Personal moans about our political system
by Peter Cocks L6
Britain’s all-inclusive voting system is quite frankly, amazing compared to large contingents of the globe’s nations. All citizens can now vote, regardless of class or gender, allowing a fair and honest representation of our population in which all views are equally represented in parliament. Or at least that’s what it looks like from a distance.
In my opinion, many problems and faults still exist in both our constitution and our voting system. I believe these faults have become prevalent to much of today’s society in recent years, where elections and referendum seem to have become annual events. These frequent votes have caused divisions inside families and different sections of society. Here is a brief introduction into what I think are some of the problems most prevalent in the UK’s voting system in today’s world.
Voting Age – A recent study by YouGov on 18-20 year old voters showed how 87% of that age demographic would have voted Remain. This is significant because every person in that poll was unable to vote in 2016. For me, this dramatic new statistic is just one example of how many young people in the UK do not have their voices heard until it is too late for it to make a difference. I for one will be half way through my university course before I am first heard in parliament, presuming there is no election (or referendum) before then.
The House of Commons – There are several reasons as to why the House of Commons is outdated in today’s world. Perhaps the most popularly mentioned problem is its age (178 years) and running costs (c. £150 million p/a) but personally, the largest detriment to its reputation is the atmosphere inside it. The seating plan of the two opposing parties facing each other promotes an animalistic demeanour of ‘us and them’ which only serves to give the impression of verbal cage fighting. Indeed, even the referee for this fight, the speaker, is biased towards his own party background. In my opinion this serves not the most intelligent or sensible of politicians, but the loudest and most ambitious.
Unbalanced representation – This revolves around the idea that many voters are mathematically over or under represented in parliament. For example, in the 2017 general election, the Scottish National Party achieved 977,568 votes, earning them 35 seats in the House of Commons. This equals around 28,000 votes per seat. On the other side of this scale sit the Liberal Democrats, with 2,371,861 votes, earning them 12 seats. This equals around 198,000 votes per seat. This quite clearly shows how an SNP voter is over represented in Parliament, whilst the average Lib Dem voter is serially underrepresented in the UK’s political system.
I would like to point out it’s not all bad, with voter turnout on the rise, and with more votes comes more opinions that better represent ‘the will of the people’. Plus with the ever growing publicity surrounding these issues, the more solutions will arise to them.