Mar 282010

One of the tedious things about the UK election system is that we do not know when the election is coming, so before the date of the election is known we have a kind of “phoney election” where the politicians all go head to head being even more critical with each other than they usually are. And of course generating even more hot air than usual.

And then the election gets announced and all the tediousness goes into overdrive.

What for ?

Because of the election system in the UK, there are only a handful of seats (the “marginals”) where the result makes a bit of difference. If like most people you live in a parliamentary seat which is to a greater or lesser degree “safe”, your vote is effectively pointless and all the politicians making noise in your face about how bad the other politicians are, are just wasting of your time.

It seems that there are just 60 seats that are marginal enough to make a difference – 60 out of 646, roughly 9%. So only 9% of the population have a vote that counts! At least if we all vote more or less the way we usually do. Basically the political establishment counts on the majority of us acting like sheep.

The funny thing is that if politicians were honest and actually admitted that the voters in “safe” seats didn’t count, the normally safe seats would be up for grabs. So our electoral system accidentally rewards dishonesty! Kind of puts the expenses scandals into a new light doesn’t it ?

Of course even if you are one of the lucky few living in one of the 60 marginals, the election process takes far too long – who needs many weeks in order to make up their minds ? Most of us already know who we would vote for in the next election, so delaying it just allows the politicians to puff up their feathers.

Just remember we can always ignore the “big three” (Labour, Conservative, ad Liberal) and go for the independents and we might have a chance of getting some proper electoral reform rather than just a bit of tinkering around the edges.

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