The startling findings of the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Future of Democracy which has been tracking worldwide faith in democracy since 1995 has been little reported. Their most recent data for 2019 was published in January. In the UK, it reports that a staggering 61% of the electorate are losing faith in democracy compared to 47% in 1995. Although this is a world wide phenomenon it is markedly higher in the UK and US which are the only major countries using First Past the Post (FPTP) voting systems.

The Electoral Reform Society report 2019 General Election: Voters Left Voiceless just published gives a stark reason. It finds that under FPTP almost 75% of voters had their votes ignored. They were either unnecessary votes for a winning candidate or opposition votes. No wonder so many people feel their vote doesn’t matter so do not bother to vote. In this election which potentially decided on the future of the country for a generation over 30% of people did not choose to vote. Despite Boris Johnson’s Conservatives claiming a landslide victory they actually only polled 1.3% more votes than Theresa May in 2017 which led to a hung Parliament.

Analysis using a variety of proportional voting systems show that the Conservatives would be the largest party but well short of an overall majority. This would have given us a government which reflected the views of the country not one which on 43% of the vote gained 56% of the seats. The ‘elective dictatorship’ that Lord Hailsham warned of in the 1970s. A Government that can ignore the will of the electorate and side line Parliament.

This is despite 30% of voters on 12 December voting tactically. It would be good to be able to vote for a party you agreed with rather than against the one you most dislike. If we are to address the Democratic Deficit we must support the campaign for fairer votes led by the Electoral Reform Society and Make Votes Matter.

Mike Collis,

Lovedon Lane,

Kings Worthy