Election 2015: The system has to change


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“I believe strongly in proportional representation. I believe there should be a direct relationship between the percentage of votes a party wins and the percentage of seats they win in whatever parliament the election is for”
Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP

“I am too young to vote in this election but when I can vote, I want it to count. I want to vote in 2020 without fear of ‘letting the other side in’ or ‘wasting my vote’. In the marginal constituency of North Cornwall, where I live, I am sick of being told that the candidate I support ‘can’t win here’. I don’t want to vote for a party I disagree with to keep out a party that I disagree with even more. I want to vote for a party that I believe in.”
Owen Winter, member of the UK Youth Parliament for North and East Cornwall quoted in:
An Open Letter to Anyone Who Didn’t Vote Tory

Though the dust seems to be settling and people seem less outraged the fact is our general election was a disaster for those of us who are poor or have the misfortune to be sick and disabled, unemployed or on low wages or zero hours.

I hope that none of us who are opposed to this vile government become complacent and accepting, though I fear this could happen.

I have more comments further down but if you do not have time please at least sign the following petitions and make note of upcoming protests for the coming weekend and the following week. Even if you cannot join in the protests please spread the word.

Petitions

Make UK elections more democratic with proportional representation

In the current UK system, anti-austerity party The Green Party got 3.8% of the votes and only one seat out of 650 in Parliament (0.15% of seats). In PR, they would have got the equivalent of 25 seats, giving them significantly more power in Parliament to represent voters’ views. They’d likely get even more because people would have no need to do ‘tactical voting’ — where people vote for a less preferred party because it has more chance of getting a seat in the current system.

Please read more and sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/726/346/684/PR/

Democratic Deficit

Many of us are still asking the question: what happened last week (May th) Opinion polls predicted a very different election result — but the reason the polls misjudged this so severely is because we have an electoral system that simply isn’t fit for purpose.

Please read more and sign the petition:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_electoral_reform_locrb/?bMsmGdb&v=58125

Reform our voting system to make it fair and representative

The First Past the Post system is broken and needs to be replaced. Politics is no longer a choice between two candidates, we need a system that proportionally represents the wide range of views that are now on offer.

Please support this petition for a fairer and more proportional voting system. Together we can force the agenda on electoral reform.

https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-reform-our-voting-system-to-make-it-fair-and-representative-makeseatsmatchvotes

Demonstrations and protests planned for the weekend and next week.

Please demonstrate peacefully –  “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”
Martin Luther King JR.

Saturday May 23rd PROTEST AGAINST AUSTERITY MANCHESTER

Piccadilly Gardens , M1 1RG Manchester, United Kingdom

“The planned protest for the 23rd of May in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester has been organised in response to the callous cuts which have taken place over the past five years of government, and are planned to continue over the next five years. These austerity measures are not unique to one party, and it seems that there is no way out for society’s most vulnerable. That is why we have decided to take action.”

For more details continue reading:
https://www.facebook.com/events/933043563412439/

Leamington Anti-Austerity Meeting – 23rd May

Midday Sat 23rd at the Coffee Box Cafe in Leamington.

Over the next five years we are facing £30 billion of cuts and austerity.

We need to support each other against the impact of the cuts and organise resistance to them on a long term, local basis.

Read More:
https://warwick4freeducation.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/local-anti-austerity-meeting/

Fight Austerity, Fight the Tories – March on the State Opening of Parliament:

The following Wednesday May 27th, the day of the state opening of parliament, anyone who can please attend the following protest organised by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

Trafalgar Square, WC2 London, United Kingdom

On Wednesday 27th May it will be the state opening of Parliament, where the Tories will officially form a Government.
They will do so with just 37% of the vote, and with the consent of 24% of eligible voters in the UK.

The new Government is going to try to: smash the welfare state by £12bn, privatise the NHS, raise tuition fees, decimate local services, make strike action illegal, scapegoat migrants, worsen the housing crisis and to crush all dissent that stands in their way.

May 27th Fight Austerity, Fight the Tories – March on the State Opening of Parliament:

More Details
https://www.facebook.com/events/1600237216914656/

More information

http://anticuts.com/
https://www.facebook.com/NCAFC

Leeds: 5pm: No to five more years of Austerity (organiser: Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs & Education)

Victoria Gardens
The Headrow, LS2 8 Leeds

“Protest in Leeds on the day of the opening of parliament / Queen’s speech where the Tories will announce the attacks they plan on carrying out over the next year.Assemble in Victoria Gardens, outside Leeds Art Gallery & Central Library.”
More details:
https://www.facebook.com/events/807414962676055/  – Don’t overlook the link to similar protests in your area:
http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=1210 

Protest against Tory cuts to be held in George Square
http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/thousands-to-attend-anti-austerity-rally-207250n.126428318

