Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UK Election Calculator

The BBC has an election seat calculator for the upcoming UK elections:

uk election calculator

I will say this: UK electoral democracy appears to be pretty messed up. Like, US-caliber mess up. I say this because as you can see, I've set the calculator so that the 3 majorest parties all get just about the same percentage of the vote (a third each, if you want to check my math). Yet look at the seat distribution that results from that popular vote outcome:



See? Messed up. Everyone gets the same number of votes but the Tories and Lib Dems combined don't have as many seats as Labour. W, if I may say, TF? I assume this is a function of the Lib Dem vote being highly concentrated in ethnic areas? And the conservative vote being somewhat concentrated in rural areas? But I'm sort of projecting from the American political scene, so that may be way off base.

At any rate, the BBC's "poll of polls" currecntly shows the Conservatives with a slight lead: 33% to 29% for each of the other two parties. That would result in 285 votes fo Labour to 244 for the conservatives, and a whopping 92 seats for team yellow. Democracy!!!And since this would result in a hung parliament, I assume the High Court would intervene and choose the victor in a 5-4 ruling according to their own political predilections. What, isn't that how everyone does it?

39 comments:

Owen B said...

It's a nonsense, isn't it?

In broad terms, Labour votes are concentrated in poorer urban areas where turnout tends to be low. So Labour on average needs fewer votes to win seats. Tory votes are spread fairly evenly over mainly middle class suburban and rural areas. Lib Dem votes are not very concentrated at all except to some extent in the sparsely populated peripheral areas of Scotland, Wales and south west England, consequently they tend to finish in second place in a lot of constituencies which is useless in a first past the post electoral system.

The system kind of works when you have two dominant parties but it's ridiculous when a strong third party emerges as today.

If there was no overall majority, our unwritten constitution quite clearly states (joke) that the unelected monarch (absurd anachronism) should ask one of the parties (probably the incumbent, but not necessarily) to try to form a workable minority government. This kind of thing happened in 1974 and was followed within months by another general election.

You think you've got problems with hanging chads.....?

The BBC interactive election map is brilliant.

Lee Kindness said...

Note the grey section for others... Have a stab at moving that from 7% to 31%... Not a single extra seat. That and your own observations really do indicate the crudeness of the model plus the overwhelming English-centric approach.

The UK is anything but a homogeneous state - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved parliaments of their own. In those countries the political make up is very different. For example is Scotland the Conservatives are the fourth party, while the Scottish National Party have 50% of the vote...

Add on to that the electioneering in the devolved countries on issues (e.g. health, education, ...) that the Westminster parliament has no remit over.

Tom said...

Interestingly, a move to a less eyebrow-raising voting system is now on the cards for the first time in (my) living memory - yellow have been gunning it all along for obvious reasons, blue have always hated the idea - after all, they are conservative - but red are now strangely enough offering to change the system they do so obscenely well out of, because they may well really need yellow's support in a few weeks.

I'm not holding out much hope though. Much as the UK is obviously the best country in the world etc., I still blink in surprise whenever I see anything large-scale done efficiently and sensibly over here, irrespective of the politics concerned.

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