Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Graphs! Why Electoral Reform Is Needed (even if you don't think AV is the right step to take)

Close, isn't it, between the top three?  Pity their seats in Parliament don't reflect this:

It's no surprise really, that Nick Clegg sold out to the Tories in order to secure the smallest chance of some meagre electoral reform he once described as "a miserable little compromise".

The problem is that the Lib Dem supporters are spread fairly evenly over the country, as opposed to the Tories who you'll find more in rural areas, and Labour supporters concentrated in urban areas.  So the Lib Dems come second everywhere in our "First Past The Post" system.

It's even worse for the smaller parties who have some significant support, but not concentrated in any one location.  The Greens should have 6 or 7 seats by proportion of the vote.  They have just one, and they were extremely fortunate to get that.

So you get this sort of ratio between votes received and seats won in Parliament:

This is not a fair system.  You cannot honestly disagree with that.  You might argue that AV isn't the right change to make, and I'd agree it's not ideal.  It's not a big improvement.  But it's the only option we're being given, and it's an improvement, however small.  (You might disagree with that bit.)

If we don't make that change now, we'll be giving the main parties a mandate to claim that the public are happy with the way our elections are run.  And I certainly don't think you can agree with that claim.  Not on a voter turnout of 65.1% in one of our closest elections in years.

If you want all these bar charts in one handy image, you can find them here.  Data from the BBC website.


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