Friday 28th October 2016                 Change text size:

#GE2015: share of votes, not seats, should confer a government’s #legitimacy

houses of parliament by soosalu via Flickr

No single-party government has achieved majority electorate support since 1945. The 1955 Conservative government secured less than 50% of the vote and 55% of the seats. The 2005 Labour government with 35% vote and 55% seats. No government should have ‘legitimacy’ unless it has majority support from the UK electorate. It’s time for radical change.

It gets a lot worse when you include the fifteen million who didn’t vote in 2010. The peak was the 1951 Conservative government who secured only 40% of the total electorate and 51% of the seats. The low point was the 2005 Labour government with only 22% of the electorate and 55% of the seats. Include the millions who weren’t registered and you can barely call the UK a democracy.

Surprising to many, will be the fact that the only government to command a majority of votes and seats was the 2010 Conservative/Lib Dem coalition. They secured 59% of the vote and 56% of the seats. Sadly, they only commanded 39% of the total electorate (35% didn’t vote), and ever less than those who could have voted if they were registered.

The situation is complicated with Scotland overwhelmingly backing the SNP. If the United Kingdom is to remain ‘united’, then whoever forms a government needs to respect the decision of the electorate of each of our constituent nations. Is it time for a Federal Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

We need radical reform to make our democracy be representative and accountable. We need a sustainable democracy. Here’s our mad ideas. What are yours?

Photo: soosalu via Flickr

Further reading:

#GE2015: Vote for Policies ‘exit poll’

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