Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fairer votes for the UK (1): adjusting regional disparities

Whether the current voting system is broken or running fine, depends on your point of view. For the Tories it seems to be going swimmingly. For many others, it looks like a pig's ear.

In the first place, there is the issue of local or regional identity vs national identity and governance. The four components of the UK are not represented in Parliament in proportion to their voting population:

Scotland and Northern Ireland are favoured slightly (by about 1 seat), and Wales significantly so (by 8 seats). A closer fit would be this (and I give another alternative based on Cam's plan to cut the number of MPs to 600):

There are regional differences in turnout, but doubtless these will vary from one General Election to another, and for different reasons, so it wouldn't be just to allocate seats according to actual votes cast in previous elections. But the differences in turnout this time are noticeable:

  Turnout %
England 65.9
Scotland 71.1
Wales 65.6
N. Ireland 58.1

I suppose the independence issue stimulated the Scots, and perhaps as Northern Ireland's changing demographic continues to steer them into an accommodation with the South their voters may increasingly see the lands to their East as of declining relevance to them?


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