Browse By

Glorious? Sublime? Magnificent! The best voting system of all!

As we enter 2017, I feel somewhat excited about the political journey ahead.

However, it is time to set the record straight about the main voting system in the UK: First Past the Post – the most glorious, sublime and magnificent voting system of all! My patience has frayed with the repeated articulation that First Past the Post is a corrupt and failed system, it is not. Especially when we consider the alternatives available one realises its superior qualities.

The most reassuring aspect of First Past the Post is the connection between the lowly voter and the MPs. First Past the Post allows one’s mind to be active and engage in politics properly, one can pick up a pen and piece of parchment and immediately write to our MP to raise concern, send praise or moan about parking spaces. No other system boasts such a delight to the same extent as First Past the Post.

There is need for concern over the levels of political participation in the UK, but it would be foolish to say that First Past the Post deters people from voting. First Past the Post is the simplest way to vote and it is accessible and understandable to all. Beyond this, it delivers a felicitous result. In our ever evolving and globalised world, waiting indefinitely for a result of an election is impractical and ludicrous. Within just a couple of hours, First Past the Post creates a government which is ready to serve. The alternative? A slow, decaying and hapless mess. Under the Party List system it took Spain over a month just to select their speaker Patxi Lopez following the general election. Even then, Lopez lasted less than 6 months! The UK cannot afford to experiment with government and First Past the Post ensures the stability of the UK remains constant and strong.

But, oh no! First Past the Post creates a two-party system. Therefore if I were to vote for UKIP it would count for very little! Let’s get out my pin-sized violin and play a sorry lament. Sorry, but I’m not empathetic! Quite the opposite, I am exuberant about this benefit. First Past the Post stops the impact of the ever pathetic protest vote. “Oh I don’t like the EU… there are too many foreigners, I’ll vote for UKIP rather than the Conservatives because they will deal with my issue” and likewise: “I’m voting Green because I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn.”

The First Past the Post system quashes such voters and avoids extremism in Westminster – surely this is a superb benefit of the system? First Past the Post at 2015 stopped UKIP gaining the 80+ seats and the Greens gaining the 25+ they would have under Party List. At this point you may claim from your glass house: “Isn’t that very undemocratic of you?” Well, yes. But let’s not get hung up on democracy, for people only truly like democracy when it goes their own way. Days after the Conservatives were elected in 2015, protest marches. Days after the EU referendum, protest marches. Donald Trump elected, protest marches. If you are not willing to accept the results of elections and/or referenda then I ask you: is that not decidedly undemocratic?

First Past the Post is a truly wonderful system and replacing it would not only be unnecessary but a tyranny. Turnout during the referendum concerning the Alternative Vote system in 2011 sets in stone the merits of First Past the Post. Just 41% turned out and they overwhelmingly rejected the change of voting system. Turnout below 50% indicates beyond all reasonable doubt that changing the electoral system of the UK is not important to the British public. Furthermore, it suggests and ingrains the articulation that First Past the Post fits the requirements of the UK and no change is needed. Hopefully now, once and for all, this debate can be put to rest. The UK needs to concentrate on the more pressing issues of 2017 and beyond.