Is our voting system flawed?

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Poll: Fair?
Yes, it dosen't need change (2)
8.33%
No, it does need change (19)
79.17%
What's the point, the system is forever corrupt (3)
12.5%
FinPOB
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#1
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#1
The SNP got 4.7% of the vote but 56 seats. UKIP got 12.6% of the vote but only 1 seat. Surely (even though I despise UKIP as party) they should have gotten more MPs. As far as I am concerned this is the biggest problem facing British politics today. Is the current system fair?
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whorace
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#2
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Of course it is. Name the last time a party other than Labour or the Conservatives were in power? (Excluding the Liberal Democrats) I mean a majority.
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RF_PineMarten
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#3
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(Original post by FinPOB)
The SNP got 4.7% of the vote but 56 seats. UKIP got 12.6% of the vote but only 1 seat. Surely (even though I despise UKIP as party) they should have gotten more MPs. As far as I am concerned this is the biggest problem facing British politics today. Is the current system fair?
I'd say it is flawed. First past the post stops smaller parties from getting any seats at all unless their support is geographically concentrated. FPTP encourages tactical voting and discourages protest voting, and the result of FPTP elections is often hideously unrepresentative of the overall vote share.

Another Angry Voice has a good blog post about this.
http://www.anotherangryvoice.blogspo...votes-now.html
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FinPOB
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So then if it is unfair what would we change it to? Proportional representation? The german weimar republic (gcse history) used that system and it led to unstable coalitions in government which helped fuel extremism which led to the rise in the popularity of the Nazi party. And we all know what happened next.
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ageshallnot
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#5
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#5
All voting systems have flaws.
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FinPOB
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#6
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#6
(Original post by ageshallnot)
All voting systems have flaws.
Almost everything in life has flaws, but it's about which system has the least flaws
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Swanbow
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(Original post by FinPOB)
So then if it is unfair what would we change it to? Proportional representation? The german weimar republic (gcse history) used that system and it led to unstable coalitions in government which helped fuel extremism which led to the rise in the popularity of the Nazi party. And we all know what happened next.
And the current German Bundestag has a mixed member proportional system that works incredibly well. It does lead to more coalitions, but they are stable and politics in Germany is a lot more grown up, with all sides trying to find common ground and working together, rather than playing punch and judy politics and relying on a flawed electoral system to give them an unwarranted majority.

Nothing in the current system stopping extremist from getting into power if they focus regionally. An argument against PR on the basis that extremist could get into power is scare-mongering.
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Pop_tart
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#8
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#8
The UK system is not representive of the actual votes :/
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ageshallnot
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#9
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(Original post by FinPOB)
Almost everything in life has flaws, but it's about which system has the least flaws
Certainly not arguing with you...
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Josh93
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#10
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#10
(Original post by FinPOB)
The SNP got 4.7% of the vote but 56 seats. UKIP got 12.6% of the vote but only 1 seat. Surely (even though I despise UKIP as party) they should have gotten more MPs. As far as I am concerned this is the biggest problem facing British politics today. Is the current system fair?
Alternative vote would be better, in my personal opinion - but I do feel that there is an element of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'; for all it's flaws FTP has consistently produced stable, effective governments. The prospect of either UKIP or the Greens having a controlling stake in government scares the hell out of me.

Posted from TSR Mobile
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jammy4041
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(Original post by FinPOB)
So then if it is unfair what would we change it to? Proportional representation? The german weimar republic (gcse history) used that system and it led to unstable coalitions in government which helped fuel extremism which led to the rise in the popularity of the Nazi party. And we all know what happened next.
Proportional representation wasn't the issue in the Weimar Republic, it was Article 48, and the amount of power that was concentrated in the president that was the issue.

My solution would be to have the same number of MPs, with boundaries decided independently -- not by the majority party. You would then have multiple MPs representing bigger constituencies, awarded on a more proportional basis to the amount of votes received, with a single transferable vote being applied, something more in keeping with the European parliament elections.

I guess that there would be a FPTP element still built in, with a party needing a majority of seats in parliament, but it should better represent the interests of the party that finishes second, third and fourth in each area of representation.
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Soldieroffortune
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#12
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Maybe im just a little cynical but who gives a rats ass, these parties are all the same now... we're on par with the yanks for a state with no real difference between the parties.
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FinPOB
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#13
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(warning wall of opinionated text)
(Original post by jammy4041)
Proportional representation wasn't the issue in the Weimar Republic, it was Article 48, and the amount of power that was concentrated in the president that was the issue.
Fair point and I agree. Without article 48 Hitler would have had less power once elected in. Though to get in to power proportional representation helped him significantly. During 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years. This led to economic uncertainty due to constant government change and very few significant laws were passed due to the required support of a huge amount of parties to get a majority which in many cases, was virtually impossible. This led to disillusionment and perceived weakness of the government which fuelled support for extreme nationalism. While there were of course many other factors that led to Hitler's election, I believe proportional representation was a key one.
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jammy4041
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(Original post by FinPOB)
(warning wall of opinionated text)

Fair point and I agree. Without article 48 Hitler would have had less power once elected in. Though to get in to power proportional representation helped him significantly. During 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years. This led to economic uncertainty due to constant government change and very few significant laws were passed due to the required support of a huge amount of parties to get a majority which in many cases, was virtually impossible. This led to disillusionment and perceived weakness of the government which fuelled support for extreme nationalism. While there were of course many other factors that led to Hitler's election, I believe proportional representation was a key one.
Fair enough. But here's where the comparison is slightly less apt: in the UK, there are now five year fixed terms, and that parliamentary elections cannot be called on a whim.

