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Wings Over Scotland

You count for nothing

Posted on May 09, 2010 by

At least, it’s statistically probable that you do. The majority – 53% – of votes cast by the British electorate last Thursday were worthless, because they were cast for candidates who didn’t win, and are therefore simply thrown in the bin by the First Past The Post electoral system.

So if you were one of the thousands of people locked out of polling stations across the country on Thursday night, don’t fret too much. Your vote would probably have been completely ignored anyway.

It breaks down like this. (Some of the figures below kindly supplied by Luke on the Rllmuk forum.) These are figures for votes “wasted” on each party, ie cast for losing candidates and therefore discarded as worthless by the FPTP system. You won’t be too surprised who comes out on top.

Liberal Democrats – 5,596,089 (approximately 82% of all Lib Dem votes)
Labour – 3,600,427 (42%)
Conservative – 3,404,308 (34%)
UKIP – 917,832 (100%)
BNP – 563,743 (100%)
SNP – 403,024 (82%)
Green – 269,378 (94%)
PC – 129,651 (78%)
Sinn Fein – 69,652 (41%)
SDLP – 59,374 (54%)
DUP – 48,981 (29%)
Alliance – 29,923 (70%)
Others – 596,474 (100%)

Total – 15,689,216 (52.9% of total votes cast: 29,653,638)

So just under SIXTEEN MILLION people who made the effort to go out and exercise their democratic right to decide the government of their country would have been just as well staying at home watching EastEnders, because at the end of the day their votes were simply totally discounted.

This scandalous injustice happens because of a system which the Tories alone – a party supported by just 36% of voters, or 23% of all eligible adults – desperately want to keep in place. (To be fair, Labour’s support for a fairer proportional system is the ultimate in last-minute deathbed conversions.)

Whether your vote is one of the ones that counts or one of the ones that doesn’t is pure chance. If you live on the wrong side of a totally arbitrary geographical line, frequently redrawn by whoever’s in power to their own advantage, you might as well set your polling card on fire as soon as it arrives. If you’re on the right side, you basically get two votes.

To be honest, there’s not much I can add to that.

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8 to “You count for nothing”

  1. AJ

    Nearly 16 million people who end up with no voice for those five years (and each time it happens again and again). Ridiculous. Tragic, almost.

  2. gnuerrilla

    The single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies, is the way forward. Remember though, "politics isn't just about one cross ever five years, it's about much more than that."
    Be prepared for the coming fight.

  3. Tom Camfield

    Protest march with Take Back Parliament (the peeps in purple chanting at Cleggers over the weekend) 15th May, 2pm, Parliament Square. Add your body to the protests! The more protests we stage, the more the Conservative commentators (Liam Fox etc) look silly saying that no-one wants reform. Be there!
    To sign up:

  4. gnuerrilla

    According to the government’s own legislation, the result of a trade union ballot on strike action is only deemed legal and valid if the result in favour reaches a total of 50% + 1 out of the total number that voted.
    In the 6th May general election the Conservatives achieved a vote of 36% from the electorate, Labour reached 29% and the Lib-Dems 23%. Applying the same regulations to this general election as they do to trade union ballots would mean the result of this election is invalid.  
    Yet we find that the leadership of these parties are now busy conducting behind the scenes deals in order that some form of government will quickly emerge. And the phrase that all these leaders are using is that this is being done ‘in the national interest’. 
    Tory leader Cameron stated: “No government will be in the national interest unless it deals with the biggest threat to our national interest, and that is the deficit. We remain completely convinced that starting to deal with the deficit this year is essential.”
    He added: “Britain needs strong, stable, decisive government and it is in the national interest that we get that on a secure basis. We need a government that reassures the international markets.”
    Media darling Nick Clegg said “It is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest.”
    Gordon Brown, displaying no principles whatsoever commented: “For my part, I should make clear that I would be willing to see any of the party leaders if it is in the national interest to do so.”
    That they can find common ground is not a surprise, since all these parties represent the same ruling elite and in essence all believe that the working class has to pay for the current economic crisis. Moreover, when they talk about the ‘national interest’ they reveal themselves as political fraudsters.

    All these parties have supported the destruction of Britain’s manufacturing base and the privatisation of its energy industries, resulting in the energy needs of the people of Britain being at the mercy of imports from the most unstable regions on earth. This is not in the interest of the 60 million inhabitants of Britain but on the contrary is tantamount to treason.
    Furthermore, the term ‘national interest’ is used by these political scoundrels to conceal the fact that society is in reality made up of opposing classes, each with their own distinct interests, and the government act in the interests of only one class, the ruling class.
    How can the interests of big business, whose function is to extract the maximum amount of surplus value from its labour force, be the same interests as their workers who have to fight to protect their working conditions and standards of living?
    How can the investment bankers at RBS who were recently paid bonuses of £1.3 billion, be equated to the workers struggling to put food on the table for their families?
    How can the interests of workers and youth trying to combat growing debt, unemployment and housing problems be the same as Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, who is the richest property developer in Britain, with an estimated wealth of £6.75billion and owning vast estates in Lancashire, Cheshire and Scotland as well as internationally owning estates in Canada and Spain?  
    Whatever form of government is eventually cobbled together, the term ‘national interest’ will be used as a cover behind which they intend to launch savage attacks on the social conditions of the working class.

  5. gnuerrilla

    That's why the fight is ongoing and never-ending.

  6. Irish Al

    UK Election Coalition Permutations 2010
    Via a clever man and software.

  7. dobler

    Can someone explain how first past the post works? It confuses me how the Conservatives can only get 36% of the total votes yet have more seats.

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