Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

May 7, 2010 -

With the emergence of no clear party winner in yesterday’s UK elections, the country effectively has a hung parliament for the first time since 1974.

The unclear election results may have contributed to yesterday’s free-falling stock market, as results showed, via the BBC, that with most of the votes counted, the Conservatives scored 301 seats, Labour 255 and the Liberal Democrats 52, with the latter figure being termed a “disaster” by the AFP.

The Conservatives had needed 326 out of the 650 total seats in order to govern alone.

The BBC also reports that current Prime Minister Gordon Brown (pictured) is willing to discuss “how to proceed in government” with his opponents. Brown said about the election “What we have seen are no ordinary election results,” adding, “We find ourselves in a position unknown to this generation of political leaders.”

Meanwhile, GamesIndustry.biz reports that reformed (perhaps) anti-game MP Keith Vaz retained his seat, as did pro-gaming MP Tom Watson, along with MP’s Ed Vaizey, Don Foster and John Whittingdale.

Ewan Lamont, a game developer from Monumental Games running for MP in Nottingham East, failed in his bid to be elected, coming in third.

Watson took to Twitter a few hours ago to write, “Hung parliament is official. Now I hope those guys sort out the framework for an era of enduring, radical and digitally-enabled reform.”


Comments

Re: Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

Yeah, the Lib Dem figure is pretty embarassing. It goes to show what's wrong with the system: If you count the votes, person for person, it's split very evenly. And yet they have less than a fifth of the seats Labour has (with Labour being at record low levels of popularity right now). And people wonder why we're going on about election reform...

Also, despite most of the country being united over one particular aim (kick Gordon Brown the hell out), there's a good chance we may not have even been able to do that (depending on who can charm the Lib Dems first).

Re: Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

The problem is the fact that PR would also put some rather unpleasant people in power, if it was done purely on percentage of vote, then we'd have to squeeze in 2 BNP MP's because that's what their percentage entitles them to (Basically, 1/325th of the UK voted BNP, so that makes 2 seats out of 650). I'm all in favour of a more proportionally based system of voting, but there has to be some attention paid to how it's implemented to represent both local and country-wide feeling.

As noted, the Lib-Dem vote is not small, it's just spread out over a large area instead of polarised in certain areas, that's it's weakness, especially when coupled with an increasing attitude of 'if it's not Labour, it's Tory' in our voting. First thing we need is an independent body to define ward boundaries, rather than Government, that'd go a long way towards fixing the problem, since I come from a ward with 30,000+ voters, but there are wards with only about 20,000 voters, and that means my single vote is 'worth' less towards electing a candidate than residents in the less populous ward, which strikes me as wrong at a very basic level.

Re: Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

PR would also mean that we get this scenario every single time, there would always be a hung parliament. And quite frankly instead of the shift of power between Labour and Conservative, it would be Labour + Lib Dem or Conservative + Lib Dem (bascially Lib Dems just tag onto one party or the other).

Yes PR would also bring in the BNP too, but we have to be careful how we go about that issue. They would be democratically elected and it would be of a greater damage to democracy to block them in some way of becoming MPs, than the damage caused by them if they were to assume any sort of minor power (as in 2 seats from 650) MPs. The BNP is a tricky situation and quite frankly it's only happened because many voters feel neglected from the main parties (even traditional Labour supporters get called bigots from their leader), not because the voters are racist. People don't want the BNP, but you're going to get them with PR.

Quite frankly I support FPTP because it alleviates the two above problems, although it is unfair (but what system is actually fair?) due to vote distribution. I wouldn't be particularly happy with PR if I voted like the rest of the constituency for one party and got a completely different party representing me thanks to PR.

Long-winded and all, but I agree with Nick, sorry, GoodRobotUs.

Re: Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

Maybe for the UK or US, PR would be bad, but in the Netherlands, we're used to it. The House of Representatives has 150 seats, spread over 10 political parties (4 or 5 big ones, rest smaller), and a government usually consists of 3 or more political parties. A lot of compromise is involved, and the "extra", smallest party, which is brought in to get a majority, is often able to make some pretty tough demands.

Re: Lack of Mandate in UK Elections Causes Confusion

Hypothetical: two ballots on polling day. One for your local MP, who wins their local seat for local governance (whatever that may be) based on their constituent's votes, and a second for a party, who gets to be PM and choose the cabinet based on the national total.

Better/Worse/Neither?

/b

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