Please check the following link from time to time for details of protests in your locality

List of demonstrations, actions and meetings currently being organised:
http://anticuts.com/2015/05/12/fight-the-tory-government-actions-across-the-country/

I am at a loss to understand not to mention angry so angry concerning the outcome of the general election, how can people be so stupid as to re-elect this evil – yes not to strong a word – government who have made the lives of sick and disabled people and the unemployed a misery, to name just a few of the many sections of our society who have been subject to the detrimental policies of the Tories. Many people have died of starvation and committed suicide as a result of welfare reforms, many others are homeless, on low wages, zero hours and… lets not forget the threat to our NHS of privatisation which no one wants.  Yet despite all this people voted for them again!  Or did they? Well of course some people did but not the majority of us by any means.

Though the dust seems to be settling and people seem less outraged the fact is our general election was a disaster for those of us who are poor or have the misfortune to be sick and disabled, unemployed or on low wages or zero hours.

The fact, as many of us know, is that the majority did not vote Tory, the reality is that only 36.9% of the population who voted, voted conservative.

Voting system gives Tories a result most UK voters didn’t want
http://theconversation.com/voting-system-gives-tories-a-result-most-uk-voters-didnt-want-41595

As you will see by reading the above

Labor made bigger vote gains, but lost seats.

Here are a few facts about the election results that may surprise readers:

  • The Conservative Party increased its vote by 0.8%, but increased its number of seats by 28 seats.
  • The Labour Party increased its vote by a greater percentage than the Conservatives did, 1.5%, but its number of seats decreased by 24.
  • Most voters cast their votes for defeated candidates, so most are “represented” by an MP they did not support.
  • Some parties are over-represented in the House of Commons relative to their support among voters. So the governing Conservatives, with 36.9% support, have 50.9% of the seats, and the Scottish Nationalists, with 4.7% support, have 8.6% of the seats.
  • Other parties are grossly under-represented, most notably the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) with just one seat, yet 12.6% support.
  • The percentage swing to UKIP was the biggest for any party in the UK for at least a generation, but the 3,881,129 people who voted for them – the third-biggest vote after the Conservative and Labour parties – are almost all unrepresented in the House of Commons now.
  • Both the Labour and UKIP leaders resigned following their parties’ disappointing number of seats won, even though the votes for their parties significantly increased

With a representational voting system the outcome would have been very different

I have to say that I am concerned about the rise in UKIP voters this unsavory racist right-wing party are little better than fascists.  This is the only downside to representational voting as the number of seats won by UKIP would rise from just one to 38 seats, disconcerting to say the least. However the Greens would have gone from one seat to 24.  And the Tories would be 75 seats less though still have the largest party in the commons.

In the end though the Conservatives would still have the majority but not the power that they have now.

It appears to me that there are times when democracy does not work for social justice, equality and fairness. Just because the majority want something doesn’t make it right. For example most people would say yes to the return of capital punishment, a barbarity that was consigned to our history back in the sixties where it should remain. Might is not always right and neither is the consensus, even if there was a consensus.

The fact remains many people voted Tory for all sorts of reasons ranging from sheer stupidly, to self-interest. Many people voted UKIP because they fixated on immigration without thinking of the broader issues such as UKIPs intentions of privatising our NHS and replacing it with an insurances based service similar to the USA.

I would like to share the following article from the Mirror newspaper which is among the very few media outlets who support a left-wing policy and oppose the Tory government and their welfare reforms and the privatisation of the NHS

Charlotte Church ‘mad as hell’ as she joins anti-Tory protest rally in Cardiff:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/charlotte-church-mad-hell-joins-5668436
– Charlotte Church expresses many opinions similar to my own and to many people who were shocked by the election results.

Personally I rather think in addition to the obvious greed of the wealthy who voted Tory, ignorance and gullibility were among the factors people voted for the conservatives.

Reading the comments in the above Mirror article is nothing short of depressing. Ignorance it seems reigns supreme. To say the election was lost as a result of left-wing politics by labour is misguided to say the least.

If they’d actually listened to people, rather than prescribing the usual Socialist drivel they think we should have for our own good…
Readers Comment referring to Labour

I very much doubt that this person could give you an accurate description of socialism

The reality is that Labour did not lean far enough to the left. For example the majority of people, 68 percent would like to see the energy companies renationalised.

 

Support for nationalisation (1)

The promise of freezing energy bills was lame and didn’t really address the problem of huge energy bills which right now prior to any freeze are astronomical and for many unaffordable. The fact is Labour are now almost as right-wing as the conservatives.

