular MPs who will never lose their seats in a million years, simply because of the colour of their rosette. If you like a candidate from a smaller party, but wouldn't give them your vote normally, maybe they'd get your third preference and maybe that would squeeze them through.

Basically, more choice is better.
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HigherMinion
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(Original post by Rinsed)
Oh good, more politicians! :rolleyes:

So, where I live, the Conservatives always get a clear majority. This annoys the 40% or so who don't vote that way, and even I sometimes wish my vote counted in a seat where the result wasn't a given.

With STV, you'd have a large constituency, taking over the areas of a few MPs, but the same number of MPs. Votes aren't diluted at all, most people's would have more weight. Everyone gets to vote in order of preference. If a candidate goes over or below a threshold, they get accepted or eliminated respectively and their excess votes get distributed proportionately by second/third/etc preference. My area might return a few Tories, a kipper and a LibDem, say. Everyone knows they're going to get seats, but how many???

There would be a big boost to accountability. If you don't think your MP is doing a good job for whatever reason, you can still vote for your party of choice without having to vote for them individually. You put your preferred people from x party first. You can't do that now, there are plenty of unpopular MPs who will never lose their seats in a million years, simply because of the colour of their rosette. If you like a candidate from a smaller party, but wouldn't give them your vote normally, maybe they'd get your third preference and maybe that would squeeze them through.

Basically, more choice is better.
Welp, you've convinced me. Accountability is always good. Still, I am always nervous with massive reforms like these- just look what women's suffrage did...
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gladders
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(Original post by mojojojo101)
That's a fair point but I do think its rather interesting they have barely.mentioned it in this election. I suspect its because they dont think they'd gain as much as they would have 5 years ago.
Actually, I think it's because they know it's a subject that bores people to death. It's idiosyncratic. Even with their abysmal present poll ratings, they would still benefit enormously from PR.
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Arbolus
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FPTP is fair enough when an MP is supposed to be a representative of the people of their constituency. If local voters decide that they would prefer one person rather than another to represent their interests in Parliament, then that's what should happen.

In reality though that hasn't been the case for over 200 years, since the beginning of party politics. With very few exceptions, an MP's priority is no longer what's in the interests of his constituency, it's what's in the interests of his party and of the country as a whole. The only say that local voters have is which party they least dislike. Since it's not likely that political parties are going to be abolished any time soon, it makes sense therefore that we end the whole charade and switch to letting the country as a whole decide which party it least dislikes, and then allocate seats that way.
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