The current electoral process_ fair or unfair?
The current electoral process: fair or unfair? The current UK voting system is known as “proportional representation”. This means that each party is elected in an equal number of seats “regarded” as being “more” important than others. This gives an overall result of “wins” for each party. The current House of Commons has been described as proportional but this is a controversial term, with many people opposing the current voting system. An alternative to proportional representation is called “winner-take-all”.
The concept of winner-take-all is not popular with some people, because they feel that it gives too much power to one major party. It is widely believed that one-party governments are undemocratic and generally inefficient. Many see an argument over what the word ‘imperative’ means when used in relation to the current House of Commons. Opponents argue that the word “imperative” implies an imbalance of power, rather than providing a fair playing field for all parties.
Under the fair voting system, the candidates who receive the most votes are eliminated until there is a winner. The voting is based on a complex mathematical algorithm, and every candidate has the same chance of winning as another. The House and its committees can choose the method of choosing the winner at their discretion.
Another way of looking at this question is from the perspective of individual voters. If the rules are fair and evenly balanced, they should be, since the interests of each person are the same. However, if the House of Commons is providing an unfair playing field, then individual voters are likely to back one of the major parties, no matter how good their second choice is.
The current House of Commons does not have an equal gender balance. The gender split in the Commons is 40% male and 60% female. A fair method would therefore be one with a greater representation of women than men. There are currently two women members of the House of Commons, namely Speakeraphobia (MP Peter Hardock) and Sarah Teatherton (Frontbench deputy for Tatton).
The current arrangements also mean that there are more women serving in the lower house than men. The balance of power between the two Houses of Parliament means that one major party has a clear majority. Because of this, one might argue that the current system is fairer than others. But this would only be true if one only looked at the wider picture, such as the overall number of seats won by the major parties, rather than a single seat count. The current House of Commons also has a significantly greater proportion of female MP’s than the average male MP’s.
One way of seeing if the current electoral process is fairer than others would be to look at whether the ‘confidence polls’ have been conducted before the snap poll. If they were, this would indicate that many people now think that the result will be fairer than the polls currently indicate. The current arrangement and way in which the House of Commons is arranged also have an effect on whether one would experience a ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ result. For instance, because the Prime Minister is often reliant on a simple majority in order to stay in office (under the UK voting system this is not necessarily the case), any increase in the number of seats would likely lead to an increase in support for the opposition parties.
Currently, the majority of seats in the Commons are held by the major parties. The problem with having only one major party ruling the country (with an alternative party forming a minority government) is that it renders the system of proportional representation useless. The current system of proportional representation is designed to ensure that the outcome of elections is something that both sides can agree upon, rather than something which one party simply wants. Therefore, the question of whether or not the current voting system is fair is one for the courts to decide; a process which the parties themselves would probably welcome if it means that there is a change.