Nationalise energy and rail companies, say public

“The majority of the British public – including the majority of Conservative voters – support nationalising the energy and rail companies”

Read More:
https://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/11/04/nationalise-energy-and-rail-companies-say-public/

Yet all Labour had to offer was a temporary price freeze to tariffs that are already too expensive for many people – not really socialism is it.

I have to ask myself why the hell the British people, disgruntled – and that is putting it mildly – with the right-wing political agendas of the coalition than go and vote for the Tories Rather like throwing more fuel on the fire.

I am extremely disturbed as I rather have the impression that few people really understand or even know about the polices of this right party or even understand the difference between left and right-wing, communism and socialism. The nick name for Ed Miliband, Red Ed, being an example of such ignorance. On the simplest level surely one has to ask how on earth can a millionaire be a socialist. It is also obvious that there is nothing very red/ socialist about the new Labour Party either, yet still people refer to them as socialist even communists as a form of disparagement, not only misunderstanding the difference between right and left politics and ideology but failing to see the disastrous and unfair political ideology of right-wing agendas which favour inequality and the benefits of the wealthy over those of the poor. People continue not to make the connection with the rise of right-wing influence and the dominance of capitalism as the root cause of the suffering and misery inflicted on most of us in varying degrees, other animals and the environment itself.

Sadly Socialism and communism have become dirty words for many people who really don’t have any understanding of these political ideologies. Communism is often confused with totalitarianism and or fascism and socialism is confused with communism often used synonymously.

Concerning Communism the Dalai Lama says the following

Incidently the Dalai Lama, respected by many as a man of peace regardless of religious affiliation or none, describes himself as a communist:

“as far as socio-political beliefs are concerned, I consider myself a Marxist … But not a Leninist,”
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2011/06/dalai-lama-china-marx-communism/1#.VVcr3PlVhBc

“Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned with only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes – that is the majority – as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair … The failure of the regime in the Soviet Union was, for me not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.”

The Dalai Lama
https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/102/spiritual-crisis-of-capitalism.html

Please sign the following petitions for electoral reform if you have not already done so.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/726/346/684/PR/

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_electoral_reform_locrb/?bMsmGdb&v=58125

https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-reform-our-voting-system-to-make-it-fair-and-representative-makeseatsmatchvotes

Related Links
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/alice-carder/an-open-letter-to-anyone-_3_b_7263766.html

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6 thoughts on “Election 2015: The system has to change

    • I agree, to all intents and purposes the election has been rigged, manipulated by the press and distorted by polls that made people apathetic. Many people are misinformed or ignorant of the true state of affairs here in the UK, as you say a similar situation exists in the USA. I cannot believe that if the majority really understood the true situation they would vote conservative either here or in the USA.

      • Part of the problem in the U.S. is that a growing segment of the population sees no significant difference between the two major political parties on crucial economic issues; and as a consequence, they are choosing not to vote. This is creating an electoral advantage for Republicans because the decline in voter turnout weighs more heavily on Democrats.

        Recently, I discovered a similar (declining) long-term voter turnout trend in the U.K. Despite a modest rebound up to 66% this year, it still represents a sharp 11-12% drop-off since the mid-1990s.

        Compared to the U.S., it’s still much higher. Parliamentary systems generally foster greater civic participation than two-party presidential systems where voter choices are severely restricted. However, the long-term trends seem to favor conservative candidates. Labour in the U.K. and the Democratic Party in the U.S. are both suffering from the effects of increasing dissatisfaction within their own ranks.

        • Very interesting what you’ve said about the USA. I think that the situation here is very similar, rather like the Republicans and the Democrats there is little to choose between the policies of the Tory and Labour parties though voting Labour was maybe the lesser of two evils, but either way little would change for the majority of people. So like the USA many people didn’t vote. I think many people didn’t know who to vote for, some voting Labour as a tactical vote, though they preferred to vote for another party, a strategy that as it turned out failed. There were several left wing parties that split the left vote further. Though with the threat to the NHS I expected more people would be swayed to vote Labour even if they did so for no other reason. I voted Labour but only as a tactical vote to stop the Tories wining though I preferred the polices of the Green Party, but under the present system this would have been a wasted vote. I regret this now as tactical voting simply to prevent a less desirable party winning will never change anything and continues the status quo.

          I think a growing number of people feel powerless and that their vote will make no difference.

          It is now very complicated and many people simply don’t bother as at the end of the day little changes for the better for the vast majority. Media biased propaganda influenced many who did vote and frankly many people’s lives are now so complicated for one reason or another that a significant number simply don’t have the inclination to bother. There are just so many reasons why there is a drop in the number of people who vote and also the number of people who join political parties.

          I agree there is most definitely a trend to wards favouring conservative candidates for reasons which to me are incomprehensible but which I tend to think are based on ignorance and misinformation.

          Something has to change for both our countries but change takes so long and in the meantime we all suffer.

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