What is the point of voting when my vote doesn’t really count?
As I mentioned in my previous post the constituency in which I live is “Old Bexley and Sidcup”. It is a ‘safe’ seat for the Conservative party.
A safe seat is one that a particular party is sure to win under all but the most extreme circumstances. In OB&S, the Conservative Party could say in its manifesto that they propose a Herod tax on families, whereby the first born child in each family in the country is slaughtered and put up a mass murderer as it’s candidate and they would still win the seat, perhaps with a slightly reduced majority.
1. I haven’t read their manifesto but I am pretty sure there is no mention of a Herod Tax.
2. I am not trying to suggest or imply that our current MP Mr Brokenshire is now or ever has been a mass murderer.
The opposite of a safe seat is a marginal seat. In a marginal seat it is all up for grabs, one mistake or a piece of brilliant oration, aka sound bite, could see the seat won or lost. Every vote counts. Party leaders will arrive searching for babies to kiss. Boris will be sent somewhere miles away to minimise the damage he could do. In this far away place he might bump into Diane, the human random number generator. (300, 30 000, three billion, 30 quintillion). Local party officials will be driving minibuses full of elderly voters who might not make it on their own steam. The news media will have crews at the count to broadcast the outcome live.
Not here in OB&S. it is hard to work up such excitement. Here are some figures
2015: Con 24,682. [52.8%] Lab 8,879. [19.0%] UKIP 8,528 [18.2%].
The turn out was 70.8%. Mr Brokenshire received 52.8% of the votes cast. He was a clear winner.
In 2010 the Conservative candidate got 24,625 votes [54.1%]
Even in 2001 when nationally there was a Labour landslide and they won 412 seats to the Conservatives 166, the equivalent seat still returned a Conservative MP with 19130 votes to 15785 for Labour.
Whatever my views it’s hard to be bothered to vote on the day.
If I am a supporter of the Conservative Party my apathy will not dent his majority catastrophically.
If I am a not a supporter of the Conservative Party I am merely trying to affect the minor placings. Even if all the non-conservatives could be persuaded to support just one opposition candidate and all vote, the Conservative candidate would still have been returned in the last two general Elections so tactical voting isn’t going to cut the mustard.
All in all, living in a safe seat gives you little incentive to vote in the first past the post system. There are alternatives.
1. Proportional Representation. In this system you are voting for a Party and not a candidate. All the votes for every party are added up. In simple PR the percentage of the vote a Party gets decides how many MPs it gets.
2. Single Transferable Vote. Here you rank the Parties from 1 to 7. The first choice votes are counted. The Party with fewest votes is now added to the second choices, rinse and repeat, until you find the winner.
These methods are neither quick nor cheap and often produce no clear winner, resulting in coalition governments with the major parties forced to give concessions to smaller parties. At least your vote counts.
So why vote?
People in this country have died to get vote for different groups in society, and in other countries they are dying still.
So vote. It is rude not too.
Decide who you like the least and put a big X by their name to show that you don’t want them – only joking, that was Alice in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.
Vote for the Party that you like.
Vote for the Party that you dislike least.
Think about an issue that affects you, such as, oh I don’t know, maybe the replacement of the DLA with the PIP. Think about which Party introduced this legislation which forces PWP to be reassessed even though our condition is one that is progressive (which means it just keeps getting worse in case any MPs are reading this) and think of people you know or maybe even yourself, who has lost some vital benefit, after some ‘expert’ (I’ve met a patient at an old people’s home who had Parkinson’s) who is under instructions to cut costs, sees you on your best day for months. Then vote against the b*#$ards, and get all your family and friends to do the same.
Vote with your heart or vote with your head.
Tomorrow one rule for them…