Killing off the Myths and Lies 1 – I have a vote, therefore I live in a democracy
The overwhelming majority of British people believe that they live in a democracy. They believe this because they have a vote. Sadly, they do not in fact live in a democracy. The United Kingdom is a Constitutional Monarchy, not a democracy. Indeed, it has never been a democracy. In Robert Mugabe’s early Zimbabwe, everyone had a vote, but there was only one party to vote for in a de-facto one-party state. Shortly before President George W. Bush made his decision to invade Iraq, there was a Presidential election there in 2002. Everyone had a vote, but there was only one candidate, and Saddam Hussein secured a handsome majority of 100%.
Killing off the Myths and Lies 2 – First Past the Post may not be perfect, but it is fair overall
Is it? Let us look at the remarkable results of the General Election of 2015. A government was returned with a working majority in the House of Commons having received 11.3 million votes. Yet 18 million people voted against them. When we sum the votes received by the political parties and divide by the number of MP’s they now have, we see a farcical landscape that our democratic European partners are all too aware of. To elect a Conservative MP required 34,244 votes. To elect a Lib-Dem MP required 301,986 votes. To elect an SNP MP required just 25,972 votes. To elect a Labour MP required 40,290 votes. To elect a Green MP required 1,157,613 votes. Yet our system goes beyond even farce, when we see that it required 3,881,129 votes to elect a UKIP MP.
Killing off the Myths and Lies 3 – First Past the Post gives us strong governments
Does it? Is it not just the case that many people simply repeat what someone else repeated because they thought it a sound rationale so they kept on saying it? That proportional representation would bring weak coalition government? It was Lenin who said that the lie told often enough becomes the truth. Strange then, that in times of national crisis and external threats to the integrity and survival of our country in the twentieth century that national coalition governments were formed (two world wars, the gold standard). It was a “strong government” that invaded Iraq. Would a coalition government have done so? It seems unlikely.
Killing off the Myths and Lies 4 – First Past the Post gives us decisive outcomes
Does it? In the General Election of 1992, in the constituency of Inverness, Nairn, and Lochaber, the winning candidate Sir Russell Johnston received 13,258 votes. The second-placed candidate received 12,800 votes. The third-placed candidate received 12,562 votes. The fourth-placed candidate received 11,517 votes. The fifth-placed candidate received 766 votes. Lined up against Sir Russell Johnston’s 13,258 votes were 37,645 electors where the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature for this constituency was clearly not Sir Russell Johnston. Yet still he was “the candidate to whom the majority of votes has been given”. Thus, a perverse system also becomes a farcical system, and questions must surely reasonably be asked about the operation of the statute which supports such a system. The Labour-Conservative duopoly and their self-interested salesmen politicians preserve, protect, and defend this offensive system.
Killing off the Myths and Lies 5 – And so to the Truth
The truth is that representative government is democratic government, where a political party winning thirteen percent of the popular vote in a general election gets thirteen percent of MPs in the House of Commons. First Past the Post is clearly wrong, and has permitted the Labour-Conservative duopoly to invade Iraq, bring the United Kingdom to the verge of bankruptcy, and preside unashamedly over outrageous levels of child malnourishment due to poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. Yet still bankers pay themselves millions and still our financial sector is characterised by sharp practice and fraud but no-one goes to jail. Nothing will change – until the British people are convinced that the present system is perverse and an affront to their sense of justice. The biggest challenge facing us is not in maintaining the status of a cleaned-up City of London, or the control of immigration, or maintaining a vibrant services sector, or funding the National Health Service or a strong military or protecting our citizens against murderous madmen. It is doing all of those things with concrete democratic foundations, as distinct from foundations laid down on the shifting sands of a perverse and offensive status quo that may well bring our country to its knees. The people of the land of Magna Carta deserve better.