A report by MPs on voter engagement has ignored the obvious fact that people see no point in voting when their votes make no difference. Under First Past The Post, votes make no difference in about 70% of constituencies. Politicians and parties know this. It is why they concentrate their resources in the other 30%.
Thirty-nine people and organizations gave written evidence on the specific question, “To what extent could electoral reform … improve public engagement and voter turnout?” All of them recommended changing the voting system, twenty-one of those specifically recommended Single Transferable Vote (STV) and only one recommended another system. You should visit http://www.stvaction.org.uk/node/506 if you would like to know who the twenty-one are.
But the MPs dismissed their views.
This is revealed in an interim report issued today by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee of MPs.
They have made a ragbag of other recommendations, including making voting compulsory, reducing the minimum voting age, making registration easier, introducing online voting and reforming party structures.
We shall probably comment in more detail later but, even if some of these proposals work, they all avoid the central problem that First Past The Post votes don’t work for most people and, in about 70% of constituencies, there is no incentive for politicians and parties to work for support or persuade people to vote.
The Good Ship Democracy is going down but MPs are just rearranging the deckchairs again.