North Korea 100 – United Kingdom 70

North Korea’s recent general election passed with little comment in the UK, probably because the result was a foregone conclusion.

There was only one candidate in each constituency and the only options were “Yes” and “No”. Consequently, it was no great surprise not only that the ruling Communist Party was re-elected but also that every MP is likely to be loyal to the leadership.

How different we like to think our elections in the UK – and similar First Past The Post elections in the USA, Canada and India for example – are.  After all, we have a choice of candidates and parties.

In practice, most UK constituencies – about 70% of them – are safe.  In a safe constituency, the winning party is usually known years before the election takes place.  If you doubt that, will you put money on any party other than the Conservatives winning Chichester in 2015?  Also, in a safe constituency, the individual winner is known as soon as the holding party makes its nomination.

So there is little difference in kind between North Korean elections and UK elections.  The difference is in degree.

Of course there are many other fundamental differences between the political systems of the two countries especially on freedom of expression and control can change hands in the UK but not in North Korea.  However, the difference in constituency voting is only in degree.

Election results in North Korea are a foregone conclusion in 100% of the constituencies.  Election results in the U K are a foregone conclusion in about 70% of the constituencies.  The difference is in degree, not in kind.

The Single Transferable Vote (STV) would transform UK elections.  No seat would be a foregone conclusion for any candidate.

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