Congratulations to Mark Reckless and UKIP on their bye-election victory in Rochester and Strood this week.
But he won with only 42.1% of the vote – about the same percentage as Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair repeatedly scored nationally for their “landslide” General Election victories.
So, for every four people who voted for him, nearly six voted against him. Yet he won. Yet they call it “democracy”!
If the election had been by Alternative Vote (AV), he might still have won but, at least, he could have been seen to represent the majority of the constituency instead of the largest minority.
On the other hand, the Conservative candidate might have won and then she could have been seen to represent the majority of the constituency.
With First Past The Post voting, we can seldom tell which candidate the majority of voters prefer, especially now with so many candidates to choose from and the way people vote tactically.
We would have known with AV. The result would have depended on whether the UKIP or Conservative candidate was the next choice of those who voted for the others (mainly the Labour voters).
Conservatives use a form of AV to elect their own leader. Those, who understand how it works, must be kicking themselves now for opposing it in the 2011 referendum. With AV, they might have won the election.
Of course, although AV is fine for electing a single person like a Mayor or Police Commissioner, the Single Transferable Vote (STV) is considerably better for electing a legislature, council or committee.
STV has all the advantages of AV plus more. STV provides a greater freedom of choice for voters to vote positively FOR candidates (not to keep one or another out), and proportionality of both parties and any other groupings that matter to voters; on Europe or the economy for example.