Its actually very simple.
Our voting system is called first past the post (FPTP). It’s the worst voting system ever invented. No-one starting from scratch would choose it. No new democracy in the last 30 years has adopted it as its electoral system. There are no examples of a country moving to FPTP from another system. I discuss some of its key flaws here, but in short FPTP:
Radically fails to accurately represent the votes cast
Allows candidates to win their seat on a less than 1/3 of the vote. In extreme cases successful candidates can win with less than 20%.
Gives huge majorities to parties gaining far less than half of the countries votes
Decreases choice: it leads to a 2 party system, in which no other parties stand a chance
It regularly leads to ‘safe’ seats, in which one party wins every time,
It creates a situation in which every election is decided by a small minority of voters in ‘swing seats’
FPTP has been known to be wildly unfair for many years. The House of Commons voted to move to the alternative vote in 1917-18. It only didn’t happen because the Lords wanted STV ( a form of proportional representation). Ever since then its been kicked into the long grass. The main defenders of FPTP have been Labour and Conservative MPS in safe seats – the only people who benefit from this dreadful system.
Now, for the first time, we have a chance to reform the voting system. It’s a golden opportunity – if it fails there is likely to be no further electoral reform for decades. The reform we’re voting on is a moderate one. It won’t solve all the problems of the system. But it will make it better. Continue reading