It’s no secret that I’m a proponent of electoral reform, in particular I’d like to see the ridiculous FPTP voting system replaced with a more proportional system, such as STV. However, we’re stuck with FPTP for now and it occurred to me that the best way to show that we need a change is to see messy results in the UK 2015 General Election and, in particular, how stupid some of the outcomes can be.
With that in mind, I have drawn up a list of goals. These are outcomes I’d like to see which show up the bias, disproportionality and unfairness that FPTP brings. In short, the more messy and stupid the election results are, the worse it reflects on FPTP as a system.
GOAL 1: I want to see a hung parliament. It goes without saying that any single-party majority government must not happen. PROBABILITY: Most current polls and projections indicate that this is highly likely. BONUS GOAL: I want to see a really hung parliament, where no two parties can form majority coalition, such as we have with the current government. Projections suggest this is certainly quite possible.
GOAL 2: I want to see very obvious disproportionate results when considering the national share of votes and the national share of seats. For example, we expect to see Labour gain far more seats than its vote share should warrant, yet equally we expect UKIP and Greens to manage only a small handful of MPs between them despite sharing perhaps 20% of the vote. PROBABILITY: This is basically certain to occur, given that it’s a built-in failing of the FPTP system; BONUS GOAL: I want to see the election produce the ‘wrong’ winner, i.e. whichever party gets the most votes doesn’t get the most seats: probability of this is higher than at any other recent election and, if it happens, will likely manifest itself with Labour getting fewer votes than the Conservatives, but winning more seats; SUPER-BONUS GOAL: I want to see something really messy and stupid, for example: Firstly, Labour gets most seats, but fewer votes than the Conservatives; then Labour form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats where the Liberal Democrats have more seats but fewer votes than UKIP. Thus the teams that come 2nd and 4th in the popular vote form a governing coalition. Probability of that? Possibly quite slim, but it would provide a very anti-FPTP message. I am aware that this SUPER-BONUS GOAL is at odds with GOAL 1 ‘BONUS’ above!
GOAL 3: I want to see many examples of low percentage winners in individual constituencies, demonstrating how badly FPTP works at a local level as well as when considered nationally. PROBABILITY: There should be no shortage of examples of this kind.