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28 April 2010

UK GENERAL ELECTION & the VOTING SYSTEM

Click photo to enlarge

Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg (left), Conservative David Cameron (centre), Labour's Gordon Brown (right), debating on TV, an event that transformed this election from plain boring into mildly exciting.

The most significant aspect of this first-ever national TV debate between Party Leaders is that it has propelled the Liberal Democrats to the forefront of the national consciousness. Because the vagaries of the British "first-past-the-post" electoral system have tended to give the Liberal Democrats only 60 or so Parliamentary seats on the back of 25-30% of the popular vote, they have hitherto been given less prominence in media coverage.

The new national TV debates have changed all that with Nick Clegg being given equal prominence to the other two Party Leaders, a prominence that has done him no harm at all!

Conservative and Labour votes tend to be concentrated in certain constituencies, whereas Liberal Democrat support is more widely distributed, resulting in their failing to succeed in the same way. Even though they are now riding high in the opinion polls, pretty much on equal footing with Conservatives and Labour, projecting the polls into actual seat gains on May 6th indicate perhaps a hundred or so seats (in a 630-seat Parliament).

Ironically, Nick Clegg's rise and rise has led to the other two Parties making the following statements ..

Voting Liberal Democrat will let Labour in.

Voting Liberal Democrat will let the Conservatives in.

If this doesn't expose the ludicrous nature of our electoral system I don't know what does!

Here's a radical thought: what about having a system whereby voting Liberal Democrat lets in the Liberal Democrats?

I know, too silly for words.
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