But then again, I feel that the system I proposed should be conducive to creating a workable government. UKIP, the Lib Dems and the Green Party would hold the balance of power to create a workable majority. The left coalition would be Labour, the SNP, Plaid, and the Greens. The right coalition would be the Conservatives and UKIP, and I would suggest that the Lib Dems would be the kingmaker of the center.

I've always said that good government needs compromise, and that's what would have to happen with the more proportional system. There would still be an element of first past the post built in since it depends on regions, but allowing a more representative system, in that second place votes (could be of same parties, I guess), third place votes etc. would all then count.
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FinPOB
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#15
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#15
(Original post by jammy4041)
Fair enough. But here's where the comparison is slightly less apt: in the UK, there are now five year fixed terms, and that parliamentary elections cannot be called on a whim.
Technically after an election if no party cannot command the confidence of parliament (get a 50% vote for power within the house of commons) then a re-count or re-vote can happen but yeah I agree with you cos that is pretty rare. Though it still doesn't stop a party being elected in with no enough power to pass any laws. Just look how great american politics is doing since an opposition congress was voted in.
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Asolare
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#16
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#16
Definitely, but I doubt it'll change.

The party in power (who got there via FPTP) will never agree to sacrificing their own votes.
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DiggingLake
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#17
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I just thought I should point out that the poll is a bit misleading. The thread is titled "Is our voting system flawed?" and yet the poll is for the question 'Is our voting system fair?'. While it is still possible to work this out, it certainly caused me some initial confusion and I suspect there are others who were thrown by it too. In terms of whether our voting system is flawed, I think my opinion can be summed up as if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Our political system doesn't claim to deal well with national parties; the reason UKIP did so much worse than the SNP despite their greater vote share is because our political system is based on local candidates and local issues. But our political system has been reasonably stable for centuries, unlike places like France where the country historically kept falling into disarray. It also lacks the problems of the USA, where a combination of voting on local issues and voting on national issues (for Congress and President respectivally) consistently leaves them with a legislature hostile to the executive and results in events such as the government shutdown due to political deadlock.
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RF_PineMarten
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#18
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(Original post by FinPOB)
So then if it is unfair what would we change it to? Proportional representation? The german weimar republic (gcse history) used that system and it led to unstable coalitions in government which helped fuel extremism which led to the rise in the popularity of the Nazi party. And we all know what happened next.
The Nazi party would have got the same level of power through a FPTP system because of their level of support (and I don't think they ever got a majority). The voting system would have made little difference.

Look at the BNP as a more recent example. In the 2009 European elections (proportional voting system) they won just 2 seats out of 70-something. And the next election they were wiped out. The voting system does not give power to extremists, an electorate which supports those extremists does, because even under PR those parties need to get support to be able to win seats. The British public overwhelmingly rejects fascism, which is the real reason why the BNP never got any real power, not the voting system.

And let's be clear - "extremists" does not mean alternative/protest parties like the Greens, but to racists/fascists like the BNP.
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GnomeMage
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#19
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#19
(Original post by FinPOB)
The SNP got 4.7% of the vote but 56 seats. UKIP got 12.6% of the vote but only 1 seat. Surely (even though I despise UKIP as party) they should have gotten more MPs. As far as I am concerned this is the biggest problem facing British politics today. Is the current system fair?
Is absolutely not flawed. The system designed is to keep nazi right wing party like UKIP out of power. If a majority vote gives parties power, people would just bow down to populism and it will end up as tyranny of the majority. Because parties do not need to design a policy that fits everyone or at least try design a policy that can be accepted partially by everyone, they just focus on one area that has high population. Which will be dangerous because ignoring other areas will cause them to want to secede from the country, which is precisely what UKIP did and how they ended up.
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Te346
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#20
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#20
Forgive my impudence for the on going discussion for a moment - I thought i'd just throw this one in to the pot: reading the parpers, and the posts on here, there are obviously many who are convinced that the voting system is flawed. So for them, I ask: to what extent do you feel it's the case of the voice of the rich being louder than the voice of the poor? Are the votes of the richest postcodes prioritised over that of the poor and in this way is the democracy that the voting system supposedly represents being drowned by a plutocratic flooding of the peoples voice.

How much privatization or selling of 'shares' in decision-making to private buyers by representetives, in exchange for wealth can the public sector hold before it becomes a characteristic of capitalism before it does a democracry?
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